Pilgrimage and Holiday to Malta
Led by Fr Hugh Allan, travelling on 8 May - 12 May 2017
St Paul spent several months on the island of Malta on his final journey to Rome and martyrdom and as a result Christianity flowered here and has always been an integral part of the character and culture of the Maltese community. In the middle ages Malta made an ideal headquarters for the Knights of St John when they were expelled from Jerusalem and they undoubtedly stamped their mark, evident in the impressive architecture in the cities and their fortresses. Experiencing the effects of these religious influences on Malta is not difficult as the small size of the island lends itself to exploring at a leisurely pace and in addition there are the added attractions of a temperate climate, the sea and the comfort of English being so widely spoken! ‘They made us all welcome by lighting a huge fire because the weather was cold.’
DAY ONE: London Gatwick - Malta
Check in at Gatwick Airport for our 11:55 am scheduled flight to Malta. On arrival, we transfer to our hotel, the Victoria Hotel in Sliema. Dinner will be in our hotel tonight.
DAY TWO: Valetta
In the morning we drive to Malta’s capital city, Valetta. We start by visiting the upper bastions to enjoy the view across the main harbour. We then make our way to St John’s Cathedral, where Caravaggio’s masterpiece The Beheading of John the Baptist hangs in the Oratory. Afterwards we visit the Grandmaster’s Palace and finish the morning with a visit to St Paul’s Shipwreck Church, one of the oldest churches in Valetta. We may view the paintings of Attilio Palumbi, portraying episodes in the life of St Paul, as well as two important relics, an arm bone of St Paul and a piece of the column on which he was beheaded. Mass will be celebrated during the course of the day. There will be a break for lunch in a local restaurant. We reconvene after lunch and walk down to the lower parts of Valetta to visit the Malta Experience, an audio-visual show, before returning our hotel in Sliema by the ferry from Valetta. Dinner will be at choice tonight.
DAY THREE: Rabat and Medina
After breakfast we drive to Mdina, the Roman capital of the island, which predated Valetta by several centuries. We visit the Archbishop’s Cathedral, co-cathedral with St John’s in Valetta. It is believed to stand on the site of the Palace of Publius, who was Roman Governor at the time of St Paul’s visit, and who subsequently became the first Bishop of Malta. We can have a superb view of the islands from the ramparts of Mdina, including St Paul’s Bay, where he was shipwrecked. We will then visit Rabat, where we shall see St Paul’s Church and the grotto where Paul is said to have lived and preached after his shipwreck, as well as the early Christian catacombs. Lunch will be included in a restaurant today. We then drive to Mellieha where Mass will be celebrated in the sanctuary Church of Our Lady. Return to our hotel where the evening will be at leisure and dinner will be at choice.
DAY FOUR: Gozo
After breakfast we travel by coach and then cross by ferry to the peaceful island of Gozo separated by a five-mile wide channel from Malta. It is very different from Malta itself, greener, more rural and very relaxing. We first visit the church in the village of Xewkija, which has a dome third in size only to St Peter’s in Rome and St Paul’s in London. We then drive to the most important place of pilgrimage on the island, Ta’ Pinu Church, named after Pinu Gauci, a wealthy man of great devotion, who lived in the 17th century and restored the church, which is dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady. Mass will be celebrated here. Afterwards we drive down to Dwejra to view the Window in the Rock. We then visit the seaside village of Xlendi where lunch will be taken in a local restaurant. After lunch, we visit the charming capital of Victoria, including the citadel and the 17th century cathedral of the Virgin Mary. There will be time at leisure here to browse and shop. We return by ferry to Malta and drive to our hotel. Dinner will be at choice tonight.
DAY FIVE: Zurrieq - Fishing Villages - Return to UK
This morning we take a trip by coach to the Village of Zurrieq, one of the oldest in Malta. We visit the 17th century church of St Catherine, which contains wall paintings by Mattia Preti, who also painted the interior of St John’s co-cathedral in Valetta. Mass will be celebrated during the morning. We also visit some of the picturesque fishing villages along the coast. Lunch will be at choice today. Afterwards a coach takes us to the airport for our return flight, arriving at Heathrow at 6:05 pm.
This tour involves a substantial amount of walking, some of which will be over irregular surfaces such as cobblestones and badly-maintained walking areas. If everyday walking is something you find difficult, this tour may be unsuitable for you.
This itinerary is a guide and subject to change.
Travel Insurance: £26
Single room supplement: £180
08/05/17 - 12/05/17
· Return scheduled flights on Air Malta: Gatwick - Malta - Heathrow.
· 1 piece of luggage up to 20 kg in weight.
· U.K. and Malta airport departure taxes.
· 4-nights accommodation in shared twin-bedded rooms with private facilities at 4-star Victoria Hotel, Sliema (http://victoriahotel.com/).
· Meal plan: 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 1 dinner.
· All touring and transfers by air-conditioned coach as per the itinerary.
· Guided tours as per the itinerary.
· Daily Mass.
· Entrance fees as per the itinerary.
· ATOL and ABTA financial protection.
· Travel insurance, currently at £26 per person.
· Double room as single room (limited availability) supplement at £180 per person for 4 nights,
· 3 dinners, 1 lunch, drinks.
· Maltese ECO tax of €2 per person, payable to the hotel on check out.
· Gratuities to coach driver, hotel and restaurant staff (We suggest €20 from each pilgrim).
· Fuel surcharges if passed on by the airline.
· Transfers within the U.K.
Terms of Payment:
Deposit of £200 (plus the insurance premium if the cover we offer is required) per person on booking with a completed booking form.
Final payment due two months before the departure date.
The tour price of £699 is guaranteed for up to 25 bookings. Any further bookings may be subject to a flight surcharge.