Pilgrimage to Ghent and Bruges
Led by Fr Shaun Lennard. 19 May - 22 May 2020
Every year since the early 14th century on Ascension Day in the Belgium City of Bruges a relic of the Precious Blood has been carried to the Cathedral for Solemn Pontifical Mass and then through the streets accompanied by actors in historical dress, choirs, dancers and animals (ranging from Geese to Camels!) enacting scenes from the Bible and the arrival of the Count of Flanders who brought the relic to Bruges from Constantinople. On this pilgrimage we will enter the Cathedral of Bruges through the Holy Door, attend the Mass and have grandstand seats in the afternoon for the procession. We will stay in the near-by city of Ghent where we will have the opportunity to enter St Bavo’s Cathedral through the Holy Door and view the famous 15th century tryptich ‘The Adoration of the Mystical Lamb’ by the Van Eyck brothers.
Depart from London St Pancras by Eurostar train to Brussels and on by fast train to Gent-Sint-Pieters. Transfer to our hotel (Ibis Gent Centrum St-Baafs Kathedraal), situated within walking distance of Cathedral of St Bavo. Breakfast will be in our hotel each day, and two dinners are included in a restaurant near to the hotel. We hope to celebrate Mass in the Cathedral before dinner.
Just like Bruges, Ghent is a city of canals, priceless art treasures and fine medieval buildings, and it is also home to a famous university. Our first part of this morning will be a visit to the Cathedral of St Bavo, named after a local 7th-century Saint, who, following the death of his wife, gave away all his possessions and entered a monastery in Ghent to atone for his formerly indulgent and amoral lifestyle. He eventually became a hermit, living in a tree in a wood beside the monastery. The Cathedral was dedicated to the Saint, and contains one of the greatest pieces of religious art, the 15th-century altarpiece “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” by Hubert and Jan van Eyck. We will have time to enjoy this great work of art, and will also celebrate Mass in the Cathedral. After visiting the Cathedral, our guided walking tour will take us through the medieval centre, where we see other highlights such as the Belfry (Belfort), town hall (Utadhuis) and Church of St Nicolas (Sint-Niklaaskerk). After time for lunch (at choice) we take a boat ride through the canals of Ghent, from where we will get splendid views of the city. Dinner is at our own choice this evening.
After breakfast, we take the coach to Bruges, and to the Basilica of the Holy Blood for Mass, in the presence of the relic of the Holy Blood of Jesus. This afternoon sees the highlight of our day. The people of Bruges follow a centuries old tradition of dressing up and acting out Old Testament scenes, scenes from the Life of Our Lord and scenes from their medieval history. We sit in grandstand seats in the city square while the whole story passes in front of us: Adam and Eve, Noah and the animals, Jacob and his family, Moses and the children of Israel, children dancing, flocks of sheep and goats, horses and camels; the Nativity with the adoration of the shepherds and visit of the magi, Christ’s Ministry, Passion and Resurrection; the medieval story of the bringing of the relic of the Holy Blood of Jesus to Bruges; modern tableaux and finally the clergy carrying the relic. After the procession, we return to Ghent. Dinner will be in a local restaurant.
After breakfast, we hope to celebrate the final Mass of our pilgrimage in the Cathedral. The rest of the morning will be at leisure. Afternoon departure from Ghent by rail to Brussels, and on by Eurostar to St Pancras.
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.
Single room supplement: £123
19/05/20 - 22/05/20
Return Eurostar train: London St Pancras - Brussels. Return local train: Brussels - Ghent. Three nights’ accommodation in shared* twin/double rooms with private facilities at the Ibis Ghent Hotel. Meal plan: three breakfasts and two dinners. Coach transfers as per the itinerary. Ticket for the Ascension Day Procession in Bruges. Morning walking guided tour of Ghent by licensed English-speaking guide. Canal boat ride in Ghent. Entrance fees as per the itinerary. Daily Mass while in Belgium. ABTA financial protection.* If you select to share a twin room when booking but have no one to share with, we will try to pair up with someone of the same gender in the group. However, if there is no one available to pair up with we will charge a supplement of £62 as you would have single occupancy of the room.
Travel insurance. Single room (limited availability) supplement at £123 per person for the three nights. Lunches. One dinner. Drinks. Gratuities to guide, coach driver and hotel. U.K. transfers.
Terms of Payment:
To reserve your place on the tour you will need to complete a booking form and return it to Pax Travel with a non-refundable deposit of £200 per person. Cheques are to be issued in favour of Pax Travel Ltd. The tour price is guaranteed** for the first 20 people Pax Travel receives bookings from. Any bookings Pax receives after the 20 places are filled will be subject to availability and the possibility of a surcharge. If this arises, we would advise you before processing your booking.
Final payment due no later than 19th March 2020.
**The guarantee does not cover currency surcharges. Please read our Booking Conditions for details.