When I established Pax Travel in January 1978, most of my present management and staff had not been born. Only the evergreen Julian was there to help set up the new organisation, which was designed to allow ordinary people who could not afford fancy prices to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Mexico, Rome and Assisi, and countless other exciting and devotional places . As we go into the fortieth year of Pax Travel, I sincerely hope that I have touched the lives of at least some of you who are reading this. I still feel the excitement and anticipation of forty years ago when I chartered four aircraft to take over 400 Catholic pilgrims from Ghana, where I had worked as a University lecturer for five years , to Rome and the Holy Land.!
Alas, many of my pilgrims, both clerical and lay, have now made the final leg of their journey, and we pray for them and ask them to pray for us. Two of my evergreen, wonderful priests who I have worked with for over thirty years deserve a special mention : Fr Anthony Churchill and Fr Thomas Regan, OSB. You are both humble and outward looking pastors, who have comforted a generation of pilgrims and parishioners. May we ,hopefully , work with you during 2017, in these difficult and uncertain times to bring a week of pilgrimage to people who are looking for something beyond the mundane?
I have devoted our 2017 programme to Our Lady of Fatima, on the occasion of the Centenary of her appearances to the three young visionaries. Our Blessed Lady has consoled and comforted me and my family during my last two years as a cancer patient. I have been very blessed in my life, and ask for prayers not so much for myself, but for those who have no one to pray or care for them. "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death, Amen."
Finally, on behalf of my family and all of the Pax Travel team, I wish you a peaceful and blessed Christmas and a fruitful New Year. Philip Dean