The Holy Land pilgrimage was perfect in every way. April is truly a beautiful month in the Holy Land and everything went smoothly.
Several of my pilgrims mentioned Marianne’s helpfulness in serving all their questions and needs.
Thanks so much for all you have done to make this pilgrimage such an inspiring success.Stephen J. Binz
Select International organized a memorable, spiritually enriching pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi for The Catholic Messenger that featured the Sept. 4 canonization Mass for St. Teresa of Kolkata.
This pilgrimage was a first-time endeavor for the Messenger, the weekly diocesan newspaper for the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa. As the editor of the newspaper, I admit to being initially nervous about the value of a pilgrimage to our publication and the work it would entail.
Edita Krunic, Select International’s president, put those fears to rest with her reassuring and positive attitude. She and her staff provided guidance every step of the way and sent upbeat emails praising our progress and sharing in our excitement as the number of pilgrims continued to grow.
Altogether, 52 people participated in our pilgrimage. Each one has a place in my heart because of the experiences we shared Aug. 30-Sept. 6. We were also blessed with an engaging travel manager, Enza, who made the impossible happen. One example: We had the privilege of seeing Pope Francis close up as he greeted the crowds from his popemobile in St. Peter’s Square the day before the canonization Mass. Another example: we actually made it into the square for the canonization Mass!
Our pilgrimage was a blessing in many ways, and it also helped generate needed funds for our publication. I look forward to our next pilgrimage with Select International!Barb Arland-Fye
I have been super busy since getting back but wanted to drop you a quick note. The trip was fantastic. Everyone really enjoyed it and would like to do another one in the future. (but we need to save our pennies)….The only complaint was the size of the bath room in Majori. It was a little tight for 2 people getting ready. But, that is how hotels in Europe usually are, and if that is the worst thing that happened, then it was a great success. We were surprised by the vast number of additional saints we visited each day. I did not know that St. Andrew was laid to rest in Amalfi. It was fantastic. The last night we talked about our favorite moments, we have lots of pictures, and the group set up ways for us to stay in touch.
Enza and all the guides were great. Thanks so much, you have a great team!!Rev. Don
Thank you so much for facilitating our wonderful Taste of Italy pilgrimage. I cannot tell you just how wonderful everything was. All of the accommodations were first class, the food was spectacular, the scenery, the company…WOW! Michelle and I had such a great experience. I really want to compliment Susan. She was perfect to have with us. She was always available to answer any questions and shepherded the group with the gentlest touch, always in the background. Michelle and I found her to be such a delight, personally and professionally. You have a real gem in her!
Enza and Mary were nothing short of spectacular! Everyone simply loved them. They were both eloquent and so very helpful, especially to me regarding the radio broadcasts. They made sure that our every need was taken care of immediately. We just couldn’t be more impressed. Also, please thank Renata on our behalf. She outdid herself finding locations that were perfect for us.
Finally, working with Fr. Leo was truly a joy. He is such a great priest, and a great person. We’re so glad he thought to include us on this journey! Michelle and I are still processing the experience. We learned a lot, that’s for sure! We’ll be discerning about how God may want us to do future pilgrimages. We do know that we would love to return to Italy, perhaps next year.
Again, thanks so much for all your hard work for us and our group. May God continue to bless you in helping others encounter Christ through travel.Gus and Michelle Lloyd
My husband Richard and I were very satisfied, the trip was awesome and memorable. We visited the Holy Land in 2010 with a different agency and we did not think that another trip to the Holy Land can top that one. But we are very happy to say Select International Tours provided all of us with an outstanding trip.Nancy Francese
The pilgrimage to Scotland and Ireland was extraordinary. Barry Gorman was fantastic. His knowledge of all facets of history, architecture, and our faith made the traveling a joy. His sense of humor had us laughing and. with an insight into Irish humor. Paul Dolan and Mark our drivers (and of course,Barry) were very competent . Deidre, Maureen and Rob are encyclopedias. Felt I was in tutorials. What more can I say? The sights and sounds of Scotland and Ireland are etched in my memory thanks to you and select-int. Many thanks. With sincerest thanks and regards.A. Elaine Cummings
I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. It was a wonderful value for the money and I’m glad I had the opportunity to participate. The countryside was incredibly beautiful, the weather was glorious and the food awesome.Carol
Dear Deacon Tim,
Thank you so very mush for making the pictures available for us. You did great. Not all of us can do it without help including me.
First of all, I want to thank Jesus for arranging this trip for me in such an unexpected way so that I could visit His amazing Home Town. Second, I have no word to thank you Deacon Tim, Fr. Bill, Saliba, and Heather plus all the staff at Select International for making this Israel trip such a memorable one.
Finally, what a group? I compare us to the disciples who came from different country with various languages and once they received the Holy Spirit they were able to understand each other. On the 25th of January we were a bunch of strangers and on the 6th of February, we could not let go of each other. How powerful is the Holy Spirit?
Yes, my life is no more the same and I still can’t believe that I had walked where Jesus walked. I feel so light that even my dreams are different. Furthermore, I feel so much more connected to Jesus by seeing the similarity between His country to my country Haiti.
Here’s what I tell everybody. “It’s a must go and must see. Don’t let the enemy trick you by saying it’s not safe to go to Israel. It’s a way to keep you from seeing the truth with your own eyes. Specially now, no one knows a place that is safe.” I might be the biggest chicken in the whole world but one thing I know, our safety, our security is only in God’s hands. In our Jesus’ hands.”
Let’s keep Jesus alive by testifying to others
Yes Vince, we can never forget that unique song, “Bernadette”Bertha
The daily Masses were well planned in terms of location and orchestration. The itinerary was well planned and meaningful. The daily blog was a great idea and is very helpful for those us planning to assemble a personal scrapbook of our experiencesDavid
“Thank you for all that you and Select International Tours did to make this a trip of a lifetime. Our guide, George was superb. His knowledge of his homeland was invaluable. Dr. Binz was a perfect spiritual leader for our tour. I’ll recommend your tours to everyone and will look forward to another opportunity to book travel with your company. God Bless You.”Ellen Gassie Bernard
First and foremost, I would like to thank you for your help and organization of the pilgrimage, as well as for your kindness. Your experience, knowledge and professionalism made this pilgrimage a great learning experience, for the spiritual benefit of all. For me, personally this was a much need trip, and it came at the right time, just after I did my grueling Ph.D. comprehensive exams. Although I was preparing for the exams, and trying to recruit people for the trip, Marianne Murphy made sure that everything went smooth and that everybody received the appropriate attention and information. I would prefer to work with her in the future as well, if possible.
A few comments on the different aspects of the trip:
The timing of pilgrimage: This was my first time in Holy Land, and based on the stories of the group that went for the Easter, I’m glad that we went at this time of the year. The weather was outstanding, and we did not encounter big crowds. I was able to sever for the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, so my experience was complete.
Flights, Hotels and Guide: Our flights were very good, although we should look at non-stop flights in the future depending on the pricing. The hotels were good, certainly in line with the excellent price you gave us, especially the hotel in Bethlehem, which we all loved.George was an exceptional guide – very knowledgeable, helpful, professional and organized, and everybody was very pleased with him.
Food: For me personally and for the most people was outstanding.
This is really all that I can think of now. But, in general, I have no single negative impression from the Holy Land. I think that every Christian should go to Holy Land at least once in a lifetime. We owe it to our faithful to organize more pilgrimages.
All the best and thank you,Fr. Darko
Paul and I wanted to thank you for all your hard work for Bishop Sheridan’s Pilgrimage.
I have to say it was a life-changing experience and I would not change one thing about it.
You and Select International did a fantastic job of planning, etc. It was also a pleasure to get to meet you and stay up late a few nights with Msgr. and the group.
Thank you for everything and God bless you!B.C.
I wanted to reach out to you with some feedback regarding a recent trip I took with Patrick Coffin and Msgr. Pope to the Holy Land. I lost my wife of 25 years in August of last year after a difficult battle with cancer. I wanted to find a trip to get away and renew my faith. My wife was a wonderful woman and through most of our marriage, she handled the direction of our lives. A trip like this would be something I would leave to her to arrange and she would have done so with perfection. This was the first time I was faced with doing this on my own so needless to say, I was a bit of a basket case on the details. Fortunately for me, God directed me to Select Tours and Kristine Smart. Given my baggage, I was a high maintenance client. When I encountered issues I reached out to Kristine and she handled everything with efficiency and more importantly, compassion.
I’m sure you hear this time and time again, but the trip was the experience of a lifetime. But the trip itself would not have been possible without the extraordinary efforts of Kristine. I am so thankful God directed me to her. The trip made the difference in my life and helped me heal a bit of the huge wound in my soul. Kristine ushered me in to that trip with grace and care and I am very grateful for her above and beyond the call efforts.
Thank you for your time.Philip Mooney
God’s blessings and peace to you.
I was very happy to hear the news of your election to the Board of Directors of the National Tour Association. The NTA is truly blessed to have a tour operator with your extensive experience and wonderful persona to be a part of their team.
The memories that the group from the Diocese of Laredo share with friends and fellow parishioners about the Canonization Pilgrimage in 2014 are a testament of the wonderful and professional work you do. I thank you and am most grateful for making that Pilgrimage such a memorable one for me and my fellow pilgrims.
I extend my warmest congratulations on your new position, and be assured of my prayers for your continued success.
Sincerely yours in Christ,Bishop Tamayo
The Canonization trip to Rome organized by Select International Tours for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was most enjoyable, and our guide was most informative and helpful. Thank you for all that your organization did to assist us in making this trip the memorable one that it was for all those who participated.
Know that you and all those associated with Select International Tours are remembered in my prayers for the continued success of all your endeavors in planning universal pilgrimages and tours.
With best wishes, I amMost Reverend Michael J. Fitzgerald
On this winter storm day I finally have some free time to send you my thanks for the wonderful Pilgrimage that I led to the Holy Land in January!!! You were so patient and made everything in the preparation and during the trip go so smoothly. Last night I was showing my pictures and shared memories with my parishioners of the pilgrimage. They really enjoyed the pictures.
Those that went had such a good time and asked when I would be going again. I don’t know when, but I will keep you in mind. Also please pass on to George our tour guide and George our bus driver our thanks. It was a trip of a lifetime as one of our Pilgrims said for all of us and they were excellent hosts.
Have a blessed rest of Lent and thank you again!!!!!!!Fr. Jeff Stecz
I have to commend Select International for the excellent pilgrimage you planned for our group to the Holy Land. Our experience was fantastic, from top to bottom. Our Hotels felt like resorts, and our guide and driver felt like family. All along the way we met representatives making sure we were taken care of, and the trip was flexible to fit the ever-changing needs of our diverse group.
I was hoping to post more of a ‘live blog’ during the trip but, due to slower speeds, I had some difficulty uploading larger photos. Now that I’m home I’m going to write a few blog posts and create an article for our Serbian newspaper here in the US.
Thank you for all your work.Rev Aleksa Pavichevich
We would like to thank Select International Tours and Fr. Leo for the opportunity to be part of “A Taste of Italy, A Spiritual and Culinary Experience of a Lifetime” in August 2016. The title was truly descriptive of our experience. With this our first experience with travel to Europe we found our accommodations, meals and transportation to be great. The leadership and knowledge of Fr. Leo was a great gift. Being the only two Lutherans and Lutheran Pastors we felt welcomed and a part of the whole group.
Again, thank you to Select International Tours and Father Leo for this opportunity and their gracious help and leadership. We are extreme grateful for this cultural and spiritual experience.Pastor Rick and Pastor Becky Senner
As I reflect back on our Faith and Heritage pilgrimage to Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary, I have come to see much more clearly what my vocation is….leading pilgrimages. I may not make a living at it, but my living is so much richer and my spiritual life deepens. I thank God every day for this gift, the guidance I get through prayer to Jesus and through the intercession of our blessed mother Mary.
And a most special thank you to Edita Krunic at Select International Tours for taking a chance with me and making my calling a reality.Ceci Triska
I just wanted to thank you so much for organizing our trip to Lourdes. Everything was perfect. Our guide Sofia was great. Everyone on the trip was very happy.
May God bless you for all you do.Fr. Ugo
Good morning Edita, WOW!!! Thank you, what an amazing experience, even the second time around!!! I cannot think of anyone who went on the trip that was disappointed, in fact, in Israel people were asking what the next trip is going to be.
Rami and Adil made us feel very safe, protected and like family. They took very good care of us. I cannot thank you for pairing them with us. Not only is Rami very knowledgeable, he was the consummate professional.He answered questions patiently even when asked the same thing more than once within five minutes. He was always considerate of our members who needled extra time and care. It was a pleasure watching him with our young people, not only did they gravitate to him, but every time I looked over he was always laughing with them, talking to them and engaging with them without talking down to them.
What impressed me the most about him was his ability to speak about the Palestinian situation without any rancor, that is not an easy thing to do while you are living it. He did his best to accommodate any of my requests, he kept me in the loop and I did not feel as if he catered to the good father. Again the hotels were first class and we were always treated respectfully. The Share the Meal program was a hit, no one had any complaints, in fact, the ladies are asking that I do a Woman’s workshop in the summer with the proceeds to benefit the program (I will keep you posted).
Enza was a joy in Rome, she had us singing hymns in the street and went out of her to take us around Rome to do the touristy things. Thank you and the company for the wine. Sylvia our local guide was a delight, but we enjoyed Enza.
Your entire staff is amazing!Sandra Jean
This is a follow-up email of our conversation regarding the superb job Select Tours did on this pilgrimage tour of Italy. I was amazed at the locations we were able to visit, let alone, have the access to have Mass at each location. It was amazing to see your team, including Father Leo and Gus adjust the schedule to accommodate entry to such holy shrines, basilicas and cathedrals. This was my fourth trip to Italy and found this tour to be exceptional and a true bargain! My gratitude to you and Select Tours. I would certainly participate in a future trip.Jerry and Laura Lewis
Our trip was exceptional! I wanted to thank both of you for putting this program for us. I can speak on behalf of the entire group and let you know that we were pleased with the entire concept of the pilgrimage. Especially we wanted to thank you for providing us with such a charismatic guide (Johnny) and his bus driver John. They were on top of everything, paying attention to small details and having enough energy to deal with the Serbs. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I am already telling my experience to my parishioners and trying to motivate them to go and experience this once in a life-time pilgrimage.
We will stay in touch regarding future plans and trips.Fr Radovan
Since I’ve taken some Bible study classes, seeing some of these places or being at the tombs of some of these holy people really brought the Bible alive for me. My most recent class was described as being not only Church history, but our history. That is exactly how it felt for me. I was seeing or visiting places from my history, my past, which made the trip feel very personal.Maria
I enjoyed the trip immensely. It was everything I imagined and so much more. Of course this was my first trip to Europe. And because I love old, old churches, old buildings, dead people and their origins this was right up my alley. Of course I cannot say the same for everyone but it seemed to me everyone loved it. Our guide, Barbara and her knowledge was phenomenal. I took so many pictures it will be difficult now to remember even though I kept notes. Since this was a church based trip we saw many churches. After a while they all started looking alike. But they each were extraordinary. It was all good and i will never forget get this trip. I think I would encourage trips such as this to bring people to the countryside of these countries and to meet people whom will become lifelong friends. I’m sure glad we left here for Holland and Germany when we did. Because of all the terrorism in Germany now, I’m afraid the trip may have been cancelled or some may have individually cancelled. Thank you for everything, Susan. I’m so excited you will probably bring hearing more from me as time goes on.JoEllen
I just wanted to let you know the guide we had in Dubrovnik was excellent as well as the guide in Medjugorje who was out of this world.
What a joy it was to have Zeljka as our guide in Medjugorje since she is a first cousin to the visionary, Vicka. She told us so much more about the family and the parish in general. Father said it was the best trip yet. The accommodations were good, but the food in Rome was not what we expected. We understand that is not under Select’s control.
I was so surprised to meet Susan at St. Peter’s. Now, it will be nice to match the face to the voice.Alice
It was a special experience for both Jill and me. Daily Masses in extraordinary basilicas and beautiful chapels were inspirational and contributed to strengthening our faith and connection with the Church’s history. It was also special spending time with the other pilgrims. We feel stronger in our faith.Thad
All the works of Michelangelo was fantastic, especially the statue of David (in Florence). How talented he was to turn a piece of marble into such an incredible piece of art. I have visited Rome and many parts of Italy many times before, but I’ve never been on a pilgrimage before. So the experience was very exhilarating to me and I believe that we are all blessed to have had such a wonderful opportunity to visit with the most loving pope we have ever had. It was very moving to witness so many people greeting him from all parts of the world!Frances
We are safely home and back in our usual lives thanks to you and your skill in getting us past the Air France strike. Thank you so much for taking care of us. And the bus trip from Lisbon to Madrid was a blessing as we got to see so much more country and it was beautiful! I think we all were pleased with everything!! The people were so kind and helpful to us on the buses and in the hotels.
And a special thank you to Gerard! He was so great, so knowledgeable, about the areas, the history, the architecture. We all especially liked his “Let’s go” whenever we departed the coach. Thank you, thank you and God bless you always.Jean