Select International Tours Blog
Most of our clients are concerned about medical coverage while traveling abroad. We always recommend the purchase of a good Travel Protection policy which includes coverage in case of illness or accident. The Travel Protection (Travel Insurance) policy provides peace of mind for you in case you need medical attention during your trip.
Select International Tours and Cruises offers an excellent policy through Travel Insured. Please refer to your trip page for details or call us at 800-842-4842.
Many travelers will call us to ask if they are covered by their current health insurance policy or Medicare. We recommend you call your insurance to clarify coverage. However, sometimes the information about coverage is confusing and even conflicting.
According to Medicare.gov, Medicare usually doesn’t cover health care if you need it when traveling abroad.
Here is the link to Medicare.gov which addresses the issue of coverage during international travel. https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/travel
You may purchase a Medigap policy which will cover you during international travel. Here is the link to the information you may find useful.
Important to Remember: Most foreign-based medical service providers will want to get paid on the spot. They will provide the paperwork for you to file a claim when you return but they will not do this work for you, nor will they be willing to wait for payment, so be sure you have a credit card you can use for emergency medical expenses.
Be sure to get copies of all your medical records from the medical service providers abroad as well as copies of all invoices and payments. Upon return to the USA, it is important to share your medical records with your doctor and file a claim with Medicare or another insurance company if you have a different policy or supplemental coverage. They may deny it but the system is so confusing it is worth a try.
The travel company cannot advance funds for any medical service!
The Catholic Feminist Podcast is, “…a podcast for Jesus-loving women who want to be inspired, involved, and intentional. Each week, we speak with women who are living out their faith in a radical, real way.”
That is a mission which is easy for us to get behind!
Select International Tours and Cruises is excited to announce our partnership with the Catholic Feminist Podcast. We understand that the word “feminist” is not usually associated with “Catholic.” Which is one of the reasons we are so excited about this partnership.
Words have the power to elicit an emotional response—we can all agree on that—but sometimes the emotional response is based on our experience of the groups that speak the word the loudest.
The word, “feminist,” is an excellent example. For many, the word dredges up a cloud of mire. Associations with competing social agendas, lifestyle choices, and political ideologies come to mind and the easiest thing for us to do is put the word in a box labeled, “Poison.” Is that really the best response?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, feminism is, “The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.” Weigh that definition against Genesis 1:27-28, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (RSVCE).
Can One Be Both Catholic and Feminist?
In a recent interview on Grottonetwork.com, show host Claire Swinarski answered the question this way: “…people don’t feel you can be both because society has completely warped the idea of what a ‘feminist’ is.”
“The Church asks us to value women, embrace their gifts, and uphold their place in society. It does so within the writings of Edith Stein and John Paul II too many times to count. So it isn’t so much that there’s a ‘middle ground’ as it is a full embrace of Church teachings.”
Why This Podcast?
The decision to support the Catholic Feminist Podcast did not come lightly. The title caught our attention and we wanted to know more. A few episodes later, we could see how important this podcast was in bringing attention to women’s issues and proving that a strong faith was not at odds with being a strong woman.
Consider this episode with Colleen Carroll Campbell. If you are not familiar with Colleen, she is a best-selling author and speaker. She was also a speechwriter for President George W. Bush and served as a North American delegate to a Vatican Congress on Women. In this episode, she discusses the challenges of perfectionism and how she has learned, through the lives of the Saints, to “trade in [her] view of ‘perfect’ for God’s.” The Catholic Feminist Podcast brings topics like this into the light and discusses them in a way that honors God, Scripture, and the Church.
Supporting the work of The Catholic Feminist Podcast is directly supporting the myriad women of faith building a firm foundation of faith in their homes, churches, and workplaces. Our hope is that many of these women will hear about and go on pilgrimage. We pray that those experiences will deepen their faith, so they can continue to move their families, friends, and children toward a more developed experience within the Universal Church.
Here is a nice summary put together by Philip Niswonger – one of the pilgrims who recently traveled to the Holy Land with Msgr. Paul Bochicchio and Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers.
By Mathew Kelly
My friend Fr. Bob Sherry and I have been hosting pilgrimages for a long time. Our current schedule includes three trips each year: the Holy Land; Lourdes and Paris (France); and Rome, Assisi, and Florence (Italy). On the opening night, we always ask our pilgrims the same question: Are you going to be a pilgrim or a tourist?
Tourists want everything to go exactly as they have planned and imagined it. They rush around making sure they cram everything in. They’re constantly buying souvenirs and knickknacks, many of which they will look at when they get home and wonder, “What was I thinking?” They focus on themselves, often shoving past others to get where they’re going. Tourists go sightseeing. Tourists count the cost.
Pilgrims are very different. They look for signs. If a flight gets delayed or canceled, they ask, “What is God trying to say to me?” Pilgrims aren’t concerned with seeing and doing everything, just the things they feel called to see and do. They’re not obsessed with shopping. They are aware of others’ needs. Pilgrims look for meaning. Pilgrims count their blessings.
The reality is we are all pilgrims. This planet we call earth is not our home; we are just passing through. We build homes and establish ourselves on earth in ways that ignore that we are really just here for short time. It’s a dangerous pastime to live as if you’re never going to die, but consciously or subconsciously we all fall into this trap to one degree or another.
In this life, we’re just passing through. The happiness that God created us for is different from the fleeting happiness and momentary pleasures of this world. God created us for lasting happiness in a changing world — and eternal happiness with him in heaven. The happiness he wants for us in this life is a rare kind of happiness that isn’t dependent on situations or circumstances. It’s easy to be happy when everything is going well, but Christian joy allows us to be happy like Paul was when he was in prison.
Do you ever think about heaven? It seems to me we don’t talk about it anywhere near as much as we should. When Rudyard Kipling was very seriously ill, a nurse asked him, “Is there anything you want?” He replied, “I want God!” We all do. We may not be aware of it, but we want Him. Behind every desire for a new car or a new house, a promotion or accomplishment, clothes and jewelry, plastic surgery, adventure and travel, food and sex, acceptance and comfort, is our desire for God. We are always hungry for something more complete, and God is the completeness that we yearn for from the depths of our soul.
We are just passing through, and it’s helpful to remind ourselves of that from time to time. In the context of eternity, we’re only here for the blink of an eye. Realizing this changes our priorities. At the same time, we’re here for a reason. You are here for a reason. God has a mission for you.
Life is a pilgrimage, a sacred journey. Typically, a pilgrimage takes us to a shrine or other location important to a person’s faith or beliefs. You can make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Rome, Fatima, Lourdes, the Camino, or any of the famous Catholic sites around the world. But you could also make a pilgrimage to your nearest cathedral. In fact, every Sunday you make a pilgrimage to your local parish to Mass.
Very often people make pilgrimages with special intentions in mind. Some ask God for a favor, perhaps to heal a loved one who is sick. Others make a pilgrimage in thanksgiving for a blessing they’ve already received from God. There are always couples on our trips who are celebrating a wedding anniversary. On every trip, Fr. Bob chooses one of the holy places and invites every couple to renew their marriage vows. Powerful!
Life is a pilgrimage, but sometimes you need a pilgrimage to discover life. We’re journeying in this life toward the sacred city, toward the heart of God — heaven. Nobody makes the journey alone. We all need companions. I’ve met some of my very best friends in this world on pilgrimages. These friends encourage us and challenge us to become the “best version of ourselves.” By doing so, they help us to get to heaven.
Let’s pray for the grace to be pilgrims and not just tourists. Let’s pray for the grace to be the kind of friend who helps others in the great pilgrimage of life. We’re just passing through this place we call earth. At every turn we’re tempted to be tourists, so spend some time today thinking about heaven.
By Fr. Leo Patalinghug
Part of my “calling” as a priest is to be a “missionary” preacher – someone who is sent to preach the Gospel of Jesus to all nations. That’s why traveling is such an important part of my ministry. As you may or may not know, I lead many pilgrimages, about four each year.
Stay tuned for my upcoming 2019 travel itineraries to the Holy Land, Croatia, Amalfi Coast & Sicily, and a “Taste of Italy” trip!
In a recent trip to Budapest, I learned so many new things about our Catholic Church’s influence in that unique part of the world. I visited Budapest many years ago as a seminarian, but I was so impressed by what I experienced in my recent trip – as a priest almost 20 years later!
Click here to read more.
Some wonderful Bible verses to keep in mind on your next pilgrimage from Eliza Myers at GoingOnFaith.com:
The constant movement between meals, hotels and daily attractions can make a trip go by in a blur. To reflect on the importance of your journey, you need to incorporate time for reflection into your itinerary. Many faith-based groups love to accomplish this with scheduled short services full of prayer and scripture. These 10 Biblical verses about travel can prove useful in crafting a service that prepares your group’s hearts for the journey ahead.
- On safety: Psalm 121:7-8 “The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.”
- On trusting the Lord during your trip: Psalm 23:3-4 “He gives me new strength. He leads me on paths that are right for the good of His name. Even though I walk through a very dark valley, I will not be afraid, because you are will me. Your rod and your shepherd’s staff comfort me.”
- On letting the Lord be in control: Proverbs 16:9 “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
- On keeping God with us on the journey: Psalm 19:10 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
- On evangelization for mission trips: Mark 16:15 “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”
- On reminding us that all are welcome: Luke 13:29 “And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at the table in the kingdom of God.”
- On the majesty of God: Genesis 1:1-4 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.”
- On letting God lead the way: Exodus 13:21 “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so they could travel by day or night.”
- On walking the path God has laid out: Psalm 18:36 “You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.”
- On being thankful for God’s creation: 1 Timothy 4:4-6 “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.”
Some spectacular photographs taken in Santarem and Vila Viçosa (Portugal) by Select International’s Office Administrator and pilgrim Isabel Augusto. She writes:
“The art and architecture are definitely worth the visit. The Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral in Santarem is spectacular. They have various activities to offer to visitors including a sample of the wines and desserts prepared by the nuns.Vila Viçosa’s orange trees were in full bloom. Impressive to say the least.”
Theology of Beauty Pilgrimage to Italy through Faith, Fashion & Food with Father Leo Patalinghug and Leah Darrow
Your might call this a Catholic pilgrimage for foodies and fashion buffs. You will see Milan, the “Fashion Capital of the World” see the original painting of the Last Supper, travel to Turin, then Bologna (some of the best food in all of Italy), enjoy a cooking lesson (you will eat what you cook!), on to Verona, ending in Venice ( a full day in Venice) and much more.
With Mass every day and inspiring talks, this will be one of the best experiences of your life.
For those who wish, there is an optional extension to Rome: the group will travel by train from Venice to Rome where they will spend three days in “The Eternal City” visiting Saint Peter’s Basilica, Saint Mary Major, attend the weekly Papal Audience, Tre Fontane and more.
Read more at The Catholic Travel Guide Blog by clicking here.
Gus Lloyd, host of “Seize the Day” on Sirius XM Radio and a Select International Group Leader writes in his blog: “After finishing all of the blog posts from our trip to the Holy Land, I knew there would be a bunch of stuff that I didn’t have time to share. So I went through the nearly 1000 photos I shot and have picked out a few of my favorites from things we saw and experienced that you weren’t able to see in the original posts. I’ll give just a brief explanation of each. So glad we could take you with us!”
See more fun and inspiring photos in his blog at: https://guslloyd.com/blog/?cat=17
Fr. Joseph Mary (Fatima & Santiago in September) is featured prominently in an EWTN video that aired a couple days ago. The video is “Real Life Catholics” – Fr. Joseph & the Friary is at about 15 – 20 minutes in. See the video by clicking here.