Join us on this traditional and reflective tour. We will live the Easter Triduum as only the Maltese do and also visit the amazing culture and historical treasures of Malta and Gozo.
Easter in the Maltese Tradition
Malta Easter Pilgrimage 2018
St. Agatha and/or St. Paul’s Catacombs • St. Paul’s Grotto • Mdina Cathedral • St. Ursula’s Monastery – veneration of the skull of Bl. Gerard, Founder of the Order of Malta • St. John’s Co-Cathedral, the beautiful Conventual church of the Knights of St. John • Domvs Romana (Roman Villa) • Maundy Thursday Mass in Valletta (St. Paul’s Shipwreck Church) • Hagar Qim Temples • Good Friday procession – Mosta • Grand Harbor cruise • Maritime Museum • Full day visit to the Island of Gozo • Our Lady of Mellieha Shrine • Holy Thursday evening – the “Seven Visits” to seven churches • Casa Rocca Piccola…and more
- Spritual Director
- Magnetic Name Tag
- Airport: Private transfer to hotel on arrival
- Luxury coach
- VOX Radio Receivers (20+)
- Daily Mass: including special Masses at Ta Pinu, & St. Ursula’s Monastery
- VAT (Value Added Tax)
- 7 nights accommodations at 4-star hotel
- Continental breakfast daily, 1 Lunch, 5 dinners including a special Welcome and Farewell Dinner
- All Lunch and dinners include beverages: water/coffee & wine at dinner
- Welcome gift
Depart via best connections for your overnight flight to Europe connecting to Malta.
Arrive in Europe, transfer to flight to Malta. On arrival in Malta you will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel. At 7:00 pm we will depart for special Welcome Dinner.
Rabat, Mdina (the Silent City)
We will start our day with Mass at the Sanctuary of St Publius which is situated above the Grotto of St. Paul. After Mass, we will descend below the chapel to the grotto where St. Paul is said to have taken refuge after his shipwreck on Malta. The statue of St. Paul was donated by Grand Master Pinto in 1748 and the silver galley hanging from the ceiling was a gift of the Knights of St. John (Order of Malta) in 1960 to mark the 1,900 year anniversary of St. Paul’s shipwreck.
St Agatha’s and St. Paul’s Catacombs. The Catacombs are typical of the underground Christian cemeteries that were common in the 4th Century A.D. throughout the Mediterranean. The Catacombs have remarkable medieval frescoes, some dating from the 12th century. Sitting above one catacomb complex, the church dedicated to St. Agatha was built in 1504. In 1670 the church was replaced by a larger one on the same site. The 1504 church was partially pulled down and the part retained was incorporated in the 1670 building.
Discover the Domvs Romana (Roman Villa), the remains of a rich, aristocratic roman town house which was accidentally discovered in 1881. Little remains of the villa, but the mosaic pavements rank among the finest and oldest compositions from the western Mediterranean, alongside those of Pompeii and Sicily.
Mdina is the original capital of Malta and its origin can be traced back more than 4000 years. The Phoenicians built a wall around Mdina to protect the city. The charm of its narrow, winding streets and the silence of its medieval palaces is the setting for a feast of Baroque splendor. We will visit the St. Paul’s Cathedral in Mdina, the original cathedral of Malta. The Cathedral was built from 1697 to 1702 to replace a Norman cathedral that had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1693. The lavish interior of the cathedral is similar in many ways to the Cathedral of St. John in Valetta. There are great works by the Calabrian artist and knight Mattia Preti and a marble-inlaid floor with tombstones carrying the coats of arms and inscriptions of the bishops of Mdina and other members of the cathedral chapter. (B,D)
Full day in Gozo (The Island of Calypso)
On the way we will pass by the village of Naxxar from where legend has it, the people from Gozo used to hear St. Paul preaching. We will also pass by St Paul’s Bay and the magnificent view of St Paul’s Islands – where St Paul was shipwrecked.
After a short trip, Gozo Channel Ferry will bring us to the island of Gozo where we will proceed to Ta’ Pinu Basilica for Mass. In its simplicity it is one of the most beautiful churches of the Maltese Islands and is known for miracles that occurred there. St. John Paul II made a pilgrimage to Our Lady’s Shrine during his visit to the Maltese islands. After praying in the chapel, he celebrated Mass in the forecourt of the Basilica. He added a crown of golden stars to the Image as a sign of the devotion to Our Lady of the Maltese people.
We head into the countryside to visit a Watch Tower that was built during the reign of Grandmaster Antoine de Paule in 1651, with its main objective being to guard against attacks from the sea. Lunch – A nice relaxing lunch under one of the Mediterranean’s oldest carob trees.
We will then visit Victoria, Gozo’s Capital. The Citadel in Victoria is one of the purest masterpieces on the islands. We will visit the imposing Cathedral and its museum. We will also have the opportunity to see lace making in Victoria. Gozitan lace is known all over the world for its quality and beauty
On our return to Malta, we will visit Our Lady of Mellieha Shrine. This shrine was also visited by JPII during his trip to Malta in 1990. According to tradition, the apostles Paul and Luke had visited this sanctuary. Many ex-votos attest to the miracles through our lady’s intercession. In 1614 the Turks came up Mellieha Bay and attacked the Sanctuary to destroy the icon. The Knights retook the shrine, but the lower part of the icon was destroyed. (B,D)
Valletta: Grand City of the Knights – UNESCO World Heritage Site
Visit the Chapel of St. Ursula’s Monastery (Jerosolimitan Nuns – SMOM) and venerate the skull of Blessed Gerard, founder of the Order of Malta. After more than four hundred years, this Monastery of the Order of St. John is still a living legacy of the Order. After mass, we will visit St. John’s Co-Cathedral and Oratory. The Conventual Church of the Knights conceals a number of invaluable treasures behind its somber façade. The ornate marble tombstones, which form the floor of the Cathedral, the sumptuous vault painted by Mattia Preti and the rich baroque statues will help you imagine the splendor which characterized the Order’s ceremonies. Housed inside the Cathedral Museum are two masterpieces by Caravaggio: The Beheading of St. John the Baptist and Saint Jerome.
Casa Rocca Piccola. It was built in the late 16th Century for Don Pietro La Rocca, a Knight of Malta and an Admiral. We will be joined by the Baron and Baroness de Piro, KM for our tour.
Evening schedule: Maundy Thursday Mass in Valletta at Church of St. Paul Shipwreck, one of Valletta’s oldest churches. The church houses the relic of the right wrist-bone of St. Paul, and part of the wooden column on which the saint was beheaded in Rome. Optional: Valletta – The ‘seven visits’ take place, which are the visits to seven different churches, to pay homage to the Altars of Repose. (B,D)
Haġar Qim , Marsaxlokk, Good Friday Service and Procession in Mosta
The temple of Haġar Qim, stands on a hilltop overlooking the sea and the islet of Fifla. At the bottom of the hill, only 500m away, lies another remarkable temple site, Mnajdra found above the Southern cliffs. First excavated in 1839, the remains suggest a date between 3600 – 3200 BC, a period known as the Ġgantija phase in Maltese prehistory. The excavations also produced many ‘fat figure’ statuettes including the naturalistic ‘Venus of Malta’. Haġar Qim is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Moving to the south of the island, our excursion brings us to the main fishing village of Marsaxlokk with its waterfront lined with “luzzus”. Painted in traditional reds, blues and yellows these boats add color to this peaceful bay which was the site of the first Turkish landing during the Great Siege of 1565.
Afternoon we head to Mosta. We will visit the impressive dome of Mosta’s parish church. It is one of the three largest unsupported Domes in the world. The Maltese architect Giorgio Grognet has given the church its own character. We will also visit a shrine there to a miracle that occurred during WWII and attend the Good Friday service and procession.
Known in Maltese as `Il-Gimgha l-Kbira’, or the most important Friday of the year’, Good Friday is a day of mourning. Cinemas, other places of entertainment and offices are closed. The height of Holy Week is the Good Friday procession held in the early evening after the Liturgy. Some 17 different towns and villages commemorate the Passion of the Christ by an organized and very solemn procession of statues. Each of these life-size statues depicting scenes from the passion of Our Lord is carried by pallbearers. Between each statue other participants are dressed as biblical characters who take part in the procession. The procession includes men in penitence bearing a cross and dragging chains as well that are tied to their bare feet as penitence. They cover up their faces as they pay the price for a special grace they received. Thousands of onlookers line the roads from the front of the church all the way along the passage through the village. The village band club leads the way, setting the mood of gloom with their music. Boys and men, dressed in the attire of shepherds, peasants, and Roman soldiers, follow, holding various reminders of the life and death of Jesus. (B,D)
Birgu (Vittoriosa), Grand Harbour Cruise
This morning we will depart for Birgu (Vittoriosa), the first home and headquarters of the Knights of St. John. We will walk the streets of the Auberges where the Knights lived and visit St. Lawrence Church which was the Conventual church of the Knights soon after their arrival in Malta. We will then visit the Oratory of St. Joseph which houses the hat and sword of Grandmaster La Vallette. We move to the Maritime Museum which covers the remarkable seafaring heritage of Malta with a special section devoted to the navy of the Knights.
After a harbor side lunch we will start the afternoon by joining a Grand Harbour Cruise and witness Malta’s living past. We will cruise around the two natural harbours on either side of Valletta – Marsamxett Harbour and the Grand Harbour. Our guide will give a detailed commentary on the history of Valletta and the Three Cities connected with two Great Sieges of 1565 and 1942, as well as the historical forts and battlements which can only be admired from the sea (B,D)
Easter Sunday – Dun Ġorġ Preca – Risen Christ procession
This morning we visit the church of Malta’s first Saint: Dun Ġorġ Preca (1880 – 1962). He was a Maltese priest who founded the Society of Christian Doctrine, a society of lay catechists. In the 1950’s he wrote the Luminous Mysteries and John Paul II gave him full credit when the Luminous Mysteries were introduced to the Church. He was canonized in 2007.
Easter Mass: Mass at Sarria Church: The chapel was built by Martin Sarria Navarra a knight of St John in 1585. Following the plague of 1675, which had a devastating effect on the population of Malta, in thanksgiving that their prayers were answered and due to a solemn vow, each year a votive procession used to leave St John’s Co-Cathedral for Sarria church where prayers of thanksgiving were recited.
Experience the Risen Christ procession in Valletta. Men carrying statues of the Risen Christ are cheered on as they break into labored runs during several traditional and colorful processions marking Easter Sunday. Bells ring out and children fling paper streamers into the air as the statues are lowered from their bearers’ shoulders in preparation for the final dash to the church doors.
Farewell Dinner at a wonderful Palazzo (B,L,D)
Our pilgrimage ends with breakfast, and transfer to Malta International Airport.
Bon Voyage and Grazzi! (B)
7 nights accommodations at 4-star hotel
Luxury, a/c coach
All breakfasts, one lunch and seven dinners – water, coffee & wine included
Euros to be collected at check-in – 75€ per person
Discount of $50 for each pilgrimage you’ve taken prior to 2016
Malta Easter Pilgrimage 2018
"Dick and I had a wonderful trip to the Island of Malta. We saw sights and entered places where few people are able to go. Being with a native Maltese lady opened many doors for us. On another tour…Saints, Knights & Wine, this time to Italy, we saw the beautiful wineries owned by the Order of Malta. Rocca Bernardo was breathtaking."Dick and Theresa Martter Dallas, Texas
"The trip to Malta with you was the BEST! We enjoyed it and learned so much. We will never forget it!"Simi Forsyth, Reisterstown
"I can’t speak highly enough of MedSeas and their annual pilgrimages to the beautiful and Faith-filled nation of Malta. Compared to other European nations, Malta doesn’t get a lot of attention, but Catholics seeking a place where the Faith is taken seriously need to check out this beautiful, historical island nation in the Southern Mediterranean, and MedSeas is the perfect place to start."Andrew Dunn, Philadelphia