Hassle-free Pilgrimages for Parishes

Parish

Holy Cross
Flatbush, NY
Diocese of Brooklyn
United States

More Info

For more information, email Unitours, Inc..

Unitours pilgrimages bolster parishioners' faith without overloading pastors' schedules.

“I have used Unitours since 1991 for large pilgrimages to Europe and the Holy Land once or twice a year. I had used other companies before, but once I found Unitours I stayed with them. I recommend Unitours both for its spiritual sensitivity and its practical, concrete attention to details.” Msgr. Joseph Malagreca, Brooklyn, NY

The need it meets

Diocesan priests and ministry leaders need a hassle-free pilgrimage service that takes care of all of the practical details so that they can attend to their true, spiritual priorities with the pilgrims.

Unitours pilgrimages also meet fundraising needs by generating revenues for the parish.

Where it came from

Unitours is an international tour operator in continuous operation and under the same management since 1957. Headquartered in Purchase, NY, USA, Unitours has offices and staffs in Tel Aviv, Lucerne, London, and Athens, as well as a large, experienced staff in the United States.

How it works

Unitours provides:

  1. A tour manager who takes care of all logistics, especially the religious details such as having Mass at a specific church and altar, prayers at a particular place and time, etc.
  2. A wide network of contacts with hotels and transportation services, so you can be in the best places and get where you want to be on time.
  3. A user-friendly approach to designing a tour. The pastor can put together a wish-list itinerary and set a budget, and they arrange the practical details and accommodate any changes he wants to make. The tour is designed in dialogue with the pastor.

They offer pilgrimage trips to Europe, the Middle East, and Mexico at competitive prices because of the buying power of their worldwide network and the discounts extended by their preferred air carriers. However, they do not offer "bare bones" bargain tours because experience has shown that North American pilgrims expect a certain quality, attention to detail, and service when they travel.

The results

Unitours has run thousands of pilgrimages all over the world in its 50 year history. The proven spiritual fruits include:

  • An education in Catholic culture, history, and tradition
  • A deeper experience of faith and prayer in sacred places
  • Experiences of physical or spiritual healing
  • Fellowship with other pilgrims
  • No unpleasant surprises due to poor planning
  • The pastor has the freedom to minister to the pilgrims since practical details are completely taken care of.

On the material side, these pilgrimages have proven to be good fundraisers for hundreds of parishes. Generally, the bigger the group, the more effective it is as a fundraiser.

Key elements

  • An idea for the itinerary you want to plan for your pilgrims
  • A ballpark idea of the budget
  • Promotion of the pilgrimage in the parish

How to implement it

  1. Go to the Unitours Web site at www.unitours.com or call 1.800.777.7432.

  2. At the Web site sidebar, choose the type of package you are looking for:

    • Individual pilgrimage ‚Äì individuals can join existing tour packages (this is the ‚ÄúSearch Packages‚Äù link)
    • Pre-designed itineraries - a variety of downloadable itinerary templates (this is the ‚ÄúSample Itineraries‚Äù link)
    • Custom group pilgrimage ‚Äì available for groups as small as 15, custom designed by the pastor with Unitours
    • World Youth Day pilgrimages
  3. Plan an itinerary and budget in dialogue with the Unitours representative

  4. Promote the pilgrimage among parishioners.

    • Unitours recommends a video series by Janson Media, which can be purchased at this link: http://www.janson.com/dvd/show_genre.php?id=12. These half-hour videos are economically priced and can be used as a way to promote pilgrimages and provide more information in advance about what to expect.
    • Unitours sends promotional fliers to the pastor with all of the concrete travel arrangements that have been worked out along the way.

Monsignor Joseph Malagreca is pastor of Holy Cross.

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