Rediscovering ancient pilgrimage destinations is a revelation of our time — read some testimonies from our fellow travelers!

The “Ten Commandments & Beatitudes” of Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

“1. Thou shalt safely guard thy passport at all times.  2. Thou shalt not be late getting on the bus, lest thou shouldest make the whole group to wait upon thee and thereby cause us to miss our reservations.  3. Thou shalt not wander far from the group for any reason without telling thy guide, lest thou become lost in a foreign land with no one to help thee.  4. Thou shalt not judge all the people of an entire country or culture by one person with whom thou didst have a problem.  5.  Thou shalt not let other pilgrims get on thy nerves.  6. Blessed are they who shall not worry overmuch about anything, for they who worry have but little joy.  7. Blessed are they who shall treat the hosts and guides in a foreign country with honor and respect, for they in turn shall be treated as honored guests.  8. Blessed are they who can make change in any currency, for they shall never be cheated.  9. Blessed are they who knoweth how to say “Hello” and “Thank you” in both Arabic and Hebrew, for this is worth more than gold.  10. Blessed are they who knoweth how to ask “Where is the restroom?” in both Arabic and Hebrew, for they shall not be confounded in times of necessity.”

Anonymous, Reviewed Nov. 18, 2019

We felt like we were all part of a family

“I would like to thank you again, on behalf of Bill and myself, for the wonderful experience in Israel/Jordan.  It truly was a trip of a lifetime for us, and it was made even more special with both of your presences.  We were so impressed with your professionalism and attention to every detail, as well as your friendship, which you both offered so freely to everyone on the tour.  We felt like we were all part of a family (which we are!), and it opened our hearts even more to the spiritual experience.  You both truly have a wonderful gift for making us all feel that way.  You continue to be in our prayers.  One day we will take another trip with you.”

Kathy, Reviewed Oct. 22, 2019

I loved how it really was a pilgrimage

Well I don’t have any negative feedback on the wonderful trip after the Chartres pilgrimage.  In the way of positive feedback, I can mention that I loved how it really was a pilgrimage; the spiritual elements took priority and inspired everything along the whole way.  Of course it was such a great advantage having French-speaking, connection-making Fr. Huang with us so that we had wonderful opportunities like the visit with Dom Forgeot at Fontgombault and the greeting and blessing from Bishop Leonard at Jouques.  I think my favorite place was Saint Mary Magdalene’s cave.  What a precious and holy place.  Another favorite element was the wonderful people in our group.  We all could share so much and our faith bonded us in a special way.”

Julia, Reviewed July 13, 2019

It was life changing

It was a pleasure meeting you and sharing this experience with you and your family. Lauren and I are still talking about the trip. It was life changing. There was so much richness and depth in all the experiences we had. No vacation could ever produce the spiritual fruits of this trip. The locations were amazing especially Fontgombault and Le Barroux. It may be a good idea to spend an additional night at Fontgombault. I think Lourdes would be a perfect addition to the itinerary.  The bumps in the road were all part of the trip and you did a great job of reminding us that we were on pilgrimage and that this wasn’t a vacation in the classic sense of the word. Overall, it was perfect for us as an engaged couple. The trip helped us grow together and this experience will stay with us for the rest of our lives. We will be praying for you, Natalie, and Anastasia (she is the cutest little girl!). It was wonderful seeing your example as a father and husband. God bless you all and hopefully we will travel together in the future!”

James and Lauren, Reviewed July 6, 2019

I believe this is not the first and last pilgrimage

My daughter and I really enjoyed being among the dear people of your group, fellow Americans. We were well accepted, felt very good and even managed to have little chats with almost everyone. The spiritual side of the pilgrimage was powerful and profound and will feed my mind and heart for a long time. I can only be grateful to divine providence that I spotted your website.  I believe this is not the first and last pilgrimage with you and hope to see you in the future.  With God’s blessing on all of us, warm regards.”

Visnja, Reviewed July 4, 2019

The group was great to be with

Thank you so much for all you did to arrange our adventure to see The Footprints of Jesus tour!  It was amazing to visit the homeland of our best friend… Jesus.  The group was great to be with; sharing memories together and creating a new family bond.  What an awesome privilege to be in the Holy Land, seeing the sights, people and scents of: Christ’s Birth in Bethlehem, His home in Nazareth, His many and varied places of Ministry, and where He was Crucified, Died, Buried and Resurrected.  And having Mass every day at these various sights, what a highlight!  When one has journeyed in the Holy Land: you cannot read the Bible the same way, you cannot attend Mass the same way and you yourself will be changed forever.  This is a miracle itself!  Thank you to you and Amer for teaching and sharing with us our Christian heritage.  People ask me if I felt safe?  I reply,”  You must first choose an excellent, reputable Travel Guide: who chooses safe places to stay, a safe, knowledgeable and trustworthy travel guide and bus driver in the Holy Land.  John did this and I didn’t have any worries…they did the worrying for us.  I would travel with Orbis Catholicus anytime.”  God Bless You and enjoy a restful time with your family, John.”

Deanna, Reviewed January 27, 2019

It has made a big impact

“Thank you John, yes we have had a awesome trip, will not forget this for a long time to come … as I have dreams about it every night!! That shows it has made a a big impact ! And for Gerry too!! Thank you for being with us to make it all the more special!”

Nell, Reviewed January 27, 2019

There are so many graces

There are so many graces from our pilgrimage! I enjoyed the group very much, especially you, Natalie, and Anastasia! You helped me understand Traditional Catholicism better as it’s still new to me.  What tours do you have coming up? I may bring my husband or sister….

Betty, Reviewed January 23, 2019

Thank you for organizing this wonderful pilgrimage

”Thank you for organizing this wonderful pilgrimage.  I continue to let the fruit of the journey deepen my understanding and faith in Jesus.  I am happy to share my name and email with the group and plan on keeping in touch with Orbis Catholicus for possible future pilgrimages!”

Fr. Mike, Reviewed January 23, 2019

We were also so happy to travel

Thank you so much John!  We were also so happy to travel with your company again, and so appreciated our time with you.  I received your message when I came back to work yesterday.  I have been struggling with being back in ‘Secular Land’ again, but can hopefully soon return to our swim upstream against the tide.   It was so wonderful to be surrounded by people of faith!”

Liz, Reviewed January 22, 2019

The pilgrimage for me was most life changing

“I want to provide feedback on our Holy Land Trip.  This pilgrimage for me was most life changing.  I am still unpacking and processing everything that transpired.   I really felt we had wonderful blessings with Father Passo and our daily TLM along with a seminarian who chanted the Mass and at the Holy Sites.  This really added so much to the pilgrimage.  Also, praying the rosary daily on the bus made the journey prayerful.  Amer and Johnny were fantastic and I felt that they really added so much value to the pilgrimage.  I understand better the plight of our Christians living in the Holy Land and the challenges of the upkeep of the Holy Sites.  Amer and Johnny really guided us well and I felt that they showed us lots of extras and cared about our Holy experiences.  I still chuckle how Johnny crowd controlled in Bethlehem at the birth site so we could take our time and pay proper homage to this very special place.  The early morning Via Dolorosa walk and the Holy Sepulchre visit with Mass in Jesus’ tomb was so profound that it is hard to put into words.  Every Holy Site that we visited had its special moments so it is hard to comment on every site.  Overall, tour organization, accommodations, food, pilgrimage experience, TLM, rosary and prayers, opportunity for intentions, adoration, confession on a scale of 1 – 10 is……………………a 10!  Very pleased with everything.  I have already passed on your contact information to someone interested in a Holy Land trip.

Annette, Reviewed January 22, 2019

A wonderful pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Thanks so much for organizing a wonderful pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The Ron Beach Hotel in Tiberius overlooking the Sea of Galilee, with all those marvelous sunrises, was a lovely surprise.  Also, having 2 priests and a deacon was a real blessing, and we truly enjoyed the company of our fellow pilgrims.  I know Floyd, Nicole and myself grew spiritually, and Nicole didn’t want to come home, which just means that she’ll probably want to go back again at some point. We look forward to future pilgrimages with you.  God bless you and your family.

Liz, Reviewed January 22, 2019

Thank you for looking out for me

Thank you for looking out for me on our pilgrimage. It was surely a lifetime experience. I have no problem with sharing my email with the group. My Lady of Nazareth statue has already arrived. So has my sore back. My fault. I prayed to not have a sore back while walking in the footsteps of Jesus which was absolutely granted. Next time I will ask that it be permanent.  All the best and thank you from the bottom of my heart for such extraordinary travel with you.”

Jocelyn, Reviewed January 21, 2019

For us nothing can top the Holy Land Tour

“Thank you so much for organizing such an awesome tour!  For us nothing can top that Holy Land Tour (except the 2nd Coming of Our Lord)!  We really appreciate you obtaining for us Amer, the best guide in all of Israel and David (King David, King of the Road), the best bus driver in all of Israel. We never felt unsafe, even for a minute.  This morning, at Mass, Deacon Dan did the homily and how appropriate-the Wedding at Cana! He gave a wonderful homily coming from the recent experience there, even incorporating some of Amer’s teaching.  Thank you again, John.  May God bless you and your family for your wonderful way of spreading the Gospel.”


Sheila, Reviewed January 20, 2019

The order of events worked well

“We really enjoyed our few days in Tel Aviv prior to the Holy Land.  We did a free walking tour of the old City of Jaffa and a street-food tour.  This was a great intro to Israeli culture.  I know the focus of your business is pilgrimages yet this may be an add-on for those interested in the country.  Feedback on the pilgrimage:  the order of events worked well, following the life of Jesus.  We enjoyed and appreciated the early morning walk along the Via Dolorosa and peaceful visit to the Holy Sepulchre.   The Mass in Jesus’ tomb was extra special!  List of things to do in free time : provide a map to holy sites so pilgrims can attend in free time.  We found our way but nice to have this.  Jordan. Yes to Petra but don’t need Amman.  Amman hotel not great.  All other accommodations and food were great; in particular the village in Jordan where the food and accommodations were awesome!  Amer was fantastic!  We loved his style, stories and insight. His assertiveness and attentiveness to ensure our access to sites was greatly appreciated! Johnny, our Bethlehem guide was great too.”

Mary, Reviewed January 20, 2019

Impressive and overwhelming

“We wanted to thank you both again for the opportunity to experience our pilgrimage with your group. We have never been on any type of group tour before and therefore, we didn’t know what to expect. This trip simply exceeded all of our expectations. The depth to which it was planned and executed in every detail was impressive and overwhelming. We not only got to the essential and most sacred sites but we were there without excessive crowds. We arrived extremely prepared for the sites due to Amer’s presentations and comments while en route.  Amer is a walking encyclopedia and a biblical scholar! In addition, David was always so calm under pressure and navigated our bus through some tricky situations! He’s amazing:)  We can’t imagine how much thought and planning went into the itinerary and none of this went unnoticed. We enjoyed the hotels, the food and the company but more importantly, after this trip to the Holy Land, we are more committed to God than ever before.  We look forward to the time when our paths cross again. In the meantime, may God bless you and your families.  I feel a little jet lagged and I finally got the cold that was going around with my fellow pilgrims.  It was such a wonderful trip and experience that I will never forget.  Everything was absolutely amazing: the people, the sites, the religious experience and I thank you very much for it all.  You and John did a fantastic job.”

Susanne, Reviewed January 16, 2019

It was such a wonderful trip

“I feel a little jet lagged and I finally got the cold that was going around with my fellow pilgrims.  It was such a wonderful trip and experience that I will never forget.  Everything was absolutely amazing: the people, the sites, the religious experience and I thank you very much for it all.  You and John did a fantastic job.”

Diane, Reviewed December 13, 2018

It was one of the best experiences

J.M.J.  “God bless you and your family!  I know this is late, but I still wanted to thank you for the wonderful job of guiding our tour through the beautiful, amazing places in France during the Charters Pilgrimage and after.  It was one of the best experiences physically, mentally and spiritually of my life!  I hope to join you again someday when you go to the Holy Land.  Thanks again for your knowledgeable and capable touring skills!”

Lisa, Reviewed September 11, 2018

Thanks again for a marvelous experience

“I have been waiting to write this letter for some time – but if it isn’t one thing, it’s another!  You know how it goes.  A friend of mine has made a wonderful movie of the images from our Holy Land trip!  I thought you might like a copy!  It brings back many warm memories.  If you want to change anything, just let us know.  Oh, by the way, I’m the one who had never traveled outside the country.  Thanks again for a marvelous experience.”

Robert, Reviewed September 10, 2018

Taking the tour was an experience of a lifetime

“Going into this magnificent trip, I did not know what to expect, and yet it was better than anything I could have thought of.  There were so many amazing sights that I saw and it was all thanks to the amazing work of the tour director.  Everything about this trip was pulled off perfectly; there was time to learn and grow in my faith, ask questions to the priests that accompanied us, and have time to reflect on the experiences that I encountered.  This tour provided me with the chance to see not one, not two, but six incorrupt bodies and have the time to pray and reflect near them.  I made so many meaningful connections with the people on the tour and I am still in contact with them today!  I would without a doubt recommend this tour to anyone and everyone; and I already have!  Taking this tour was an experience of a lifetime and I wish I could do it all over again.”

Angelina, Reviewed September 10, 2018

This trip meant a lot to me

“Aside from being able to have the great opportunity of traveling with you and Mark, here is a paragraph containing some of my thoughts.   This trip meant a lot for me as it was my first opportunity to travel out of the country.  I am very grateful that I was able to have this first experience with a group that was so serious about their faith.  The highlight of the trip isn’t one particular moment or place, but a reflection that I had at the end of my trip: while serving daily Mass and visiting all the different churches so far away from home, it really sunk in that Catholicism is truly worldwide, that throughout each and every day, the sacrifice of the Mass is being celebrated in the same manner in one place as it is everywhere else.  Though I already knew the universality of the Church, it was so much more real when I was able to experience it up close.”

John, Reviewed September 8, 2018

The entire trip was fabulous

“Now that I’m back home and reliving all of the moments through my photos, I wanted to extend my thanks for the wonderful Poland/Czech Republic pilgrimage!  The entire trip was fabulous and I experienced so much more than I had hoped.  It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I thank you so much for the varied experiences – the planning and the execution was faultless.  And having Fr. Sanetra offer daily Mass in the Extraordinary Form added so much.  I hope to be able to join you again in the future!”

Gerry, Reviewed September 4, 2018

It was truly the best vacation

“We cannot thank you enough for all the and work and time you put into our trip in France.  It was truly the best vacation I ever had.  My sisters and I feel like it helped us grow in our faith so much.  We met some amazing new friends and saw some of the most beautiful places!  We truly will never be able to thank you enough.  Next time you come for a visit, please let us know!”

Maria, Reviewed July 31, 2018

I was thinking of our marvelous trip today

“I was thinking of our marvelous trip today and realized what made your trip so special for me was the evangelizing and that we were not rushed in anything or anywhere we were taken to visit, observe and just enjoy.  This I felt gave me the time to really take in the experience and learn so much , and I felt draw closer in my Catholic faith – this trip is all about our faith.  My husband and I went on a trip to Italy in 2000 and the guides (our group ending up being large) we felt did not share enough of the areas we were going to visit or churches.  We were looking at saints and frescoes in these beautiful churches but we didn’t know who or what they were – sad.  It was disappointing to say the least and rushed along in everything.  It was not peaceful or relaxed.  Your trip was filled with info, prayer and so enriching.  I can’t say enough – GREAT.  Keep up  the good work – this is definitely your ministry and was felt, so appreciative.  This trip was exactly what I needed and would recommend to others.  What can I say – this was the best.  Definitely it for me.  I know I will be seeing you again in the future.”


Linda, Reviewed July 25, 2018

It was a very good experience

“I am telling everyone I know what a wonderful time I had on our pilgrimage.  It was a very good experience and I am looking forward to doing another in the future.  Thank you for the photos.  My highlights were the shrine (absolutely) and then the peace and serenity of Tlaxcala after the hubbub of Mexico city.  I am a small town girl so quiet spaces mean a great deal to me. Having said that, I would have enjoyed a night in Puebla City as this would achieved some of that “smaller” town feel.  I also really enjoyed the museum, Teotihuacan, learning about Padre Pro and the food.  And the lovely people we toured with, such a nice bunch. Great time of year for the tour as well!  Since I am a musician, I really felt the lack of music during our Masses. I realize that you can’t make extra noise or music in the shrine but, elsewhere, I would have loved to hear us sing the Gospel acclamation and the great ‘Amen.’ Nothing fancy is needed but, since the Mass is meant to be sung, this would have been nice.  Just a thought.  Thank you for a wonderful time, a truly Catholic experience and your warmth. You are both a great blessing!”

Jennifer, Reviewed July 24, 2018

I have told many people

“Thomas and I were both so blessed to have been able to go on this trip with all y’all and our amazing experiences there are often a topic of conversation (especially La Salette!!).  I have told many people about how amazing our time in France was and a very dear friend of mine is very interested in joining me when I go next year! (especially the trip to Poland!).  Is the information for all your upcoming trips available on y’all’s website or have those not yet been posted?  I love seeing pictures of all of the places that y’all are visiting! I wish you all the very best and y’all continue to be in our prayers.  God Bless!”

Theresa, Reviewed July 22, 2018

How calming and reassuring it was for me

“It is so hard to believe that I have been home a week already from our spectacular trip together.  I want to thank you both for all your help and understanding in making this trip so special and memorable for me.  Thanks again for your patience with all my questions and being with me at the airport – how calming and reassuring that was for me, simple words cannot explain.  I cannot pick out one specific highlight as it was all truly amazing and from the start it was breath taking and continued in that fashion for me.  I loved each and everything we did, saw, heard and shared together.  The words you shared on the bus – John were never boring but were so helpful and so enriching to what we were experiencing – for me all gifts.  This has been such a boost for me on my faith journey and I am so appreciative and happy that you were both such a big part of that – thank you.  For me I can use my cataract surgery that I had last fall and what an incredible difference it made for me after the surgeries and the huge improvement with my site.  I could see so much clearer and the colors are so much brighter.  I had been missing so much and I was no longer aware of it.  Well this trip for me helped me see aspects of my faith clearer – and yes I got a taste of what I was missing, or even taking for granted.  Fr.’s homilies spoke to me with such love from Jesus, such caring and just asking for trust and to come to Him in faith.  Such care and compassion – God is so good.  Trust me I heard it and felt it and not only that for me to have made this trip – was a huge leap in that faith, a miracle. This has been a trip like none other for me.  I have been talking and sharing none stop since I have returned, LOL.  And I have checked out your future trips and the next trip to decide now on England or southern France, next year. Decisions, decisions, ha ha.  For me to have been invited to join Adelia and her friends in January to Nepal and then to Brazil with the couple I met on the plane – although not possible meant a lot to me.  I knew these were reassurances and comfort from our Lord, everything is just fine and is going to be okay.  The only comment I would suggest if at all possible – I think it would be so helpful if water was available when we traveled on the bus.  Other than that I feel your tour was at, the best.  Thank you for the beautiful group pictures – I have shared them with my family.  Thanks again for all your kindnesses and considerations shown to me on this pilgrimage.”

Linda, Reviewed July 22, 2018

Perhaps we will be able to go on a Holy Land tour someday

“I too, want to thank you for letting us on the tour and making it happen for us!  It was really kind of you to go through the extra bookings to allow us on the tour since we were late registering.  It was a last minute decision to go but it has been a life changing decision!  Mark was kind of roped into going since we bought his plane ticket without asking him so he was not on board about going from the start.  However, on the way home in the car all he could do was praise the pilgrimage.  Lisa mentioned that if she had to rate the tour she would give you a 10 out of 10 being the highest and that is something to be said because Lisa is not generous with praise.  I also agree with her in that rating!  So Lisa and Mark may not have been on board in the beginning, they definitely don’t regret going and are planning to go on the Chartres Pilgrimage next year.  Mark said that that was the closest he’s ever felt to God when he was on the Chartres Pilgrimage.  My other brother is really surprised at Mark’s attitude because I think he really was worried about him having a good time!   You mentioned wanting feedback.  The only thing I thought could have helped to enhance my trip is on the bus maybe hearing a little about France’s agriculture.  I really am interested in the crops they grow as it seems around here the only thing the farmers grow is corn and soybeans both of which I am opposed even though I married one of those farmers.  I’m more interested in organic methods which was one of my prayers on the trip.  Perhaps we will be able to go on a Holy Land tour someday.  My husband really wants to go sometime.  Thanks for helping with all of our spiritual journeys!”

Krista, Reviewed July 20, 2018

We had a wonderful time

“As for feedback regarding the trip: putting it simply, we had a wonderful time. It was tiring, for sure, at times. But we are all in agreement that we would love to do it again, and I think that’s the real test. We were pleased with how smoothly the tour progressed. For both Eleanor and I the highlight of the trip was visiting Fontgombault. It’s hard to limit it to one thing, though. Visiting the Grand Chartreuse was probably a “second highlight” for me. Not much to do there for outsiders, but it was amazing just to be there and see such an almost legendary spot of the world. Eleanor would like to tell you how much she liked your commentary along the way, especially as being instructive for the girls, who by the way, have pleasant memories of meeting little Anastasia, that little world traveler. Please tell her that they both say “Hello!”

Aaron, Reviewed July 17, 2018

Everything went smoothly

It was a pleasure traveling with you.  Everything went smoothly, really enjoyed the group and found new friends.  Went to museums, did a lot of walking, visited churches and shopping at the Alvaro Obregon Avenue and watched the [World Cup] game on Sunday in front of the Cathedral.  It was really a celebration and we had a good time with extra days here in Mexico.  Back to Vancouver on Tuesday.  Looking forward to the next trip with you.”

Adelia, Reviewed July 16, 2018

It was a wonderful holy trip

“It was a wonderful, holy trip and I am so glad I was able to go and meet you.  I thought the sites we toured were outstanding.  I prefer staying in one location for a few days to get to know the area.  However, I realize it is not possible to do and to see so many sites.   My favorite site was Fontgombault. I loved the monastery and going to the markets.  Fr. Huang was an excellent chaplain and ready to serve at all times.   I thought it the road to the Carthusian monastery was treacherous and would not want to make that ride again.  For being a budget tour, I thought it was first class.  In the future, I would like to go to Lourdes and Fatima, and the Holy Land.  God bless you and your wonderful work!”

Nancy, Reviewed July 9, 2018

I would do it again in a heartbeat

“We loved every minute of travelling with you and Natalie and Anastasia! I would do it again in a heartbeat. France was everything I hoped it would be and more.  Can’t wait until the next time I can go on another pilgrimage with you.  Miss all of you and I’m sure we will see you three very soon!”

Lucy, Reviewed July 1, 2018

We had such a time in France

“We had such a time in France, and absolutely loved traveling with you and Natalie (and Anastasia) ! We are so happy and grateful we did (and thank you for prodding us to come!).  We had a grand time in Paris afterwards – taking it easy, mostly doing lots of walking and lots of eating!  You and Natalie are such a beautiful example of a Catholic marriage, it was very edifying to see all the little interactions between you, small and seemingly insignificant, but done with such tenderness and love. So thank you for having us on the trip – travelling with you and your family was yet another wonderful part of the whole trip!  Your sentiments are returned – lots of memories we will cherish for a lifetime!”


Bernadette, Reviewed June 29, 2018

We are still basking in the joy of the trip

“We are still basking in the joy of the trip. I’m working on a necklace of medals that i collected along the way – its becoming my pilgrimage tradition to do this and add it to my England necklace from last year.  We’ve been bragging all about the trip and about finding the best tour company.  We actually have some family and friends interested in next years tour!  I really want to bring our kids next time and will work all the extra hours I can to make it happen!  As far as your email requesting input, we agreed to do it together.  But he’s napping right now on his day off.  I can’t think of a thing I would’ve changed!  We were both so so grateful for both of you and the amount of knowledge you provided about the sites we visited.  And God filled in the rest with miracles and music and joy and friendship.  The Saints we visited!!  The Catholic Church is so big and wonderful! We’ll be taking a close look at dates!  I’m going to put in for time off for next June asap.  Hugs and yes! We would love to visit Vancouver someday!  Hugs to you all!  Enjoy your time at home for a bit!”

Jody, Reviewed June 26, 2018

I loved the pilgrimage

“I loved the pilgrimage! I’ve been on a few different pilgrimages, run by various groups, and I have to say that your tour was the best. No, I’m not exaggerating. Considering all the planning, booking, corresponding, and preparing that you had to do for this trip, and also considering the highly unpredictable nature of travelling in such a large group, I was amazed at how smoothly everything went (on the outside) and I appreciated all that you had to endure behind the scenes to make it so enjoyable for the pilgrims.  I also love how you ran the tour as a family. John’s thoughtful and inspiring commentaries from the front of the bus, Natalie’s quiet and hidden support from somewhere in the middle of the bus, and Anastasia’s super cute additions to the commentary from wherever she happened to be on the bus, was a delight to see. You have a beautiful family, and it was a pleasure to meet you and travel with you.  I also loved how you all made an effort to greet and get to know the pilgrims individually. I’ve been on a pilgrimage where the guide never bothered to greet people that he didn’t already know, and who just ignored us the whole trip. Also, even though you’ve been to the same sights of pilgrimage several times, you gave no impression that you were “bored” with the place or it’s history. Seeing your faith and pleasure to visit again places sanctified by the Saints was very touching. It meant that this wasn’t just a job to you, it was an act of faith, and you extended it to others by bringing them along and sharing it with them.  I honestly can’t choose a highlight, because every place we went to left its own unique impression upon me. In Fontgombault it was seeing the continuity of the Benedictine traditions being lived by the monks so faithfully, and the privilege of being a part of it during our stay. In Ars, it was discovering the charming French countryside and venerating the remains of such a colossal and influential saint. In La Salette it was seeing the relatively untouched and beautiful mountainside where Our Blessed Mother appeared with her maternal warnings and requests. At the Grand Chartreuse it was joining in the silence of the monks as we walked in the rain, alongside the monastery that has produced so many silent and hidden Carthusian saints.  Basically, I thought the tour was wonderful, and I’ve already recommended your tours to my family. Matthew and I hope to sign up again someday for another pilgrimage. And really it was just that: a pilgrimage. It wasn’t a touristy tour at all, it was a true pilgrimage, separate and distinct from the secular world, even as we traveled through it. You kept it spiritual, and that is what made it fruitful. God bless you all, and may He grant you many more graces throughout your travels!”

Karolina, Reviewed June 22, 2018

Thank you for the amazing pilgrimage

“Thank you for the amazing pilgrimage to France.  It was good to be able to visit those holy places with so many other fellow Catholics.  It was also great having two priests available to offer the Traditional Mass in those places.  The highlights for me were Fontgombault and Ars as well as being able to venerate the relics of St Martin of Tours (who was a patron saint of mine when I was in the army).  It was also a tremendous honor to be able to serve the Holy Mass as often as I did.  Karolina and I will have many wonderful memories thanks to your hard work and dedication to helping the pilgrims get the most out of the pilgrimage.  We have been settling in to married life and things are going well.  We would certainly love to go on another tour in the future.  (I think a tour of northern France that included visits to some of the great Cathedrals like Amiens and Bourges would be awesome).  Thank you again and hopefully we will be able to go on another pilgrimage with you sooner rather than later.”

Matthew, Reviewed June 21, 2018

Thank you to our dear priests

“We’d like to give the group a very big hug and a thanks for all they have brought into this pilgrimage, whose immensity of graces we are only just barely starting to grasp! Thank you truly for making this trip what it was! Thank you for our dear priests for their spiritual support. For Sophie for her generous sharing of her medical skills with all (and her newly acquired friendship!!). I mention her by name as resident doctor of the group, because we certainly made more personal and lasting friendships that won’t be named! For the group “of the back of the bus” and their hilarious comments which we caught from time to time. For Benny for helping us all enjoy both trip AND destination. For sweet little Anastasia for bringing us all joy abundantly. (We both send her a firm Elbow Bump, our “cool handshake” with her).  I don’t understand why this trip has been so filled with graces in a remarkable way to us, so distinctly and perceptively from other trips. Perhaps it was having priests with us, or daily Mass, or the generosity in joy of the group, or the many saints we visited, or a bit of all?!   Anyway, we truly cannot express our gratitude enough, and we enjoyed this so much that we plan on doing a joint trip yearly as long as it will be possible for us. Truly, saying that this trip has changed our perception of the world is saying so little, and the reasons will be known to us and to God. We just wanted to make it clear how thankful we are!  So thank you John for organizing this, and thank you to each and everyone in the group. We love you all very much, and send you a great big hug that we would have loved to give had we had the time before rushing off to catch the train.  You will all remain in our prayers, and trust that we will be in yours!”

Rachelle, Reviewed June 1, 2018

Thank you for the privilege to be the chaplain

“Merry Christmas!  Thank you for the privilege to be the chaplain on the pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  I think overall the organization for the trip, all things considered, was great.  Amer did a really good job as our guide. I would highly recommend keeping him on for future pilgrimages as much as possible.  Given the political situation while we were there (President Trump announcing Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel), I found it good that we were not kept in the dark and Amer kept us informed of the latest news from his sources at the various sites. That might be something to include in the brochure in some way for those worried about security while there in the Holy Land.  I really liked how Amer emphasized the difference between tourists and pilgrims. The policy of not buying souvenirs until Monday (more than half way through) was very good. It was also good that the places we did stop in were supporting the Christian communities there in the Holy Land.  As far as the pacing of the pilgrimage, I think it struck a very good medium between too much free time and packing too much into a short time. I appreciated how we usually had time at the end of the day to visit the Annunciation in Nazareth every night before going to bed. It was more tricky in Jerusalem since the Holy Sepulchre closed at about 7 pm (I think), but there was usually enough time after getting back and before dinner. And for those who needed to rest, they were given the opportunity to do that as well, especially those who had taken ill.  I hope this helps for the future pilgrimages. I apologize this is not organized better.  Thank you once more for the privilege to come on the pilgrimage.  I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Fr. David, Reviewed December 29, 2017

This trip was a very special experience

“This trip was a very special experience -there was so much to learn! The historical sites were impressive and Christmas will have a special meaning for me now. Susan did a great job and our guide  Amer was very knowledgeable. I had a contact at the sisters of Zion convent and had the opportunity of visiting the Ecco Homo convent on the Via Dolorosa –head  office of the sisters of Zion. Anyone can stay there like a hotel or studying the Bible for a month long course. An arch built by Hadrian is part of their chapel. Everyone got along well as we were there for a common purpose and although I am not as devout as some it did have a good influence on me. But the most impressive person was Father Franco. We were all in awe of him. He was so inspiring. He was human with a great sense of humor and very holy at the same time. I have never met anyone so young and brilliant  with so many attributes. The only negative of the trip  was that everyone was snorting, coughing, wheezing, sneezing and snuffling as in a symphony of sound on the bus and the plane.  I would recommend this highly to my friends.

Yvonne, Reviewed December 21, 2017

The Pilgrimage is a lifetime experience beyond one’s imagination

“The beauty and the profound significance of every place we visited in Israel which depicts the life and death of Jesus has left an indelible mark in my life.  The  Pilgrimage is a lifetime experience beyond one’s imagination.  Am blessed and forever grateful for having such opportunity.”

Maria, Reviewed December 20, 2017

Thank God for good priests

First of all, Father Franco is the best, he is a virtuous priest. He’s fun to be with, and I learned a lot from him. On the trip, he gave us lots of chances for Confession in the evenings and I attend the Latin Mass in Vancouver, so that was a bonus on this trip with the Latin Mass every day. Thank God for good priests.  Secondly, our guide, Amer, is very knowledgeable. Our bus driver, is excellent at driving. Thanks goes to them.  I also feel very fortunate to have been grouped together with great people in this particular group, everyone made efforts and cared for each other, and it was very enjoyable. I hope I can get to keep them as long time friends in the future.  Our hotels are good, food was also good, thank you for your work in arranging.”

Rosa, Reviewed December 22, 2017

It was a good trip

“Yes, it was a good trip and a nice group of people and nice to see such a lovely young girl, Jade, so prayerful. Good tour director, Susan, hotel and food were very good.   I would like to see the Dome of the Rock [Islamic shrine], if it is possible in the future, otherwise everything was good.”

Joanna, Reviewed December 16, 2017

The pilgrimage was wonderful

“The pilgrimage was wonderful, and far exceeded my expectations. Susan and Amer’s expertise in arranging the itinerary and timing the visits was exemplary, and greatly contributed to the experience. I greatly enjoyed this visit, and would go again in a heartbeat!”

Regina, Reviewed December 12, 2017

The Holy Land tour was an unforgettable experience

“The Holy Land tour was an unforgettable experience.  Our guide Amer was superb.  He has a wealth of knowledge about Jesus’ life, and he is a gifted teacher.  Daily Mass with Fr. David Franco in various holy locations added greatly to the pilgrimage.  Though not previously familiar with the Latin rite, we came to appreciate the piety and reverence of this form of worship.  Our accommodations were above average, and the bus was comfortable with a very skilled driver.  A couple of negatives to report: In Tel Aviv airport a couple of pilgrims had lost luggage, and were left to fend for themselves.  The bus transport in London from airport to hotel was inadequate.  We had to change hotels for our last night in Israel, which was very inconvenient (though the Saint Gabriel Hotel was excellent).  These glitches were minor compared to the overall experience.  Thank-you for letting us join such a grace-filled pilgrimage.”

Howard, Reviewed December 11, 2017

We have nothing but praise

“Genevieve and I were very pleased and appreciative. We have nothing but praise for the staff, the venues, the accommodation, food and transport. Each and every member of the tour was pleasant, considerate, cooperative and friendly.  You may release our personal information to the members of this group as we hope to be in contact with them.  Special thanks to Susan, Fr. Franco, Amer and David (bus driver) who made everyone feel at ease and were very professional in all their communication with us.  Please keep us informed about future pilgrimages to recommend to families and friends.  We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a joyful Season.

Paul, Reviewed December 11, 2017

Be assured of our continued prayers

“Pardon the late acknowledgement of your kind note.  John, I recall your encouragement to spend as much time as possible with my dear grandchildren, and your generous gift will facilitate that.  Be assured of our continued prayers for you, your family and your various undertakings.  May God bless you.

Bernie, Reviewed September 11, 2017

Evangelizing through beauty

“Every success with ‘evangelizing through beauty’ in your pilgrimages and tours!”

Chris, Reviewed August 30, 2017

We very much enjoyed the tour

“Still have a couple of kids to get into college – otherwise we would be on the tour in a heart beat.  We very much enjoyed the tour in Italy you arranged – best adventure we have had.  Let us know if you can arrange for anything in England and Scotland – we would be happy to be your pilot family.  Again, my congratulations.”

Emile, Reviewed August 10, 2017

I reminisce about our evening strolls through Tiberius and Jerusalem

“I too miss you guys, and all the enjoyment from the pilgrimage.  I reminisce about our evening strolls through Tiberius and Jerusalem, enjoying Cokes, and lounging by the Sea of Galilee or at the Notre Dame terrace!  Lots of good memories and great places, my favorite place being the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, another fond memory of having been able to enjoy with the both of you.”

Andy, Reviewed July 13, 2017

Tears of love and gratitude still come to my eyes in remembering our pilgrimage

“Thank you for the wonderful pictures. I have been enjoying looking at them and tears of love and gratitude still come to my eyes in remembering our pilgrimage.  As I said to you in person, it was the trip of a lifetime and I’ll never forget it.  Everything you arranged was wonderful and thank you again.  Please give my best to your brother Andy when you’re speaking to him.  Warmest wishes for a great summer and happy travels in the future.”

Marybeth, Reviewed July 7, 2017

We were amazed at all of the sites that we visited

“We thoroughly enjoyed our trip.  Amer was a walking encyclopedia.  Our only suggestion is in Bethlehem, John our guy, spoke way too fast and we could barely understand what he was saying, he is a good guy, just needs to slow down with his speech so we can keep up with him. Possibly caused by a slight accent also.  The hotel in the Sea of Galilee was good, the Notre Dame Hotel was excellent.  We were amazed at all of the sites that we visited how close they were in relation to the Sea of Galilee as well as Jerusalem.  We were not concerned with safety or security at any time during our trip.  We are already recommending the November trip to our friends.  May God continue to bless you in your given talents.”

Lenny, Reviewed June 13, 2017

Thank you for your kind comments and your generosity

“Thank you for your kind comments and your generosity. It was wonderful to meet your family as a bonus to the tour.

Lindael, Reviewed June 12, 2017

Thank you for such a wonderful pilgrimage

“Praised be Jesus Christ!  Thank you for such a wonderful pilgrimage to the Holy Lands the end of May.

Angela, Reviewed June 12, 2017

It was a fantastic trip

“It was a fantastic trip – even with the ‘bonus’ days in England.  Here are my thoughts: the guide was fantastic.  Saving the gift buying until Bethlehem was also great.  Although I’m a tightwad, many of the people liked the shop.  In other pilgrimages I was chaplain on, one or two people would often be buying stuff, slowing us down.  A little more time at the pilgrim churches would be better.  Many of the pilgrims would have probably liked to have known about the evening service of offering incense by the Franciscans in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.  You probably do not have to go, but at least make it known.  Praised be Jesus Christ!  Thank you for such a wonderful pilgrimage to the Holy Lands the end of May.”

Fr. Carl, Reviewed June 12, 2017

The memories we treasure

“Back home, trying to settle down in our routine again.  The memories we treasure from the pilgrimage keep permeating our daily life. Today we shared the pictures with my daughter and her husband, and looking at the images, helps again in re-tracing the steps we walked in that Holy part of the world.  The fact that we were so lucky, and got Amer as the tour guide, adds to the great value of this unforgettable trip. We learned in giant steps things that, in our whole life as Catholics we’d never learned, but only through the amazing way that Amir is able to interrelate so much information.  I feel like I should have stayed there forever, I’d love to have the chance to, for the rest of my life, pay a daily visit to the Chapel of the Calvary and spend hours each day there, to accompany Our Lord and Our Sweet Mother Mary.  From now on, every minute of my prayers and meditations, will have a new perspective. In my heart and in my mind, now I can be present in the exact places where events actually happened. That gives my time with Our Lord a whole new depth and intensity.

For this and many more blessings that will come to our lives, we thank God and also thank you for making this trip possible.

Roberto, Reviewed June 11, 2017

This trip provided me with an incredible opportunity to grow in faith

“I hope this email finds you well.  Apologies for the delay in getting this email to you – just want to respond to your call for feedback on last month’s trip.  Just a few things I want to highlight about the trip: First of all, thank you so much for pairing myself and Teresita! You found me (I hope Teresita agrees with me!) an excellent fit. I feel like I not only made a new friend for the duration of the trip, but for a long time to come.  I want to comment on the pre-trip departure that you organized in February. The tips were undoubtedly practical, and meeting my roommate in advance was helpful in learning about some of the “habits” of the other person.  I want to remark on how helpful the guides were (to follow during Mass), as I had only ever attended the Extraordinary Form of the Mass perhaps once or twice prior to this trip.  This trip provided me with an incredible opportunity to grow in faith. I was fortunate enough to have teachers in elementary school who shared their experiences of pilgrimages to Fatima/Lourdes, and I know that this trip helped me to come “full circle”. We learned about the stories associated with Fatima/Lourdes/St. Bernadette etc., but I am forever grateful for the opportunity to experience it first hand. One of my classmates in grade 4 used to pray that the light of Christ burn brightly in our hearts today and always”, and the countless number of candles brought that intention back to me like she was standing there.  Overall, the trip was well-organized and well-executed. The only feedback I have is that there was a small difference in the amount of tips for the director and driver stated in the guide that we received and originally-stated figure. However, I will emphasize that this did, at least from my recollection, get resolved relatively quickly.  Thank you again for this trip. I would like to be included on the mailing list for future opportunities.

Jessica, Reviewed June 9, 2017

Amazing, wonderful, so many superlatives…

“Amazing, wonderful, so many superlatives…but in the end it’s all about our faith, so for that, grateful, humbled. It was a pleasure to meet everyone and be part of the group that was looking to learn more about our faith , give honor to our Lord and Blessed Mother as we traced their footsteps and be humbled to be stepping on the same grounds They did!  Thank you!  Please extend our thanks to Fathers – Gismondi and Fryar as well!  Some items that maybe helpful/good to share in advance: The small card/paper from Israeli immigration – keep and make sure they’re available if needed in the return back.  List of places to visit or things to do that may be of interest for people to pursue on their own or as group (at their own risk, if disclaimer is appropriate).  Mass and Confession.  Logistics change, and so as schedule like what happened to us with the Trump visit.  But didn’t have any effect on our experience.  Having said that, whenever possible, maybe Mass can be scheduled a few hours (preferably 3 hrs) before meal.   I think we were very fortunate to have Masses on the holy places.  I will not change them just the schedule if possible.  If not, another Mass perhaps?  Personally, I could go to an early Mass (before breakfast) to receive Holy Communion then assist on another.  If it permits, announce in advance place/s and time/s when confession can be heard.  We’ll share your info and our experience to others.  May God bless you and your company to lead and bring others to these holy places, topped with the Mass of All Times. Thanks again.”

Raul, Reviewed June 3, 2017

Our entire family was so blessed

“I just wanted to drop you a quick note.  Our entire family was so blessed to be able to go on this pilgrimage.  I’m amazed that for such a big trip and such a big group, everything went off without a hitch.  (Of course, we weren’t flying British Air.)  I think the only suggestion I would have is in your pre-trip email correspondence, you could mention to plan about $10-$20 per person per day for lunch.   Also, you may want to also mention bringing some $1 bills.  I had brought 20- $1 bills, but with the family getting water, etc., we went through that quickly.  Thank you so much for everything.  It was truly the trip of a lifetime!

Nancy, Reviewed June 3, 2017

You made a difference in my life

”The pilgrimage was excellent!  In fact, I would call it a profound experience.   I could not have asked for a better experience.  Some of my highlights.  Our guide Amer was really good; he added a lot, which really added value to the pilgrimage.  While each of our tours sites was unique and valuable in their own way, and really can’t be compared against each other, I think my highlights were the following:  praying and walking the Via Dolorosa and Mass at the Holy Sepulchere; and our Mass and visit to the Primacy of St. Peter.  Great hotels!  I enjoyed getting to know you and your brother Andy on this trip.  I was also relieved that our family was not awkwardly ostracized for not being familiar with the traditional Latin Mass.  Thanks again for putting this together.  You made a difference in my life, and I also think (based on their private comments to me), each of lives of our family.”

Julie, Reviewed May 31, 2017

The trip was “overwhelming” in a good way

The trip was “overwhelming” in a good way.  I can’t believe there’s a better guide than Amer.  We got more than our money’s worth with him.  The man is invaluable and a wealth of information.  Thank you again for the fabulous pilgrimage.  Food and lodging were wonderful.  I was glad that Amer switched gears and gave us the option for lunches.  I barely eat two meals a day so I could easily go without lunch, but I understand that I’m probably an exception to the rule rather than the rule.  My only other suggestions would be that you let people know that there are usb outlets on the buses (I only found out about them from Tom on the last day!), check with the hotels to see if they supply hair dryers (I wish I had known.  Would never have brought mine.  It was one more thing to weigh me down.) and irons (no big deal for the men, but VERY big deals for the women) and let everyone know that there is daily adoration when staying at the Notre Dame Center.  That was an extra bonus for sure!  Oh, and definitely, people need to be reminded to bring water with them at the Church of the Nativity.  I didn’t think I was going to survive waiting in line for as long as we did because I didn’t bring any.  I had no idea the lines would be worse than Disneyland plus people taking cuts!  Live and learn as they say.  Well, thanks again to you, Amer and of course our very capable driver, David!  The dynamic trio or is it the 3 Amiable Amigos?  LOL!  And tell your wife thank you for her effort to bring us home.  It was much appreciated.  Will pictures be posted somewhere?

Joan, Reviewed May 31, 2017

Thank you for a great pilgrimage

I am back in DC, and am waiting for my ride.  Thank you for a great pilgrimage, and for everything!  God bless you.”

John, Reviewed May 29, 2017

What an amazing and beautiful experience

“What an amazing and beautiful experience! Seeing the glorious sights of where Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared was enriching and my it reaffirmed my faith. Seeing all of the churches, sights, and people that honored our Lady was so touching. This tour brought me to places that I never would have thought to go to myself and I am so grateful for John Sonnen and the wonderful work that he does. This tour of Mexico City, Puebla, and the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe was so inspiring and amazing! I loved every minute of it and I cannot wait to go on another tour with John!”

Angelina, Reviewed May 30, 2017

Loved it

Was a well organized travel.  Loved it!  Thank you, looking forward to travel in Holy Land.”

Colleen, Reviewed May 26, 2017

Loved it

Was a well organized travel.  Loved it!  Thank you, looking forward to travel in Holy Land.”

Colleen, Reviewed May 26, 2017

Hope to travel with Orbis again

”I want to thank you for this memorable and enjoyable experience on a Pilgrimage with Orbis and Cosmos.  I like all the hotels, the breakfast buffets, porter service, safe and courteous driver and knowledgeable tour director.  The Masses celebrated were very solemn and spiritually enriching. I loved visiting the Unesco Heritage sites which were very rich in vital history, as well as all the amazing Churches and Cathedrals.  Your kindness, gentleness and sincere caring for our safety is highly commendable and truly appreciated.  Hope to travel with Orbis again in the future.”

Andrea, Reviewed May 19, 2017

I wish to inform you that I am immensely happy and satisfied

Am aware that you are now in Holy Land, a place I hope someday will have a chance to visit.  I wish to inform you that I am immensely happy and satisfied with everything from our most recent trip.  COSMOS with Vitor (awesome) and Luis(the most careful and the best driver) made our trip very pleasant and comfortable.  With Fr. Pablo’s solemn Latin Masses and with Zack’s capable assistance to Fr. Pablo – they made a great team.  Extremely happy I got to visit Our Lady of Fatima (100th Anniversary at that) and Our Lady of Lourdes – a dream come true.  Everything happens for a reason. As you said John, “It’s Divine Providence”.  It was a fascinating trip – Montserrat is breathtaking and captivating.  Quite a beguiling experience.  I never thought group tours can be enjoyable and fun.  Till our next trip together…..May God bless you and your family always.”

Maria, Reviewed May 19, 2017

We could not personally thank you

“We could not personally thank you all what you have done for us after arriving in Vancouver, it was a wonderful experience and you helped us make it happen. Also, thank you so much for all the support given to Father Pablo, we think that it goes beyond what you can expect!  Things that I liked: Your help for making the Pilgrimage more affordable for us with the given discount.  Having you as our leader, ready for helping all of us. For me this was a Pilgrimage more than a Tour, so by having somebody to think and plan about the religious things that need to be considered, was important.  Vitor also did a very good job as the Tour Director.  Louis also was a plus with his smooth driving.  Having Mass almost every day.  All the Sanctuaries and sites visited, some of them really make an impact in you.  How the luggage pickup and delivery was executed, it helps a lot, even though that sometimes you needed to wait a little bit more than expected.  Some of the dinners that were included, were very good.”

Pablo, Reviewed May 17, 2017

We found the pilgrimage a once-in-a-lifetime experience

“We found the Pilgrimage a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and well worth the trip. We also found the company enjoyable, and the tours enlightening and educational.  Wish we could have had more time to explore certain places we visited.  Thank you for co-ordinating the pilgrimage for us. Definitely keep us in mind for future trips. God Bless.”

Art, Reviewed May 17, 2017

Everything was great

Everything was great on that pilgrimage. The acommodations, food, company together with us, the Latin Masses with Fr.Pablo every day, but most of all, the Marian places and a few other places that were not in the itinerary, that too, was a bonus to us. To see the devotions of the people in the crowd and within our group, that inspired and evangelized us all.  We appreciate all the people involved, like our good tour guide Vitor, Luis safest driver, Fr. Pablo and his assistant and you, John, as good coordinator.  It was very spiritual pilgrimage to remember, thanking God for our safety and enjoyed the entire trip.  Looking forward for the next trip.  Thank you and God bless.”

Virginia, Reviewed May 16, 2017

I’ve told our friends about our wonderful experiences

“I’ve told many friends about our wonderful experiences during the pilgrimage.  You’ve given Mary Beth and me a wonderful gift, which we’ll cherish for the rest of our lives.”

Frank, Reviewed November 26, 2016

Thank you for your generosity and for putting this trip together

“Thank you for your generosity and for putting this trip together.  We are enjoying all the pictures you took as well as our own as you have pictures of places that we didn’t see, etc.  It took a little longer than usual to get over our jet lag but I believe it has now passed.  Anastasia is definitely a good traveller  so nice to have had  her and Natalie along.  We appreciate the wonderful group that we travelled with to Rome with.  They were all so delightful to be with…one big family.  The Holy Spirit was definitely with us.  Father Donnelly was wonderful to travel with.  We enjoyed singing along with him at morning and evening prayer as well as at Mass.  Our trip to Assisi and climbing the Holy Stairs was a highlight for me though as we look back on all that we did we found that every day.  Was wonderful.   We have some very delightful memories of our time away.  So many events…so many happy memories.”

Elizabeth, Reviewed November 17, 2016

I had goose bumps

‘I had goose bumps from the time I was in the Vatican until I got on the plane!”

Colleen, Reviewed November 16, 2016

We had such a good time

“Hi John and Natalie, we had such a good time with the two you. Hope you are over the jet lag.  We would like to know more about this next trip!  Could you please call us about it?”

Manuel, Reviewed November 15, 2016

We had such a wonderful time

We are home safe and sound, wishing we were back in  Rome already.  We had such a wonderful time!  Thank you again for everything.  I don’t think it would have been the same with any other tour group.”

Mary Beth, Reviewed November 14, 2016

It was a wonderful experience

“Thank you for the great leadership on the pilgrimage.  It was a wonderful experience.  Making friendships that will last a lifetime.”


Marguerite, Reviewed November 14, 2016

It is quite a Blessing for all of us

“I just want to thank you for guiding us on our Pilgrimage.  It is quite a Blessing for all of us.  P.S. Everything on our Pilgrimage was a “Hi Light”.


Victoria, Reviewed November 10, 2016

A great experience

“Thank you so much! The Our Lady of Guadalupe pilgrimage was really a great experience. I really enjoyed being with the group.  I think my mother who passed away 2 years ago and my dad who passed away 4 years ago are very happy now. Many thanks for the opportunity to visit the Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine along with the solemn Latin Masses. My mother was a devotee of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her last and only wish from me was to pray for her. I thought that joining the pilgrimage is one way of fulfilling her last wish.  Thanks so much again for the very wonderful experience!”

Lisa, Reviewed March 22, 2016

A grace-filled time for me

This pilgrimage was really a grace-filled time for me.  Your careful planning made everything flow smoothly.  Your attention and proper instructions kept us safe at all times.  Daily Mass with Father Masutti was such a gift.  I liked visiting the different beautiful churches.  Revisiting the Shrine of Our Lady was a joy because it really did help to remember it better and to see what one might have missed the first time.  Being in the city of Puebla was quite special with its beautiful Spanish-inspired buildings.  And Lunch in that fine restaurant was very much enjoyed.  The presentation of all the different uses of the guava plant impressed me.  It taught me to look deeper into other cultures’ ways of using available natural things.  Even though I did not climb the pyramids, just walking around the grounds was quite interesting.  I am glad we visited there.  And then, of course, I appreciated your super-gentlemanly help at the airport at arrival and departure.  Thank you so very much.  If the timing is right for one of your next excursions, I will be happy to be part of it.”

Ursula, Reviewed March 10, 2016

You were the perfect guide

Thank you so much for leading this group to visit Our Lady of Guadalupe!  Being my first time ‘officially’ out of the country, you were the perfect guide.  Calm, experienced, patient and knowledgable.  The entire trip was the experience I was hoping for.  I only wish that I had kept a journal to make notes of each church we visited.  Looking at the pictures, they became a blur and it was hard to identify each one.  If I am to go on a pilgrimage again, I would certainly choose you and I will highly recommend you to any friends.  Thank your wife and daughter also, for letting you travel so much!  You are a blessing to them, and to all who travel with you!”

Lisa, Reviewed March 18, 2016

The trip there was unforgettable

“The highlights for both of us were the Shrine, and the museum of St. Miguel Pro.  The Shrine has been on our ‘bucket list’ for many years, and the trip there was unforgettable.  We were really pleased that you made time for a second visit.  Our faith was deepened by learning about, and seeing, the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Also, we really appreciated the excellent commentary of Carla, our guide in the Miguel Pro museum.  It was wonderful to have Fr. Masutti with us to translate, but even without this, it was moving to witness Carla’s passion and devotion.”

Howard, Reviewed March 15, 2016

Prayer-filled attitudes

Thanks for you kind words and warm wishes, John.  I hope your trip home was smooth and that you are now relaxing with your family.  Despite the rain, there are many positives about Cuba. The most important for us is that we were able to meet and spend time with so many wonderful Catholic people.  This is so unusual for us and we relished all the discussions and prayer-filled attitudes.  We also appreciated the chance to learn more about Cuba – its history and its people.  We likely would not have done this without being there, so are enriched by the experience.  The trip to Havana was very interesting in so many ways, so thanks for this.  I am just sorry that I had a cold and was not feeling very energetic for the week as we missed the opportunity to tour the island a bit more.  However, it has opened our minds for travel in the future.  Thanks to you for taking good care of us.”

Marimae, Reviewed January 17, 2016

A first for our students

“Traditional Learning Academy’s high school Spring Pilgrimage tour of France and Italy was the first of its kind with Orbis Catholicus.  Two weeks visiting, and actually living in, some of the most prominent Catholic shrines and apparition sites in Europe was a first for our students.  Beginning with solemn high Mass at the Notre Dame de Paris, we joined the 20,000-strong, three-day walking pilgrimage making our way through Paris and the surrounding countryside ending at the Notre Dame de Chartres.  We stayed (and worked!) at the Abbaye de Notre Dame de Fontgombault, visited the incorrupt body of St. Bernadette in Nevers, climbed the Alps surrounding La Salette, spent a complete day in the picturesque village of Ars while visiting the Cure, swam in an alpine lake, explored the cathedrals of Lyon, toured Chambery in the Haute Savoie, and ended with a viewing of the Shroud of Turin.  When students were asked what their favourite part of the trip was, they replied, “We can’t decide.  It was all so wonderful.”  John and Natalie provided a wealth of information, fine organization, a flexible structure to the tour, and a sense of humour to make the experience one to remember.”

Martin, Reviewed October 6, 2015

A real spiritual journey

OC-Travel went above and beyond on this trip.  From the development of a custom itinerary for our group before we left, to making generous adaptations to the schedule as the trip played out, OC-Travel truly made our experience special. OC-Travel’s choice of accommodations were spectacular on our trip to Rome.  The convent we stayed at was wonderful, clean and modern, but the chapel (a full blown church really) and the courtyard for my morning walks and prayers, were the really essential features that made this much more of a pilgrimage than just another tour.  Thank you, John and OC-Travel for making this trip a real spiritual journey!”

William, Reviewed September 16, 2015

I was so proud to be part of that group

“John, thank you for being not just our tour guide, but our friend.  You were superb, ready to handle each of our needs (and we had many).  The highlight for me was hearing our name being called at the audience with the Pope.  I was so proud to be part of that group.  How you had arranged all those marvelous details, I have no idea, but glad you did.  Another highlight was mass the morning of 9/11.  If I close my eyes, I can still hear my friends sing in the most wonderful church in the world.”

Rosie, Reviewed September 16, 2015

I think of Rome everyday

Thanks a million for the wonderful keepsake pictures, I think of Rome everyday!  I sure did enjoy the trip even if it was hot for me, I’d do it again, if I ever got the chance!!  I am hoping to take another kind of trip with you in the near future.  I will mail Kim her pictures, she made me a beautiful album of our trip and I added yours to it!!  I am very grateful for all of it.  Take care and God bless and peace always!!”

Cecile, Reviewed September 3, 2015

The local tour guide was so informative

“My friends have gone for 4 days and were satisfied but we left wanting to return. There are many Catholic sites. The local tour guide was so informative. We visited several towns with beautiful churches I know my friends didn’t visit.  When we were  preparing to travel, I told my children and grandchildren I was going to see my heavenly Mother and I had many things to ask her about.  Our Lady spoke an inner locution to me the last day we were at her Shrine.  She said  ‘Stop  petitioning me, I have it covered, start thanking me.’  I had a serious shoulder injury from last March. I fell over a vacuum!  The Doctor said it would be a long painful recovery. I recently noticed my shoulder hasn’t been painful since we returned. It was not one of the requests I had made of her!”

Sandie, Reviewed August 4, 2015

Your guidance made it a memorable trip

“My sister and I spoke last week and intended to send you a thank you note.  You reached us first and so on behalf of both of us I wish to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to you for your flexibility, for sharing your extensive knowledge and for your willingness to answer our many, many questions be it theological, historical or cultural.  Your guidance made it a memorable trip.  We both agree we had a great trip and have been telling people we had a private tour (with our small number it was essentially that).  We have told people who have visited Rome on several occasions many things they did not know: for instance that you can drink the water at public fountains, all about San Clemente, and of course our blessing of seeing St Peter’s tomb and that of all the popes underneath the Basilica.  And what to say of our excursions to Santa Marinella and Norcia/Cascia.  Great added bonus.  If you have an e-mail distribution list for your upcoming tours, I would like to be added to it.  Meanwhile I am pleased to share with family and friends my experiences with OC Travel and refer them to your web site.”

Jocelyn, Reviewed August 2, 2015

The best trip I have ever experienced

“The Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe was an experience beyond my expectations.  I feel so blessed to have seen the tilma.  Mass at the shrine in the presence of the tilma is so uplifting.  I have visited churches in Rome but the chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary is the most beautiful chapel I have ever seen.  This is the best trip I have ever experienced.  Thank you, John.

Adeline, Reviewed August 1, 2015

 The music was exquisite

“As I just returned from a pilgrimage to Rome a few weeks ago I thought I would share with you a few highlights.  The obvious biggest highlight was the opportunity afforded me to concelebrate the Solemn Mass with Pope Francis, on the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.  The music was exquisite, being dominantly  Gregorian Chant.  The Credowas sung in polyphony from one of the best known compositions of Palestrina, the Missa Papae Marcelli.  Trumphets and trombones resonated throughout St. Peter’s Basilica, too, to the accompaniment of the immense pipe organ that was installed during the pontificates of two popes.  That evening it was a great blessing to attend Vespers (liturgical evening prayer) at St. Peter’s Basilica.  The psalms were sung in Gregorian Chant, the Magnificatwas a magnificent composition for orchestra and organ, during which the altar was incensed, and a procession took place to the tomb of St. Peter for the incensation of his mortal remains.  The Vesper hymn, O Roma Felix(O Happy Rome) resounded in all its glory reminding us all of the multifarious blessings bestowed upon the Roman Church down through the centuries.  Another highlight of this trip was the celebration of Mass in the city of Norcia at the birth place of St. Benedict, at the Basilica dedicated to him.  We remembered to pray for all our Benedictine friends.  In addition we had Mass at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome and visited the Shrine of St. Rita at Cascia.  At every Mass I made a point of praying above all for the spiritual well-being of our parish!”

Fr. William, Reviewed July 26, 2015

Sublime and filled with many spiritual graces

“I hope your return trip was smooth and I’m sure you are very happy to be back with Natalie and Anastasia (as wonderful as Rome was!).  Thank you for being such a wonderful friend and leader during our pilgrimage.  My first time in Rome and Italy was sublime and filled with many spiritual graces.“

Bao, Reviewed September 26, 2014

Great mix of planned activities and free time

“The recent trip to Rome and the Amalfi coast with Orbis Catholicus Travel was an incredible experience. It was great to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. It was truly a blessing to have this opportunity to share and grow together, united in our Catholic faith.  John Sonnen, of Orbis Catholicus Travel, is an excellent tour guide  whose in depth knowledge of Italy and the Vatican and his connections provided a strong foundation for the tour. There was a great mix of planned activities and free time to explore on your own.  Some highlights of our tour included: mass in the crypt (right next to the tomb of St. Peter), mass at the tomb of St. John Paul II, papal audience with Pope Francis, tours of Christian Rome, Ancient Rome, and the Vatican museum, an exclusive tour of the Swiss Guard barracks, being in Naples on the feast of St. Januarius for the miracle when the relic of his blood liquifies, beach day in Amalfi, shopping on the Island of Capri, and so much more!  Most importantly, I feel very blessed to have shared this time with the other members of the tour group, their examples as strong witnesses to our Catholic faith and the experiences we shared on the tour have strengthened and inspired me; as a result, I have returned home with renewed faith and energy to continue to strive to follow Christ and build up the Kingdom of God!

Alana, Reviewed September 28, 2014

So enjoyed the camaraderie of the group

“The Amalfi and Rome 2014 tour was very informative and indeed great fun.  I know that I had reservations about staying in a monastery but it turned out to be perfect even though the Italians do not know how to do breakfast! I so enjoyed the camaraderie of the group and the opportunity to travel with my son.  Given the opportunity and finances I would certainly do another tour with OC-Travel.”

Donna, Reviewed September 30, 2014

A five star experience!

“My recent trip to the Amalfi Coast and Rome, Italy with Orbis Catholicus Travel was a five star experience!  Each aspect of the journey was thoroughly enjoyable; from the stunning scenery, warm hospitality, comfortable accommodations, interesting history, and enriching spiritual encounters. One of my favorite moments from the trip was visiting St. Paul’s Outside the Walls with time to pray in front of St. Paul’s tomb. John Sonnen from OC-Travel was an excellent and knowledgeable tour guide; I hope to join another trip with OC-Travel in the future!”

Monica, Reviewed September 30, 2014

Spiritually uplifting

“Visiting Rome is spiritually uplifting. It made me more aware that the Catholic Church is a grand and powerful institution that has a vibrant history.”

Julia, Reviewed October 6th, 2014 (BC Catholic)

Experiences that went beyond expectations

“This tour was great.  John was an excellent guide as well as the other guides he arranged for us on the tour.  I never had a tour guide that was so professional and helpful.  John provided us with personal touches and experiences that went beyond expectations.  I thank OC-Travel for one of the best experiences and we would definitely recommend you to others.  Our group was amazing and everyone on the tour enjoyed the experience.  Thanks for a lovely time.”

Nancy, Reviewed October 13, 2014

Knowledge of the subject of our tour was amazing

John, your personal attention to all of our needs and your knowledge of the subject of our tour was amazing. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip.”

Evelyn, Reviewed November 7, 2014

Guides were world-class

“The group of people were the best I’ve ever traveled with (very classy people), and I was really impressed by the knowledgeability of our guides, especially our guides at the Catacomb of Priscilla and the Forum/Colosseum. They were world-class.

Charlotte, Reviewed November 7, 2014

Feel so blessed

“Thank you all.  It is so nice to get these wonderful pictures, and great to hear from all of you. I feel so blessed to have been on the Pilgrimage with such a great group. Thank you again.”

Maureen, Reviewed November 8, 2015

Friends for life

“You were (and are) awesome. And, we had a tremendous group of Pilgrims; some of which will be friends for life.  Please let us know if ever you are in Madison or the surrounding area.  It would be great to see you again.”

Patrick, Reviewed November 8, 2014

Rome was a great blessing for us

“The trip to Rome was a great blessing for us, as was our association with each of you which we enjoyed immensely. Thanks to all of you who have forwarded photos. We continue to enjoy them.”

Olen, Reviewed January 9, 2015

The great effect it has on me

“I am writing to share with you how wonderful it is this Lent, in reading my EF missal commentary most days, whether I make it to Mass or not, and also listen to the LentcaZts as well, to appreciate the Stational Churches! Three this week are: S. Clemente, S. Cecilia, and today is even S. Maria in Trastevere! I have wonderful memories, and even pictures, from being at all of these churches myself now. You made this possible, and I can’t help but write and tell you the great effect it has on me.”

John, Reviewed March 5, 2015

As seen on TripAdvisor

Informative & Entertaining

John Sonnen’s Art History background brought a unique interpretation to the art that amazed us. Especially like that the size of the group was not too large.

TripAdvisor, Reviewed July 10, 2010

Our tour guide, John, was outstanding!

“John gave us a fantastic 4 hour tour of the Vatican. He was exceptionally knowledgeable and personable. He touched us with his explanation of paintings, sculptures, and history of churches, St. Peter’s, Sistene Chapel, and museum art.

We recommended John to several people we met on their way to Rome.

My group was 3 retired couples from USA who were pastors and wives.

Loved it!”

Reviewed June 19, 2010

Great Tour

“John gave us a great tour of the Vatican. He was not only knowledgeable, but devoutly passionate about everything, too.”

Reviewed June 24, 2010

A Wonderful Tour

Our guide, John, was unbelievably knowledgeable about artwork and Italian culture. When the tour ended (a half-hour later than the specified time-he gave us more time for the same price), no one wanted to leave! Truly exceptional.”

Reviewed January 10, 2010

The Spectacular Vatican Tour

“John, who was our guide was THE best tour guide I have ever come across. His in depth knowledge, approach, enthusiasm and passion was absolutely amazing. He’s the type of teacher you want at school to draw you in with the subject you take. He gave us really good restaurant recommendations too. Just the places we were looking for to complete the vacation with full satisfaction.”

Reviewed November 29, 2009