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Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, M.I.C. with Mater Dei pilgrims in Krakow


  • PHOTO: Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, M.I.C., as chaplain of our October 2015 pilgrimage to Poland lead by Susan Swanson, our affiliate in Colorado.  Deacon Jerry Saladin, from the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis, also accompanies the group.  Members of this MATER DEI group came from Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, Texas, Colorado, California, and Alaska! As the Vice-postulator for the canonization cause of St Faustina, Fr. Seraphim has revealed to the pilgrims some fascinating stories of the process of Sister Faustina's canonization and the miracles involved in it.  Not to mention his expertise on the story, devotion and theology of the Divine Mercy!  

Mater Dei pilgrims visit Fatima, Lourdes and much more!


  • PHOTO: Fr. Daniel Griffith (Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis) and Monsignor Chad Gion (Diocese of Bismarck, ND), co-chaplained our September 2015 pilgrimage to France, Spain and Portugal lead by Dennis Gaetano (Twin Cities Pilgrims), our affiliate in Minnesota.  The pilgrims went from Paris to Lisbon visiting some of the most renown Marian Shrines (like Lourdes and Fatima) as well as some other not so famous Marian Shrines, but just as beautiful and important. Among them are the Shrines of Torreciudad, Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, Cathedral of Almudena and Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sonsoles.  The pilgrimage also focused on the 500th anniversary of St. Teresa Of Avila's birth  providing visits to sites related to Saint's life and death.  The group also visited the tomb of St. Juan de La Cruz, and the Eucharistic Miracle of Santarem in Portugal. (September 2015)

Mater Dei pilgrims climb the slopes of Croaghpatrick


  • PHOTO: Mater Dei pilgrims led by Msgr. James Gunn and Juan Landa, pose by the statue of St. Patrick on the slopes of famous Croaghpatrick, the pilgrimage mountain in County Mayo, Ireland.  The pilgrims visited 18 of the 32 counties in Ireland. (September 2015)  

Joyful Mater Dei pilgrims in Vatican City


  • PHOTO: Joyful Mater Dei Pilgrims led by Fr. Mark Baron, M.I.C., Drew Mariani (Relevant Radio) and Juan Landa, pose before the obelisk at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.  The same group a few days later was able to witness, and pray before the original Shroud of Turin during a special exhibit in April 2015.

Mater Dei pilgrims pray the rosary at Mt. Precipice


  • PHOTO: Mater Dei Pilgrims led by Msgr. Charles Schluter (Diocese of Madison, WI), and Juan Landa, pray the rosary during sunset at Mt. Precipice, the reputed place where the people of Nazareth attempted to throw Jesus down after reading the scroll of Isaiah and speaking in the synagogue of Nazareth.  The same group a few days later was able to attend Mass around the Rock of Agony and also inside the Holy Sepulchre in March 2015.

Mater Dei pilgrims renew their Baptismal Vows at the River Jordan


  • PHOTOFr. Samuel Martin (Diocese of La Crosse, WI) and Juan Landa, led a pilgrimage to the Holy Land during the quiet season in January.  The pilgrims are posing by the River Jordan after renewing their Baptismal Vows at the traditional and reputed site of Jesus' Baptism,performed by St. John the Baptist (the patron Saint of Fr. Martin's parish in Marshfield, WI).  In addition to following on the footsteps of Jesus, the group also enjoyed a 2-day/1 night pilgrimage to Switzerland as a bonus feature. They visited the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Einsiedeln, Lucern and Zurich.  (January 2015)

Bishop of Green Bay led a pilgrimage to OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE


  • PHOTO: Mater Dei Pilgrims led by Bishop David Ricken and Juan Landa, pose before the beautiful statue of St. John Paul II, which shows the face of Our Lady in his chasuble. This beautiful statue made out of thousands of old keys donated by faithful Mexicans, is located outside the lateral entrance to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City, where Bishop Ricken celebrated Mass in the High Altar.  Most Reverend David Ricken, Bishop of Green Bay led an amazing pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico.  The trip included many visits in Mexico City, Cholula, Puebla and Tlaxcala. This spiritually impacting pilgrimage culminated with High Mass at the High Altar of the Basilica of Guadalupe! The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Ricken, and concelebrated by the Archpriest of the Basilica, Monsignor Palencia, and all the Cannons (approximately 20 Priests in total).  "No one is ever the same after contemplating Our Lady's true face", said Juan Landa, President of Mater Dei Tours. He continued: "and having the spiritual direction of Bishop Ricken is certainly a strong blessing to all  those involved.  Click here to view the brochure. Hope you can join us next year!


Alvaro del Portillo, Beatified in Madrid, Spain


  • PHOTO: Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, successor to St. Josemaria, founder of Opus Dei, was beatified in Madrid, Spain on September 27th. Mater Dei had 4 sold out pilgrimages for the occasion.  Mater Dei Pilgrims led by Fr. Javier del Castillo and Fr. Peter Armenio, pose before the amazing Altar complex created for the occasion.

Mater Dei Pilgirms at Vatican City


  • PHOTO: Mater Dei's November pilgrimage to Italy with Monsignor James Gunn, included a top notch pilgrimage of Rome and the Vatican (group pictured here on the Janiculum a.k.a Gianicolo Hill, with views of St. Peter's Basilica).  Also included was a visit to Loreto, Italy (on the Adriatic Sea side), where the structural part of the Nazareth home of the Blessed Virgin Mary is located.  The group also enjoyed Assisi and visits to Manoppello and  Lanciano, home of the oldest Eucharistic Miracle in the Church's history! 

Mater Dei celebrates Mass inside the empty Holy Tomb of Jesus


  • PHOTO: Fr. Robert Butz from the Diocese of Madison, celebrates Holy Mass at the site of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, inside The Holy Sepulcher.  The Holy Sepulcher and the site the Crucifixion (Calvary) are located inside the Basilica of The Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.  Mater Dei is grateful to God for always having the privilege to celebrate Mass either inside the Holy Sepulchre or in Calvary. (October 2013)

Mater Dei Pilgrims pray the Rosary at the Shores of the Sea of Galilee


  • PHOTO: Mater Dei Pilgrims pray the rosary at sunset by the serene shores of the Sea of Galilee, at the spot where Jesus was spotted by St. John while fishing with St. Peter and the other Apostles after the Resurrection.  In this place, Jesus asked 3 times: "Peter do you love ME?"  Reiterating Peter's Primacy, which is the name of this area. (October 2013)

Mater Dei Pilgrims pose at the Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto


  • PHOTO: Mater Dei's August 2013 pilgrimage to Italy with the amazing Fr. Sam Martin, included a wonderful visit to Loreto, Italy, where the structural part of the Nazareth home of the Blessed Virgin Mary is located.  The Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto, patroness of air travelers, airline workers and the air forces from most Christian Countries, is located by the eastern coast of Italy by the beautiful Adriatic Sea.  The group enjoyed walks by the beach in Adriatic Sea in addition to visits to Manoppello, Lanciano, Siena and a 3 night stay in Assisi! As with all of Mater Pilgrimages to Italy, a top notch pilgrimage of Rome and the Vatican was also included.

Mater Dei at Mass at the High Altar of the Cathedral of Puebla


  • PHOTO: Fr. Dan Schuster (left), Vocations Director of the Diocese of Green Bay, WI, concelebrating the Mass with Fr. Dennis Evenson (right), from the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis, at the Altar Mayor (Altar of the Cathedra) at the Cathedral of Puebla, Mexico. Mater Dei and Twin Cities Pilgrims (its Minnesota Affiliate) completed a beautiful pilgrimage to see Our Lady of Guadalupe's true face in the Ayate of St. Juan Diego.  The group visited several locations in Puebla, Cholula, Tlaxcala, La Villita, Teotihuacan and Mexico City.  The pilgrims prayed for all of our past pilgrims' intentions at our daily Masses.

Mater Dei is proud to be part of the fantastic Rome Experience program for Seminarians


  • PHOTO: Seminarians from the USA pose with staff of the Rome Experience 2013 in front of the world famous "retablo" (reredos), at the Marian Shrine of Torreciudad in the Aragonian Pyrenees of Spain.  These seminarians come to Europe during part of the Spring and Summer to attend a retreat in Ars, France and classes at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (Santa Croce) in Rome.  This year, before starting their retreat in Ars, the group visited the Marian Shrines of Montserrat, Torreciudad and Lourdes (these Shrines are featured in our Marian Route pilgrimage this October).. This is Mater Dei's 4th year assisting in the success of this noble project! Please pray for vocations!

 Mater Dei Pilgrims pose at the Shrine fo Divine Mercy near Krakow

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  • PHOTO: Relevant Journeys group (Relevant Radio) stands before the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki, Poland.  This spectacular pilgrimage included many sites in Warsaw, also included visits to Plock, (1st apparition of Jesus of the Divine Mercy), Glogowiec (Birthplace of St. Faustina), Swinice Warckie (Baptismal Parish), Czestochowa (home of Our Lady's famous Icon in Jasna Gora), Shrine of Divine Mercy and its convent (where St. Faustina died and was buried), Wadowice (birthplace of the soon-to-be Saint John Paul II), Auschwitz & Birkenau (former concentration camps - site of St. Maximilian Kolbe's Martyrdom), Zakopane Mountains (beloved trekking area of Karol Wojtyla), the Amazing Salt Mines of Wielczka and many sites in Krakow,  Poland.  The group also visited Lithuanian sites like: Vilnius (Our Lady of the Dawn, Tomb of St. Casimir, Original Divine Mercy painting), Siluva (site of a most peculiar Marian Apparition ~ Mary appears to a town taken over by protestantism, and everyone becomes Catholic), Siaulia (site of the famous and amazing Hill of Crosses once visited by John Paul II).  (April 2013)

Mater Dei celebrates Mass at the Carmelite Chapel on Tepeyac Hill


  • PHOTO: Fr. Jacinto Chapin, rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, WI, presides the Mass at the Carmelite Chapel on top of the Hill of Tepeyac in Mexico, in the grounds of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico.  Mater Dei pilgrims enjoy the privilege of celebrating the Mass in this chapel which is not available to the general public. Fr. Jacinto, along with Dennis Gaetano, director of our Minnesota affiliate, Twin Cities Pilgrims, lead a group of pilgrims through the most important sites in Puebla, Cholula, Tlaxcala, and Mexico City. (March 2013)  

Mater Dei Pilgrims pray the Rosary at sunset while sailing the Sea of Galilee


  • PHOTO: Relevant Radio pilgrims led by Fr. Rocky, praying the Rosary while sailing the Sea of Galilee at sunset (January 2013).

Mater Dei Pilgrims of Transfiguration Church pose after celebrating Mass at the Mosaic of the Transfiguration at St. Peter's Basilica  


  • PHOTO: Fr. William Baer of Transfiguration Church in Oakdale, MN, stands with pilgrims in front of the Altar of the Transfiguration at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.  The pilgrim group completed a pilgrimage in Italy this past November visiting sites like Naples, Sorrento, Pompeii, Pietrelcina, San Giovanni Rotondo, Lanciano and Rome. (November 2012)

More pictures coming soon...

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