Tour Inclusions: 2 nights’ accommodation; 2 breakfasts; 2 dinners; admissions, entrance, and guide fees as stated in the itinerary, including taxes, and gratuity. Except gratuity for guide fees is not included on adult tours unless otherwise requested.Highlights:
- Basilica of the National Shrine of Immaculate Conception
- Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land
- Saint John Paul II National Shrine
- Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle
- Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church
- Washington National Cathedral
- St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral
- Illuminated Monument Driving Tour
- Washington DC Temple
- Museum of the Bible
Sample Itinerary: Day 1 - Church and Shrine Visiting
- Visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of Immaculate Conception where you'll see the largest Roman Catholic Church in the United States and in North America and one of the ten largest churches in the world. Its Greek-styled interior is crowned with numerous domes decorated in mosaics, similar to the Basilica of St. Mark in Venice, Italy, but much larger. The mosaics feature American renditions of traditional Catholic images. The shrine was built in the style of medieval churches, relying on masonry walls and columns in place of structural steel and reinforced concrete. It was designed to hold 10,000 worshipers.
- Explore the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land. With over 40 acres of roses, azaleas, tulips and more, the Franciscan Monastery is a continuous flower festival. Franciscan father Godfrey Schilling founded the monastery in 1897 to educate Franciscan missionaries to the Holy Land. The Monastery’s main attraction is the eerie catacombs that echo the environment in which the early Christians hid. The Memorial Church was designed by the architect Aristide Leonori. The church's design alludes to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Its floor plan loosely resembles the fivefold Jerusalem cross. It was also built in the neo-Byzantine style, resembling Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. Attached to the Church is the neo-Romanesque Monastery. The Monastery grounds contain replicas of shrines in the Holy Land, a Lourdes grotto, and a replica of the Porziuncola.
- Visit Saint John Paul II National Shrine. Designated as a national shrine on March 14, 2014, this is a place of pilgrimage, displaying two ‘first class’ relics of Saint John from the Romans. The Knights of Columbus purchased the Blessed John Paul II National Shrine from the Catholic Church in August 2011 with a vision “to establish a permanent museum on the life and papacy of John Paul II, and to give lasting expression of his desire to foster unity and solidarity among all the people of our hemisphere."
- Enjoy dinner included this evening. Check-in to area hotel. (Meals: D)
- Enjoy breakfast at your hotel.
- Visit the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, dedicated to the Apostle Matthew, who among other things is patron saint of civil servants, having himself been a tax collector. It was established in 1840 by pastor Father William Matthews and parochial vicar Father John Philip Donelan. On November 25, 1963, the funeral of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy was celebrated in the Cathedral and is memorialized by a marble plaque imposed in the floor immediately before the gates of the sanctuary commemorating the place where his casket was placed for the funeral Mass and rites. The structure is Romanesque Revival style with Byzantine elements.
- Tour the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church where Frederick Douglass, Alethia Turner, and Bishop Daniel Turner were parishioners. The congregation was founded in 1838 as Union Bethel (Metropolitan) A. M. E. Church. According to the church, it is the oldest continuously black-owned property in the original 10-mile-square parcel of the District. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
- Explore the Washington National Cathedral. In a city of impressive monuments, memorials, and historic sites, the National Cathedral is unique. Standing higher than the Washington Monument, it is the sixth largest church in the world. This 14-century style Gothic wonder is situated on 57 acres and took 83 years to build. Helen Kellen and Woodrow Wilson, the only president buried within Washington, D.C., are interred here.
- Afterwards, tour the St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral – The National War Memorial Shrine, Getaway to Orthodoxy in the Nation’s Capital. The cathedral architecture is based on the 12th century St. Demetrius Cathedral of Vladimir, Russia. Beginning in 1991, dedicated iconographers from Moscow led by Alexander Maskalionov painted icons throughout the nave in the traditional style. This work was completed in 1994.
- Enjoy dinner included at a local waterfront favorite restaurant. Continue with an Illuminated Monument Driving Tour. Washington’s grand buildings, memorials, and monuments sparkle and are impressive during the day; but in the evenings they are illuminated and soft, focusing on the solid stones and bronzes; fountains and water features shimmer in reflection; shadows darken, highlighting the floodlit detail. Impressive during the day – stunning at night!
- Walk through The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to see amazing views from the terrace and the famous bronze bust of John F. Kennedy in the grand foyer. Two months after President Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963, Congress designated the National Cultural Center as a “living memorial” to Kennedy, and authorized $23 million to help build what is now known as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
- Drive by the Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima Statue), the Air Force Memorial, The Washington Monument, the National World War II Memorial Return to the hotel for the remainder of the evening. (Meal: B, D)
- Enjoy breakfast at your hotel this morning before checking out and departing for the Washington DC Temple, the 18th constructed and 16th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Opened nearly half a century ago, the temple saw 758,328 visitors during its first open house, from September to October of 1974. Whenever the church opens a new temple, it gives tours to the public before the building is consecrated. After it’s renovations, the church will be re-dedicated in June 2022 and therefore will allow public visits in the Spring of 2022. Covered in 173,000 square feet of Alabama white marble and visible to thousands of passersby on the Beltway each day, the castle-like building has been closed off to anyone except for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — like all Mormon temples — since its first dedication and open house in 1974. For 43 years, the temple has hosted a drive-through festival of lights each Christmas on the grounds, but not allowed the general public inside. Now, after much anticipation and intrigue, the temple will host an open house for the general public from April 28 to June 4, 2022, with a rededication ceremony June 19, 2022.
- Visit the NEW Museum of the Bible – Spend the afternoon discovering one of the World’s largest private collections of biblical objects and artifacts in the Museum of the Bible, which conveys the global impact and compelling history of the Bible in a unique and powerful way.
- Enjoy lunch on own while exploring the museum. Depart for home. (Meals: B)
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