A pilgrimage to celebrate and support families,
with the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Held every three years, the World Meeting of Families brings together families from across the globe to celebrate, pray, and reflect upon the central role of the family in our lives today. Dublin is the next host city!
Dates of this pilgrimage are:
Saturday, August 18 - Monday, August 27, 2018 - 10 Days/9 Nights
What you will experience
- Highlights of Ireland’s Pilgrimage Sites (August 19-21) - Visit Ireland’s most sacred places in the days leading up to the World Meeting of Families. Pray at Croagh Patrick, the Knock Shrine, and Kylemore Abbey.
- Three-Day Congress (August 22-24) - Enjoy a dynamic program of workshops, talks, and other activities, designed for all ages. Includes tracks for adults, youth (13+), and children (4-12).
- Festival of Families (August 25) - Experience a one-of-a-kind rally and concert with performances from world-renowned musical artists and from families representing each continent.
- Closing Liturgy (August 26) - Pray with thousands of pilgrims from all over the world. It's anticipated that Pope Francis will preside!
Day 1: Meet the group at noon at Chicago O'Hare airport. Overnight flight to Dublin, Ireland.
Day 2: Arrive in the early morning in Dublin. Visit to Strokestown House and Famine Museum. Pray at Knock Shrine and tour museum. Dinner and overnight in Westport.
- Strokestown House and Famine Museum - Strokestown Park is a magnificent, fully-furnished Georgian mansion and was seat of the Pakenham Mahon family from 1660 to 1979. The house provides a fascinating glimpse into the Anglo-Irish ascendancy and retains many of its original furnishings. Visitors can also visit the National Irish Famine Museum at Strokestown Park. It is regarded as the best, private archive on the Great Irish Famine and explains the history of that tragic era in Ireland’s past.
- Knock Shrine and Museum - The Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of Knock is one of the world’s most-visited Marian shrines. On August 21, 1879, the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, St. John the Evangelist, a lamb, and cross on an altar appeared to 15 people from the village of Knock in County Mayo. Pilgrims can pray at the Basilica and visit the museum.
Day 3: Visit to Croagh Patrick and Kylemore Abbey. Journey through the Connemara Region. Overnight in Westport.
- Croagh Patrick - Croagh Patrick is considered the holiest mountain in Ireland. It was on the summit of the mountain that Saint Patrick fasted for forty days in 441 AD. The Croagh Patrick Visitor Center, Teach na Miasa, is situated in Murrisk on the Pilgrim’s path at the base of Croagh Patrick mountain. Time permitting, an optional hike up the mountain may be included.
- Kylemore Abbey - Kylemore Abbey is stunningly located in the Kylemore Pass in Connemara. First built by Mitchell Henry in 1868 as a family home, today the Abbey is home to the Irish order of Benedictine nuns. One of Kylemore Abbey’s most famous features is its miniature cathedral, built in 1870 and known locally as the Gothic church. Facilities at Kylemore include a visitor center, a small museum, and a video which takes the visitor through the history of the house and its occupants. Time permitting, an optional hike may be included.
- Connemara Region - Connemara is a land of lakes, rivers, bogs, and mountains. The region is full of small villages where Gaelic is still the spoken language and where it seems that little has changed over the centuries. Connemara is a vast peninsula bordered by the arid and rocky coastline of Galway Bay in the south - a land characteristic for its stone walls and thatched cottages. The northern shore has spectacular views of the ocean and the beautiful Killary Harbour, as well as the steep mountains.
Day 4: Visit Clonmacnoise en-route to Dublin. Dublin City Tour and overnight in Dublin.
- Clonmacnoise - Clonmacnoise is a wonderful early Christian site founded by St. Ciarán in the 6th-century on the eastern bank of the River Shannon. In a stunning setting, the site includes the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches (10th -13th century), two round towers, three high crosses, and the largest collection of early Christian graveslabs in Western Europe. The original high crosses and a selection of graveslabs are on display in the visitor center. Guided tours are provided and the long and varied history of Clonmacnoise is recounted in an audiovisual presentation. Finally, there are exhibitions highlighting the flora, fauna, and landscape of the region.
- Dublin City Tour - On the Dublin City Tour, pilgrims will discover the north and south side of the River Liffey. This area offers striking monuments such as the General Post Office (GPO) on the city’s main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street, as well as the Custom House along the quays and Phoenix Park, the largest public park in Europe. The south side appears more sophisticated with its vast, Georgian squares, such as Merrion Square with its colourful doors. Pilgrims can also stroll and window-shop along Grafton Street. Not far from St. Stephen’s Green, on Kildare Street, pilgrims can see the house of Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula. In this part of the city, pilgrims will find Trinity College, where the famous Book of Kells is permanently exhibited in its library.
Days 5-7: World Meeting of Families Congress. Overnight in Dublin.
- Adult Program - Enjoy a dynamic program of workshops, talks, panels, and other activities, all exploring the theme of "The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World."
- Children's Program (ages 4-12) - Concurrent with the Adult/Youth tracks, the Children's Program will include music, arts and crafts, dance, games, and lots of fun! Parents can either stay with their children or leave them (with licensed, authorized, and vetted adults).
- Youth Program (ages 13+) - Concurrent with the Adult/Children's tracks, the Youth Program will feature music, prayer experiences, workshops, speakers, and other exciting activities.
Day 8: Free time in morning and afternoon. Attend Festival of Families concert in the evening. Overnight in Dublin.
- Festival of Families - This once-of-a-kind rally will feature world-renowned musical artists and performances from families representing each continent of the world.
Day 9: Attend the Closing Mass. It is anticipated that Pope Francis will preside, but his schedule will not be confirmed until approximately 3 months ahead of the event. Group farewell dinner and overnight in Dublin.
Day 10: Return flight from Dublin to Chicago. Approximate arrival at O'Hare is 6:20 p.m.
Please note that this is a tentative itinerary and is subject to change.
If you would rather meet the group in Ireland, you can elect to do the "land-only" package. This gives you the flexibility to travel on your own schedule. Simply elect the "land-only" option with your registration.
Space is limited to 105 participants.
Pilgrimage package includes:
- Pilgrimage preparation and follow-up materials
- A dedicated pilgrimage guide and a local guide for Days 2-4
- Daily Mass, prayer, and reflection time
- All entrance fees, activities, and tours
- Strokestown House & Museum
- Knock Shrine & Museum
- Croagh Patrick
- Kylemore Abbey
- World Meeting of Families registration fee, which includes:
- 3-day congress ticket (for all ages and for any of the three tracks - Adult/Youth/Children)
- Festival of Families ticket
- Closing Liturgy ticket
- Round-trip airfare from Chicago O'Hare to Dublin, Ireland (unless you opt for the "land-only" option)
- Private, coach bus while in Ireland
- Accommodations (8 nights) in 4-star hotel properties with double-occupancy rooms, including taxes (with option to upgrade to single-occupancy)
- 2 nights in Westport
- 6 nights in Dublin
- Bellman and chambermaid gratuities
- Luggage handling (1 piece per person) in/out of hotels
- Breakfast daily (8 total) at hotel, 3 lunches, and 2 dinners
Pilgrimage does not include:
- Passport, visa, or luggage fees
- Any personal purchases
- Meals while traveling, as well as 5 lunches, 6 dinners, and drinks at meals
- Recommended travel insurance (optional add-on)
- Gratuities for guide(s) and driver(s)
- Anything else not explicitly stated as included
Registration is now open!
Cost of this pilgrimage is $3,848 per person.
Act now and save $100! Early-bird rate only $3,748 but ends after January 25, 2018.
- Land-only package (no flight) is $3,018 per person. If you'd like the land-only package, please check the appropriate box on the registration page.
- Single-occupancy supplement (limited availability): $1,147
- Child aged 12-18 (with at least one parent/guardian): $3,748 (save $100)
- Child under 12 (with at least one parent/guardian and sharing a room with 2 adults): $3,468 (save $400)
This trip is being organized by the Archdiocese of Chicago and Verso Ministries, but the pilgrimage is also open to any individuals or families not living in the Chicagoland area.
How do I register?
- Register online now!
- For your convenience, registration can be made online and the $300 deposit can be made with a credit card or debit card.
- Deposit - $300 due upon registration
- Second payment - Due by February 15, 2018 - $1,500 per person
- Final balance - Due by April 6, 2018
- Invoices will be emailed in January and March for the final two payments. The final two payments (not the deposit) may be paid by electronic bank transfer, check, or money order.
- Late payments (after April 6) may be subject to a $150 late fee.
Please note: Payment plans can be arranged if needed. Please contact us if you would like to pay in several installments.
How do I pay?
- During registration, the $300 deposit can be paid online with a credit card or debit card.
- The second payment and the final balance may be paid check, money order, or electronic bank transfer for no fee. If you wish to pay the remaining balance by credit card, a 3.5% payment processing fee will be added to the final balance. Checks and money orders can be made payable to "Verso Ministries LLC".
- Payments can be mailed to:
- Verso Ministries LLC
- P.O. Box 986
- Notre Dame, IN 46556
- Payments can be mailed to:
Registration is open until filled. If space is still available, registrations may be made at any time.
Late registrations made after April 6, 2018, must be paid in full and include the $150 late fee. Registrations made after this date also may be subject to an alternate pilgrimage cost depending on flight availability. Please contact us directly if you have any questions.
What is your cancellation policy?
The $300 pilgrimage deposit is non-refundable. Cancellations are possible at any time, but refunds are subject to cancellation fees at the rates listed here.
- Cancellation after deposit and before February 1, 2018: $300 per person
- On or after February 15, 2018: $1,500 per person
- On or after April 6, 2018: Entire fee
Any cancellation charges incurred from other supplies or vendors (flight, lodging, ground transportation, etc.) may come in addition to the administrative fees listed above. Cancellation fees are for individual pilgrims.
*Please note: Airline taxes and fees may fluctuate until flights are ticketed (about 30 days prior to departure). Any excess fees levied by the airlines beyond the original total price at time of booking will be the responsibility of each pilgrim. Also, quoted prices are based on the current exchange rate of 1 Euro to 1.2 U.S. dollar. Final price may fluctuate based on final exchange rates when travel vendors finalize payments (typically between 30-90 days prior to departure). Rates also assume a minimum of 50 full-paying pilgrims.