WYD 2008 was truly perfect from the moment we arrived until the sad moment we left. Everything, including our contact person for Unitours, not only met my expectations but soared way past them. Our entire experience of putting ourselves in your capable hands was more than perfect. There is not one thing I would change. As we walked along the city streets of Sydney, the day after the Holy Father told us the next WYD would be in Madrid, we immediately spoke of you and agreed we would ask you to manage our group once again for WYD11.
This is the second time I have been on pilgrimage with Unitours and both times have been wonderful. I'm already looking forward to the third. I think it will be that much more important to get a jump on the upcoming WYD for availability as close to the sites as possible. Thank you again Rita....we couldn't have done it without you.... Karen
Everything went very smoothly. Our guides, in particular our tour manager Elena, were very good. The hotels were excellent and kudos on the locations in Assisi and Rome. I think the highlight for many people was the time we spent in Assisi: our evening strolls were as if we had the entire city to ourself. It was fantastic! .................. I also have to compliment Elena and Salvatori (our driver) for going out of their way in scheduling a last minute excursion to Pompei for a large number of our group who wanted to make a day trip there. She was able to rearrange our schedule to accommodate this. Overall, a very pleasant experience. Thanks to you and the rest of your company for your support and guidance. Everyone wants to know where we are going next...Fr Paul
My group had a great time. Your guide was superb.....Everyone was quite impressed with him..... and would love to have him on future trips. -Father PW
I also enjoy working with you folks at Unitours I made the mistake a few years ago and tried another company and it was a complete dissssssaster!!!!. They still owe me about $1600. I have never been disappointed with Unitours. Good service, great people on the ground in Europe and Israel . Unitours might cost a little more but you are the best in the business. Dan
I want to make sure you all know how much we enjoyed our trip to Italy...[your guides] were all wonderful [and] we all felt totally safe with Salvatori's driving. By the end of the tour we felt they were our good friends. We would and will highly recommend Unitours. Thank you!
I would like to thank you once again for another stellar pilgrimage with Unitours. All 50 pilgrims seemed to truly enjoy themselves and the service they received. .......I have enjoyed working with you on the previous six pilgrimages I have led, and I look forward to more in the future.
Dear Rita and Lew,
If I had to sum up the pilgrimage in just two words I would say, overwhelming amazing. From the first moment we arrived our tour guide was full of information to broaden our horizons in the biblical places and the historical content of the places…….He was warm and welcoming. His humor helped to make our trip very enjoyable.
Our hotel accommodations were wonderful both in Tiberias and Jerusalem …….the staff [was] friendly and helpful. I would definitely go back to Israel in a heart beat.
Lastly, as for the safety issue; I felt completely safe every where we went. Of the pilgrimages ….by far [this] was the most moving and transforming for me as a priest.
Fr. M G
Dear Rita and Lew –
Our recent Holy Land pilgrimage was such a fantastic experience on so many levels – spiritually, historically, culturally, archaeologically. I am still amazed at how much we were able to see and do in such a short amount of time. It will take me weeks to mentally process it all, and I am sure that the memories will be with me a lifetime. Our guide, Isaac, and driver, Issam, were wonderful, and Fathers Peter and Michael were superb spiritual leaders.
I must admit I was somewhat apprehensive about visiting Israel in these troubling times, but I never once felt the least bit threatened or uncomfortable about my safety. Israel is a beautiful and fascinating country, with lovely and kind people. The news reports on US television give a very distorted view of what things are like in the Holy Land. Anyone who is thinking about going should not hesitate for a moment because of their unwarranted fears.
Many thanks to you and Lew for making this opportunity available to our parish and for coordinating all those details that made for an exceptionally enriching experience.
- Mike Turner
A Land of Promise….A Land of Hope: Reflections on My Trip to Israel
Having been newly ordained and assigned to Ste. Marie Parish in Manchester, NH my pastor Fr. Marc Montminy was often taking people on pilgrimages to Israel. Thinking to myself, “I would not want to go there; those people always seem to be fighting with one another. Besides, the plane ride is much too long for me.”
Such was my mindset until November 2007 when the possibility of putting together a pilgrimage for my parish of All Saints in Charlestown, NH. Let me be honest, I was somewhat hesitant to go. Rita Goody will agree with that statement. So I simply yielded to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to trust God in all things. Off I went taking with me 24 of my parishioners.
Simply, I was blown away! The psalmist writes, “This is the work of the Lord and it is wonderful to be hold.” That sums up my first experience to Israel. The peace I felt being in the Holy Land was indescribable. Where ever we went I was touched by beauty of the land; being in the places where the Patriarchs, the Prophets and the Lord Jesus lived, proclaimed God’s message and died was both humbling and moving. I was for all intensive purposes overwhelmed.
Coming back to the States I had made up my mind that I was returning to the Holy Land. On this pilgrimage three different parish groups merged to form a group of 41 pilgrims. Each group did not know one another as we begin but by the time we left Israel we were a unity of persons of one heart and one mind. That is the grace of Holy Land at work.
How would I sum up my second trip to Israel? Mary sings, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.” That says it all. This time I was not so overwhelmed but really able to place myself into the experience of each place we went with greater heart and spirit. It was truly an amazing experience as was my first pilgrimage. But this time it was unique. Why? Several factors play a part in my perspective.
First, once again we were blessed with Rita and Lew Goody. I have known Rita and Lew since I was ordained in 1995. They were at Ste. Marie’s my first parish assignment. The care and devotion they offer to us is amazing. Every detail is taken care of and when a need arises they attend to it with dedication. They are valued friends of mine and without them my pilgrimages would not be the same.
Secondly, Isaac Karasenti was a fabulous tour guide. Impressive is the word I would use. Not only in his knowledge of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures and the places we went to but in his whole demeanor; smiling, happy, humorous, affable and deeply caring for those who had come to his home land. On the bus when we arrived the first thing Isaac did was to thank us for coming to Israel. His warmth and hospitality throughout trip was always evident. What also impressed me was at the airport he made sure that all of us were set to go through security and then he made the effort to say good-bye to each one of us. Many of my parishioners commented to me about that. When I come back to Israel I want Isaac for my tour guide.
Third, I know that security is a big concern for those in the Tel-Aviv office when we are in Israel. Especially in regard to Bethlehem but I must say never once did I feel uneasy or threatened at any time I was in Israel. Even at the wall between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Even the border guards were friendly and hospitable. The warmth by which Michael, who owns the Three Arches in Bethlehem, welcomed us with was touching. He paid for our lunch and then provided us with a wonderful dinner and dancing evening at his restaurant in Bethlehem.
Lastly, I was also touched at our farewell dinner when Prosper and Laura came to see us and brought gifts for Fr. Peter, myself and those who had come back to Israel again on this pilgrimage.
In closing, I want to reiterate how welcomed, well take care of and at home I was on my second pilgrimage to Israel. “This is the work of the Lord and it is wonderful to behold.”
HOLY LAND PRILGRIMAGE - Feb 9-18 – 2009
Firstly, I would like to thank Lew and Rita Goody for a wonderful and very well planned Pilgrimage. This pilgrimage was a spiritual adventure that words can not describe. It was adventurous, informative, exciting, historic, enlightening, and also fun. Not to mention making new friends in the faith.
It was spiritual since we saw many religious sites and had daily mass at a different historic church setting every day of the pilgrimage. Fr. Peter Boucher and Fr. Michael Gendron offered Mass daily which was especially appreciated. Both priests had wonderful homilies, prayers and songs at various sites. We were blessed to have them with us.
The pilgrimage was well planned since we saw many more sites than we expected. Each day moved along like clock work. It was informative and our Jewish tour guide was very informed, respectful and knowledgeable. Frankly, he knew the old and new testament of the bible better than most Catholics. It was exciting being in places that one only reads about and sees on TV. Scenes from the highest mountain tops to the lowest parts of the dead sea, it was historic seeing thousands of years of civilization revealed to us before our eyes, it was enlightening and spiritual walking in the same steps of Jesus and seeing where he suffered and died.
At no time during the pilgrimage did we feel threatened or in danger in any way.
Frankly Jan and I felt we would be more at risk walking the streets of New York or Miami Florida in our own state than we did in Israel. Finances permitting we hope to make the Pilgrimage again in the future.
The hotels provided for the tour were very nice and friendly. Frankly we found the total experience much more exciting than we anticipated or believed possible. The food and service was just great!
Jan and I had sufficient time to shop and buy gifts. The prices for items were very reasonable. We shopped in Christian, Jewish and Muslim areas and were welcome in all places.
Jan and I were pleasantly surprised with local entertainment and upon two occasions along the way were provided with dancers and fine food which was a treat, extras that were not part of the original trip package.
You can count on Rita and Lew Goody to provide a very exciting and worth while and safe pilgrimage
Thank You Rita and Lew Goody we hope to be with you again in the future on another Pilgrimage…. God Willing!
3010 Westchester Avenue, Purchase, NY 10577 USA (800) 777-7432 (USA) Fax (914) 253-9001