Summer Trip to Italy Will Mix Art, History, Culture & Faith

Gioia Cumicek, Staff Writer, Journalism I

“My husband likes to say I have a ‘travel bug.’ I just love to see the world, meet new people, experience new cultures, foods and languages, and carry with me the connection of my faith,” said NDA religion teacher Katie Stanczak.

This summer Mrs. Stanczak, art teacher Barb Brandtner, math teacher Denice Rykal, and 20 students will take a nine-day trip to Italy. They will be discovering a mixture of art, history, culture and faith while visiting the cities of Florence, Pisa, Assisi, Pompeii, Vatican City and Rome.

The students will have the opportunity to be a part of the Papal Audience in Vatican Square with Pope Francis, attend the Scavi/ Necropolis Tour where they pray in the Chapel of St. Peter under the altar at St. Peter’s Basilica, see the tombs of the Popes and take an Italian-cooking class in Florence.

The goal of the trip is to give the students the opportunity to expand their knowledge of faith throughout each activity.

“Basically, I hope to provide an opportunity for them to grow in appreciation and knowledge of their faith through art, history, culture and, of course, religious experiences,” said Stanczak.

“My journey to the Holy Land stands out as one of my absolute life-changing experiences. It is through my travels that I have gained a deeper appreciation for my Catholic faith and the power of interacting with communities and cultures from around the world.” 

The trip is an opportunity for the students to not only grow in their personal faith but also to grow in their faith as a community. The trip coordinators hope they will be able to discover the faith and cultures of the new cities they will be attending.

Organizing the trip took approximately 18 months. The cost of every NDA trip is different, but for this trip the cost is approximately $4500.

“My mother was an English Teacher and was the first to teach me about the famous author, Hans Christian Andersen,” said Stanczak. “In his autobiography The Fairytale of My Life he states, ‘To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, To gain all while you give, To roam the roads of lands remote, To travel is to live.’”