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EUROPE MARIAN PILGRIMAGE

FATIMA, LOURDES & ITALY
SEP 28 - OCT 12, 2023

 

Stand on the sites where miracles occurred with visits and moving experiences at the Marian Shrines of Europe. From the spring waters at the grotto of Lourdes to the place where a young girl in Fatima first saw the apparition of the Blessed Mother, join us on inspiring religious pilgrimages to discover the sacred sites where Mary appeared. Walk in the courageous steps of St. Bernadette at Lourdes in France. Wonder at childlike faith in Fátima , where three shepherd children stood in awe at the sight of the Virgin Mary. Fatima is one of only a handful of "Marian Apparitions" that the Church has given its approval to, but it took a while. According to The Fatima Center, it wasn't until 1930 that the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima declared the events of 1917 "worthy of belief." Along with that declaration was an approval to establish the "cult of Our Lady of Fatima". The Miracle of the Sun ushered in a new wave of devotion to Our Lady that remains to this day. 

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DAY 0 (Sep 28) 
DEPARTURE MANILA

Airport check-in at NAIA International Terminal for

departure to Lisbon via Dubai. Enjoy Emirates

Airlines in-flight amenities, meals & entertainment.

$3,445
  

(Per Person, DBL Occ.; Excluding Flights)

Day 1 (Sep 29)
ARRIVE LISBON - SANTAREM - FATIMA

Today we arrive in Lisbon and meet our Tour Director who will accompany us until the end of our tour in Paris. We transfer to the city center of Lisbon, Portugal’s capital, and celebrate Mass at the birthplace of St. Anthony of Padua. Following Mass, we will have a motor-coach panoramic city tour of of the city, visit the Tagus River and see the Tower of Belem and the Discoveries Monument, displaying statues of many Portuguese explorers. We also visit inside the Jeronimos Monastery, an impressive symbol of Portugal's power and wealth during the "Age of Discovery". After lunch, we depart Lisbon for Fatima. Enroute, we visit Santarem and the Church of St.Stephen, or “Church of the Holy Miracle” in Santarem, site of a 13th century Eucharistic miracle. We continue on to Fatima where in 1917, Mary appeared to the local children and the “miracle of the sun” occurred. We check-in to our hotel in Fatima and enjoy dinner. We will have the option to join this evening’s International Rosary at 9:30 PM at the Chapel of Apparitions attended by thousands of pilgrims world-wide, followed by the Candlelight Procession.

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Day 2 (Sep 30)
FATIMA/ALJUSTREL / VALINHOS / COVA DE IRIA

After an early breakfast, we walk to the Chapel of Apparitions to celebrate English mass at 08:30 AM with our priest, as the main celebrant. Following the Holy Mass, we will have a guided tour of the Shrine and the Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima, visit the tombs of the children, followed by a visit of the shrine’s museum, see the bullet that pierced through St. John Paull II and other items of historical significance. Spend free time to explore the sanctuary's grounds. After lunch, we continue on to Aljustrel to visit the House of Lucia and House of Francisco and Jacinta and also stop for a visit to the pasture in Valinhos where Our Lady once appeared to the children. Then we participate in the Stations of the Cross along the path that the shepherd children used to tend to their flock en-route to the Cova da Iria, where Our Lady appeared to them. We return to Fatima for dinner, we will join again this evening’s International Rosary at 9:30 PM at the Chapel of Apparitions followed by the Candlelight Procession. Return to our hotel in Fatima for the night.

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Day 3 (Oct 1)
FATIMA – SALAMANCA – ALBA DE TORMES - AVILA - MADRID

Breakfast at hotel. Via Coimbra drive to the Roman Town of Salamanca, one of Spain's foremost cultural centers, a great university city and a showcase of intricately sculpted Renaissance architecture in golden stone. Visit the beautiful Plaza Mayor, which is regarded as one of the most attractive squares in Spain, and visit inside the Cathedrals Vieja and Nueva. After breakfast, we drive to Alba de Tormes (about 1 hr) where St. Teresa of Avila died in 1582. We celebrate Mass inside the Church of the Annunciation, where St. Teresa's body is entombed under the main altar and relics of the saint are stored above the altar in a glass reliquary.

Following Mass, visit the small museum dedicated to St. Teresa of Ávila, which also holds her incorrupt heart and left arm. We then travel to Avila, the best-preserved walled city in the world and home to St. Teresa. It is here, with her spiritual director, St. John of the Cross, that St. Teresa reformed the Carmelite Order. We will enjoy a short walking tour of Avila, the ancient city inside its walls, including a visit to the Church of St. Teresa. We will visit these sites: Catedral de Ávila, whose artwork and architecture encompasses Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance styles; la Basilica de San Vicente, of which stands on the site of the martyrdom of St. Vincent; Monastery of the Incarnation, where St. Teresa became a nun and most interestingly, received advice from St. John of the Cross to reform the Carmelite order; el Convento de Santa Teresa, built upon the home of St. Teresa and contains the relics of hers and of St. John of the Cross & El Convento de San Jose, the first monastery created by St. Teresa. We depart Avila and drive to Madrid (about 1 hour & 15 mins), where we will have dinner and spend overnight.

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Day 4 (Oct 2)
MADRID – MANRESSA - MONTSERRAT - BARCELONA

After breakfast, we will enjoy an orientation tour of Spain’s capital that will include a visit and celebration of Mass in the Almudena Cathedral. Following Mass, we arrive at the Plaza Mayor, the main square in Madrid, and also stop at the Royal Palace. Both sites are iconic to Madrid as the Palace holds state ceremonies and events; and the Plaza Mayor is the geographic center of Madrid, as well as the social center. We will also visit Retiro Park and a motor coach panoramic city tour of Madrid with short stops at major sites for photo opportunities. Later in the afternoon, we bid farewell to Madrid and continue on to the town Manresa, a place of profound conversion for St. Ignatius of Loyola. 

At Manresa, we visit the cave on the banks of the Cardoner River where Ignatius received a vision that provided him with insights into the spiritual life and altered the course of his own life. From the initial insights he received here, Ignatius went on to compose the Spiritual Exercises. Ignatius remained in Manresa for about a year and a half before continuing his journey. We then follow Ignatius’ path to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montserrat (located on a rugged mountainside), and take the funicular up the Basilica. The Sanctuary is the spiritual heart of Catalonia and home to a dramatically set Benedictine monastery. For 700 years, this Marian shrine has attracted thousands of pilgrims from around the world. We will celebrate Mass here and visit the Black Madonna of Montserrat, probably Spain’s most fervent devotion to the Blessed Mother. According to Catholic tradition, St. Luke carved the statue of the Black Madonna around 50 A.D. and brought it to Spain. While in Spain, it was hidden from the Moors and then, was later rediscovered by shepherds. In 880 A.D., the shepherds and the Bishop of Manresa were drawn to a grotto by a bright light and heavenly music. Upon discovery of the statue of the Black Madonna in the grotto, the Bishop of Manresa suggested that it be moved to Manresa. However, the statue was too heavy that it could not be lifted. As a result, the Virgin remained on Montserrat and continued to be venerated there for centuries. Watch a video about Our Lady of Montserrat and spend time for prayers and devotion. Depending on our time of arrival, can listen to the singing of the celebrated “Escalonia” by the children’s choir, considered to be the oldest in Europe. Proceed to Barcelona for Dinner and a restful night in our hotel.

Day 5 (Oct 3) BARCELONA 

After breakfast, we will have mass at Sagrada Familia at the Crypt and then have a guided tour inside the beautiful Basilica. It is the most iconic symbol of Barcelona and the most visited landmark in the whole of Spain. The construction of the structure began in 1882. It was designed initially in a Neo-Gothic style. A year later it was commissioned to a genius Spanish Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí, who redesigned it entirely. Today, more than 140 years after the laying of the cornerstone, the construction continues on the Basilica. We proceed with a sightseeing tour of the city, including the stunning panoramic views of the Port of Barcelona, Montjuic Hill, Plaza de España, and Plaza de Catalunya. Plaza de España is right outside the center of town and was formerly known for its old bull-fighting ring. Plaza de Catalunya is located in central Barcelona, and is known for its fountains and statues. We continue our panoramic city tour to the city center’s Plaza de Cataluña and Paseo de Gracia to admire Gaudi’s eccentric Casa Batllõ and Milà. For those who can walk will continue with a guided walking tour through the Gothic Quarter that contains remains from an ancient Roman village, including the Cathedral of Barcelona, then to the tree lined famous Las Ramblas, visiting the Mercat de la Boqueria, a municipal market located in Barcelona. Tonight, we enjoy dinner at a restaurant with Flamenco Dinner and show. Return to our hotel for a restful night.

Day 6 (Oct 4)
BARCELONA – ANDORRA – LOURDES

Breakfast at hotel. Long Distance Drive to Lourdes passing by Andorra (480 km). Dinner and overnight in Lourdes. Depending on how tired you are or not, you will have the opportunity to attend the Blessed Sacrament Procession and the Candlelight Procession at 9PM. Dinner and a restful night at our hotel in Lourdes.

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Day 7 (Oct 4)
LOURDES

Today, you will wake up in a small town that is nestled within the Pyrenees Mountains. Famous for its healing waters and miracles, Lourdes is a remarkable place to visit. Pilgrims come here to be cured. After breakfast, our group will have Mass at the Grotto, concelebrated with other priests. After Mass, our group will have a private guided history tour to see Boly Mill, the birthplace of St. Bernadette, and the "Cachot," an abandoned prison where Bernadette's impoverished family lived. Not only will you learn some of the religious history, but you will also see both the Basilica of Saint Pius and the newer Basilica of the Domain. And there are more stories as you visit the Grotto where Bernadette Soubirous experienced 18 apparitions, as well as the fountain and the Healing Baths. 

After lunch, we will queue for the healing baths. The rest of the afternoon is your free time. During your time in Lourdes, you will have the opportunity to pray and meditate in yet another site of Our Lady's apparitions. Our Lady first appeared to a young Bernadette Soubirous in 1858, and announced herself as "The Immaculate Conception", near the Grotto of Massabielle. During the first two apparitions, little Bernadette prayed the Rosary with Our Lady and left without any exchange of words. During the following apparitions, Our Lady emphasized God's love for us, penance and the necessity of performing acts of penance for sinners. You can optionally watch a video presentation at the Pilgrim's Center at your own time, that explains, in detail, the story of Lourdes; Don't forget to drink water from the miraculous spring that has healed many (bring empty bottles to fill up with the healing waters to bring home). Tonight, following dinner, you will have an opportunity again to attend the candlelight procession and the Rosary at 9PM before a restful overnight.

Day 8 (Oct 5)
LOURDES – TOULOUSE – NICE

Breakfast at hotel. Drive along the Pyrenees and onto the lovely province via Toulouse. Visit the Basilica of Saint-Sernin, the largest Romanesque church in France, this monumental gem listed as World Heritage by UNESCO has welcomed pilgrims for centuries along the Way of St James. One of the symbols of Toulouse, this imposing Romanesque basilica was constructed in honor of St. Sernin (Saturninus in Latin), the first bishop of Toulouse who was martyred. Majestic and luminous, it was built between the XI and XIV. You can also access the crypts in which it is possible to admire, most notably, the enamel reliquary of the True Cross in the form of a sarcophagus. Continue our drive along the picturesque French Riviera viewing resort, Villa Yatch Harbors. Dinner and overnight in Nice.

Day 9 (Oct 6)
NICE – PISA – FLORENCE

Breakfast at hotel. Drive along the coast and enter the Italian Riviera. Proceed to nearby Pisa to view the famous Leaning Tower Continue to Florence. Upon our arrival, we enjoy a guided tour of Florence's main sights, including inside of the Cathedral with its magnificent Dome by Brunelleschi, Giotto's elegant belfry and the Baptistery with Ghiberti's Gate to Paradise. We also visit the inside of the Basilica di Santa Croce, where we will see the tombs of several famous people, including Michelangelo, Galileo & Machiavelli. And enjoy a guided walking tour of the main highlights of city. Dinner and overnight in Florence.

Day 10 (Oct 7) FLORENCE - ASSISI 

Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Assisi, hometown of St Francis. Today is a very special day, as we will spend a full day touring the home of Saint Francis. Known for being a humble man, Saint Francis spent most of his life denying the luxuries of life, and preferring to live in simplicity and humility. We will be exploring and learning about St. Francis and his life. Our guided tour will start from church of Santa Chiara to see the Cross from which Jesus spoke to St Francis, asking him to rebuild His church. You may kneel before the crucifix and pray his prayer. Also visit the tomb of St. Francis. Explore the quaint hilltop birthplace of St Francis that still retains something of the atmosphere of the early 1200s, the period when St Francis began his ministry. Contained within the huge 13th-century Basilica is many of the saint's possessions and a series of frescoes depicting his life. We will also learn more about St. Claire the founder of Poor Claire’s and see her relics/incorrupt body in St. Claire’s Basilica. The foundress of the Order of Poor Claire’s followed the teachings of St. Francis by living a life of poverty and humility. We will go down to the Chapel, "Porziuncola" one of three restored churches by young Francis that nowadays is embraced by Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. It was in St. Mary of the Angels Basilica where St Francis spent most of his life. We will visit the rose bush, and the cave where the saint retired for prayer. Free afternoon in Assisi.

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Today we enjoy a full day in the medieval town of Assisi. We begin our day with a visit to the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, built to enclose the tiny Church of the “Porziuncola”, Saint Francis' place of prayer where he spent most of his life and where he consecrated Clare as the Bride of Christ. We will visit the rose bush, and the cave where the saint retired for prayer. We will next visit the Lower Basilica of St. Francis, where we celebrate Mass, followed by a visit to the Basilica of Saint Clare, Francis’ friend and foundress of the Poor Clare nuns, and see the Cross from which Jesus spoke to St. Francis, asking him to rebuild His Church. Spend some time in prayer here and visit the tomb of St. Claire. We then visit the Santuario Della Spogliazione where Blessed Carlo Acutis’ tomb is placed. Carlo is the first millennial to be declared Blessed who loved the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

 

Following some free time for lunch in Assisi's historic center, we go to San Damiano to pray in the place where Francis wrote the "Canticle of the Sun". Dinner and overnight in Assisi

Day 11 (Oct 8)  ASSISSI - LANCIANO - SAN GIOVANNI ROTUNDO-PADRE PIO

After Breakfast we drive to Lanciano and visit San Legonziano Church, site of the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano. According to tradition, a monk who had doubts about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist found, when he said the words of consecration at Mass, that the bread and wine changed into flesh and blood. The Catholic church has officially claimed the miracle as authentic. Lanciano, is one of the greatest Eucharistic Miracles in the world. Pray in the church before the relic which is exposed above the altar, then we depart for to the town of Padre Pio, San Giovanni Rotundo. Visit the Shrine of Padre Pio. It centers on the tomb of Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, a Capuchin friar, priest and mystic known for his devotion to God, care for the sick and supernatural gifts. Visit the Our Lady of Grace Church. Saint Padre Pio pray daiily to Our Lady, Saint of Grace. Overnight in San Giovanni.

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Day 12 (Oct 9)
SAN GIOVANNI ROTUNDO - ROME

Depart San Giovanni and drive to Monte Sant' Angelo; Visit the Sanctuary of Monte Sant’Angelo, it is the oldest shrine in Western Europe dedicated to the Archangel Michael and has been an important pilgrimage site since the early Middle Ages. Celebrate Mass here. Then drive to Rome and spend 2 nights in our hotel.

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Day 13 (Oct 10)
ROME 

Depart San Giovanni and drive to Monte Sant' Angelo; Visit the Sanctuary of Monte Sant’Angelo, it is the oldest shrine in Western Europe dedicated to the Archangel Michael and has been an important pilgrimage site since the early Middle Ages. Celebrate Mass here. Then drive to Rome and spend 2 nights in our hotel.

and further exploration of this wonderful basilica. In the afternoon we visit the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, the Pope’s cathedral church where relics of both Peter and Paul remain under the main altar. Here we will see its impressive statues of each of the Apostles. From here we cross the street to visit the church of the Scala Santa. Here we see the Holy Staircase of 28 marble steps (now covered in wood) which is believed to be a staircase from Pilate’s palace in Jerusalem and brought to Rome by Saint Helen in the 4th century. Finally, we visit Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (Church of the Holy Cross), which houses pieces of the True Cross. Then we  to Capitoline Hill, where we will enjoy a view of the ancient Roman Forum and see Constantine's Arch, the Arch of Titus, the Circus Maximus and ancient Roman Aqueducts. We stop for some free time outside the famous Colosseum and an opportunity for some picture-taking. Return to our hotel for dinner and a restful night.

Day 14 (Oct 11)
ROME

This morning we will deaprt early and go to the Vatican for an Audience with the Holy Father. Following our time with Pope Francis, we enjoy free time for lunch. Following free time for lunch near St. Peter's Square, we will visit one of the great art collections in the world, the Vatican Museums. Our tour culminates with Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel, which was recently restored to its original splendor. Following the Vatican Museum visit, we enjoy a guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica, where we see a young Michelangelo's wonderful Pieta followed by a visit to the Tombs of the Popes in the Vatican Grottos, a visit to the Altar of Saint John Paul II, etc.  Late afternoon we depart for Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. We will have a special Farewell Dinner and spend our last night in Rome.

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Day 15 (Oct 12)
HOMEBOUND

Breakfast at the hotel. We will transfer to FCO airport for our flights home.

INCLUDED FOR TOUR PACKAGE

NOT INCLUDED:

  • Roundtrip Airfare - Economy Class via Emirates 

  • All Taxes Included (Airline/Tvl Tax/Terminal Fees) 

  • Hotel Accommodations based on 3–4-star hotels 

  • Hotel Breakfast & Dinner in a local restaurant 

  • Sightseeing tours as per itinerary

  • Service of a Licensed English-Speaking Tour Guide 
    during sightseeing tour

  • Entrance fees to most sights

  • Private Long-Distance Tourist Bus/Coach 

  • Tips to guides & drivers

  • Lunch & Beverages during meals

  • City Taxes - payable only direct to the hotel

  • Tips to porters & restaurants

  • Schengen Visa Fee & Processing Fee

  • Logistic Fees & SMS service – payable directly only 
    at the visa lodging center/Embassy.

  • Schengen Compliant Travel Insurance including 
    Covid 19 Illness (Mandatory Visa Requirement)

  • All other personal expenses in hotels such as telephone, minibar, laundry etc.

OPTIONAL: We offer Travel Insurance Policies providing you coverage for

both pre-existing conditions and those that may arise during your trip,

including medical and dental emergencies, loss of luggage, trip delay, and

so much more. Please call Xenia for details.

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