11-Days: In the Footsteps of Ignatius of Loyola & Francis Xavier

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DAY 1: DEPART USA

We depart en route to Madrid, Spain, Complimentary meals and beverages are served in flight.

DAY 2: ARRIVE MADRID

We arrive in Madrid and are met by our representative of Catholic Travel Centre. We proceed to downtown Madrid via private motorcoach to our hotel where we check-in. Dinner is at the hotel. (D)

DAY 3: MADRID: VISIT OF THE CITY

Our sightseeing tour this morning will orient us to some of the major tourist sites in Madrid, including the Royal Palace and the Prado Museum, housing one of the world’s premier art collections. We will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant during our sightseeing. Later this afternoon at the completion of our tour our motorcoach will return us to our hotel. Those wishing to do so are free to browse at the Plaza Mayor or Plaza del Sol, a prime shopping area. Or perhaps you prefer to stroll in the famous park – Parco de Buen Retiro. (B, L)

DAY 4: MADRID / BURGOS / SAN SEBASTIAN

We depart Madrid north en route to Burgos. El Cid, probably Spain’s most famous national hero, was born just north of this charming city. He is buried in the Cathedral of Burgos, the third largest church of Spain and one of the country’s most striking for its beautiful Spanish gothic style. We stop here, then make our way to San Sebastian for dinner and the evening. (B, D)

DAY 5: SAN SEBASTIAN: EXCURSION TO LOYOLA & ARANZAZU

Today we make an excursion south to the area of Azpeitia. Here, in 1491 Iñigo Lopez de Loyola Oñaz was born in the Castle of Loyola. We know him better as Ignatius of Loyola. We visit his former house and the museum. We include a visit to Aranzazu, a popular shrine to Our Lady at the time of Ignatius and where we know Ignatius prayed for strength to overcome the temptations to which he had formerly yielded. Our lunch is in Loyola. We return to San Sebastian for the evening. Dinner is on our own. (B,L)

DAY 6: SAN SEBASTIAN / PAMPLONA / XAVIER / HUESCA

We board our motorcoach en route to Huesca. Our first stop is Pamplona, recalling this as the site where Ignatius received a wound that was to change his life. This event was the starting point for his conversion to

Christ. We continue in pilgrimage to Xavier Castle, (a castillo strategically positioned between Navarra and Aragon). We call to mind the life of St. Francis Xavier. Our overnight is in the town of Huesca. (B, D)

DAY 7: HUESCA / ZARAGOZA

We depart Huesca for Zaragoza. Zaragoza is a lively city and has a vast 17th-century basilica with eleven domes and dedicated to Spain’s patron saint, the Virgin of the Pillar. It also has the fortress Aljafería some parts of which date back to the 9th century, when it was a Moorish palace. We remain in Zaragoza for dinner and the evening. (B, D)

DAY 8: ZARAGOZA / BARCELONA

This morning we take some time to visit Zaragoza, then make our way to the great Catalonian city of Barcelona, once home to the Olympics and now one of Europe’s most attractive and popular cities. We proceed to our hotel for check-in, then enjoy dinner at a local seaside restaurant, overlooking the harbor. (B, D)

DAY 9: BARCELONA: EXCURSION TO MONTSERRAT & MANRESA

This morning we make our way to Montserrat, home to the dramatically set Benedictine monastery. This Marian shrine has attracted pilgrims for over 700 years, much as it did Ignatius in March of 1522. We pause here to visit the Black Madonna of Montserrat, before whom Ignatius put his sword and exchanged his fancy clothes for those of a beggar.

Then we board our motor coach and make our way to Manresa, a place of profound conversion for Ignatius. Here, in a cave on the banks of the Cardoner River, Ignatius received a vision that provided him with deep insights into the spiritual life and altered the course of his own life. From the initial insights he received here, Ignatius went on to pen the “Spiritual Exercises.” Ignatius remained in Manresa for about a year and a half. We enjoy an audiovisual presentation and tour of the museum at Manresa, then celebrate Eucharist in the nearby cave. We return to Barcelona for the evening. (B, D)

DAY 10: BARCELONA: VISIT OF THE CITY

We begin with Mass at the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, where Ignatius would often beg for alms. Then we continue by motor coach to view the major sites of Barcelona including Gaudi’s Basilica of the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family). We will have some time to shop and roam in the lovely gothic quarter of the city. We gather this evening at a local restaurant for a festive farewell dinner. (B)

DAY 11: RETURN USA

Transfer to airport for return flight to USA. (B)

NOTE: While no changes are anticipated, there might be occasions when certain alterations become necessary to this itinerary due to changes in airline schedules or for other reasons. All Masses are subject to final church schedules.