DAY 1: DEPART USA
We depart en route to Europe with complimentary meals and beverages served aloft. A dream materializes as our wide-bodied jet thunders off the airstrip, Europe-bound!
DAY 2: ARRIVE TOULOUSE / LOURDES
Upon arrival in Toulouse, we are met by our representative of Catholic Travel Centre and transfer to our hotel in Lourdes. (D)
DAY 3: LOURDES: VISIT OF THE SHRINE
We begin this morning with Mass. After Mass, we enjoy a walking tour of In the Footsteps of Bernadette. We visit the Cachot (former jail cell that once served as the Soubirous family’s home); the parish church; the Hospice and the Boly Mill. This afternoon at 4:30PM we are welcome to participate in the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed of the Sick. After dinner at the hotel, we return to the Sanctuary this evening for the Rosary and Torchlight Procession, beginning about 8:30PM. After the procession, we return to our hotel. (B, D)
DAY 4: LOURDES / SAN SEBASTIAN / SANTANDER
Early this morning we concelebrate Mass at the Grotto of Lourdes. After Mass, we depart Lourdes by motor coach. For lunch we will stop in the beautiful seaside city of San Sebastian on the Gulf of Vizcaya. We continue to Santander.
Santander is the the capital of Cantabria and a town that Royalty once patronized. It features the beautiful Magdalena Palace, the Paseo de Pereda promenade and the Romanesque and Gothic Cathedral. Another of the cities highlights is the splendid seaside suburb El Sardinero, with a long beach, gardens, elegant cafes and a casino. The city also has a charming Old Quarter known as Puerto Chico. We arrive in the town of Santander, where dinner awaits us at our hotel. (B, D)
DAY 5: SANTANDER/ SANTIAGO
After breakfast, we enjoy Mass at the Cathedral before our journey through northern Spain with its stunning scenery. We will board our motor coach for our ocean view drive to Santiago. We will arrive in time for dinner and a good night’s rest at our hotel. (B, D)
DAY 6: SANTIAGO: VISIT OF THE SHRINE
We will have a full day of sightseeing in the city of Spain’s patron Saint. The name “Compostela” from the Latin “field of the star,” was named after the tradition of St. James (Santiago), the Patron Saint of Spain. This city has been the third major site visited by Christian pilgrims and visitors (after Jerusalem and Rome) and is the present capital of Galicia.
We will delight in our walking tour of this medieval city on labyrinthine cobbled streets. Santiago remains virtually intact, since no man or natural upheavals have produced any damage to the city. It’s a true national monument with its buildings built with practically indestructible granite stone. We will visit the Plaza del Obradoiro and the great Cathedral that dominates the town. Its main entrance is two stories above the plaza. The statue of St. James smiles benignly down upon the faithful. The towers soar into the sky. The Portico de la Gloria, designed by Maestro Mateo and completed in 1188, is the finest example of Romanesque sculpture. We will celebrate Mass.
Inside the Cathedral are more pieces of priceless architecture, statues and religious treasures. Behind the silver and gold main altar are the sarcophagi of St. James and two of his disciples. A statue of St. James towers above and is surrounded by an elaborate display of drapery and sculpture. We shall complete this portion of our pilgrimage by kissing the hem of the jeweled cloak that drapes the statue after the celebration of the Eucharist. There will be time to browse through the quaint narrow streets and plazas, admiring such buildings as the Neoclassical Rajoy Palace, now the city hall, the Romanesque Colegio de San Jeronimo, and the utterly stunning Parador de Los Reyes Católicos – all buildings which surround the other three sides of this magnificent plaza. Dinner at our hotel. (B, D)
DAY 7: SANTIAGO / PORTO / COIMBRA / FATIMA
Today we depart Santiago en route to Fatima. En route we stop in Porto for lunch. We will visit the old town, the Cathedral, and San Francisco Church where we celebrate Mass. We take time for a stroll along the river, then savor some of the local vintage at a local winery. After all, this is the home of port wine!
We continue on the university town of Coimbra, where we visit the Monastery where Sr. Lucia, the last surviving visionary of Fatima, lived until her passing in 2005. After our short visit, we depart Coimbra and continue to Fatima for dinner and the evening at our hotel. (B,D)
DAY 8: FATIMA: VISIT OF THE SHRINE
This morning we begin with Mass at the Little Chapel of the apparitions. We will also visit the Tombs of Francisco, Jacinto and Sr. Lucia, the Aljustrel where the children lived, and the Valinhos, where Our Lady appeared after the children’s return from prison. We have the option of praying the Stations of the Cross, plus we have time for our own devotions. Dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)
DAY 9: FATIMA / ALCOBAHA / NAZARE / LISBON
We depart for the 12th century monastery of Alcobaha en route to the charming fishing village of Nazare (after Nazareth), a charming seaside town with friendly pedestrian areas, fresh air, and good shopping. Our focus here is a tiny church with a statue of devotion to Our Lady of Nazare on a cliff overlooking the ocean. After our Mass here, we take some time to enjoy the natural beauty. After some time for browsing the local markets of this fishing village, we continue on to Lisbon for dinner and the evening. (B, D)
DAY 10: LISBON: VISIT OF THE CITY
We begin with a visit to ‘Santo Antonio Da Se’, marking the site where in 1195 St. Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of Portugal, was born. We continue to the Cathedral, housing the Saint’s baptismal font. Here we celebrate Mass. Our tour continues to view the Belem Tower and the gothic monastery of St. Jeronimo. The afternoon is ours for browsing in the city, and in late afternoon we return to our hotel. Tonight we enjoy a festive farewell dinner at a local restaurant, with music and entertainment. (B, D)
DAY 11: RETURN USA
The time has come to bid farewell to Europe as we board our jet and race the sun westward. (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.