13-Days: In the Footsteps of Ignatius in Spain, plus Lourdes

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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 motor coach 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 motor coach 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 / AVILA / AREVALO / SALAMANCA

This morning we depart Madrid with a stop in Avila to visit the Monastery of Incarnation. We will also visit Arévalo, the city where Ignatius spent eleven years of his life with Juan Velàzquez de Cuéllar, King Ferdinand’s chief treasurer. Ignatius’ father was good friends with Señor Cuéllar and sent him to Arevalo to be educated as a Castilian gentleman. Our dinner and overnight are in the university town of Salamanca. (B, D)

DAY 5: SALAMANCA / BURGOS / SAN SEBASTIAN

After a brief city tour, we depart Salamanca en route to the city of 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, and then make our way to the seaside resort town San Sebastian for dinner and the evening. (B, D)

DAY 6: SAN SEBASTIAN: EXCURSION TO LOYOLA

From our base in San Sebastian, 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 and enjoy lunch here. After some time for reflection, we return back to seaside San Sebastian. This evening we are free to explore the many restaurants in this seaside town. (B, L)

DAY 7: SAN SEBASTIAN / LOURDES

We depart lovely San Sebastian and make our way to Lourdes. Here in 1858, the Blessed Mother appeared to young Bernadette Soubirous, in a series of apparitions that would draw worldwide attention. The Lady introduced herself to Bernadette as ‘The Immaculate Conception.’
We check-in to our accommodations in Lourdes. After dinner, some of our group may be like to join in the evening procession or to pay a late night visit to the Grotto. (D)

DAY 8: LOURDES: FOOTSTEPS OF ST. BERNADETTE

We begin this morning with Mass. After Mass, we enjoy a walking tour ‘In the Footsteps of St. Bernadette.’ We visit the Cachot (former jail cell that once served as the Soubirous family’s home); the parish church; Fr. Peyramale’s Presbytery; 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 Blessing of the Sick, (subj. to local schedules.) After dinner at the hotel, we return to the Sanctuary for the Rosary and Torchlight Procession, beginning about 8:30PM, (subj. to local schedules.) After the procession, we return to our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 9: LOURDES / MONTSERRAT

We depart Lourdes and make our way to Montserrat, home to the Benedictine monastery dramatically set in the Montserrat mountain range. Pilgrims from around the world flock to this monastery to view its magnificent architecture in such a striking setting. Dinner this evening is at our hotel in Montserrat. (B, D)

DAY 10: MONTSERRAT / MANRESA / BARCELONA

Montserrat is 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 with a beggar. L
We continue 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 continue to Barcelona for the evening. (B, D)

DAY 11: BARCELONA: VISIT OF THE CITY

We will have the opportunity to explore and enjoy the broad avenues of this beautiful city admiring its marvelous building contrasts dating back nearly 2,000 years. We will visit the Gothic Quarter that includes its Gothic Saint Eulalia Cathedral and its IV Century Roman Wall. We drive by the Columbus Statue and on the well known Ramblas Blvd, then to Cataluyna Square to the “Eixample” where we will admire the architectural styles of Catalan’s most famous architects, Batillo, Mila and Gaudí. This afternoon is at our leisure. Dinner is served at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 12: BARCELONA: VISIT OF THE CITY

Our tour today includes the sites of the famous architect Gaudi, visiting Parc Guell and the renowned Basilica of the Sagrada Familia. We finish with a short walking tour of Ignatian sites including the Basilica of Our Lady of the Sea, where Ignatius would often go to seek alms. You might like to visit the Joan Miró Museum during your leisure time this afternoon. Tonight we gather for a festive farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (B)

DAY 13: RETURN USA

After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our return flight to the 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.