16-Days: The Way of the Saints & the Marian Way

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DAY 1: DEPART USA

We depart the USA on our overseas flight to Spain, with complimentary meals and beverages served aloft.

DAY 2: ARRIVE BARCELONA

Upon arrival in Barcelona we will be welcomed by Catholic Travel Centre’s tour escort who will accompany us throughout our journey. The rest of the day is at leisure. Dinner is at the hotel. (B, D)

DAY 3: BARCELONA: VISIT OF THE CITY

We enjoy a half-day’s tour of Barcelona. We begin at the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia. We continue to the Gothic Quarter, where we celebrate Mass. After Mass, we tour the city by motorcoach to view visit the ‘Spanish Village’ with reproductions of the most typical buildings in Spain. Our motorcoach will return us to our hotel, but you might be interested is stopping off on your own at the famous Ramblas Boulevard. Las Ramblas Boulevard is one of the most upbeat, striking boulevards in all of Europe, with many cafe’s and shops. The afternoon is on our own for shopping or perhaps for a visit to the Miro Museum. (B, D)

DAY 4: BARCELONA / MONTSERRAT / ZARAGOZA

We make our way to the spiritual heart of the Catalonia region, Montserrat, home to the Benedictine monastery dramatically set in the Montserrat mountain range. Tourists from around the world flock to this monastery to view its magnificent architecture in such a striking setting. This shrine has attracted pilgrims for over 700 years. We pause here to visit the Black Madonna of Montserrat, probably Spain’s most fervent devotion to the Blessed Mother. Here we celebrate Mass in the monastic chapel. We continue to Zaragoza for dinner and the evening. (B, D)

DAY 5: ZARAGOZA / MADRID

We will visit this beautiful city the capital of Aragon, in the morning. Zaragoza is the site of the impressive and beautiful basilica of the Virgin of the Pilar, whose construction started in the 12th century. It was built on the site where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. James the apostle on his way to northwestern Spain. Here we celebrate Mass. Accompanied by celestial music, angels and a brilliant light, Our Lady encouraged St. James and his disciples on their journeys. This apparition was unlike any other, because when Our Lady appeared to St. James, she was still living on earth in Jerusalem. During the vision St James was given a wooden statue which is now in the center of the Basilica. In the afternoon we will proceed towards Madrid, Spain’s capital. Dinner is at the hotel. (B, D)

DAY 6: MADRID: VISIT OF THE CITY

This morning we will visit the famous Prado Museum that contains the most impressive collection of classical paintings in the entire world. We will also visit the Royal Palace of the Bourbons which has over 2,000 rooms, including outstanding rooms such as the Room of the Throne. We will celebrate the opening Mass of our pilgrimage in the Cathedral. The rest of the day is at leisure as we enjoy the pulsating atmosphere of this impressive city, strolling as we do through the ever-charming streets of Madrid. Tonight we enjoy dinner at a local restaurant with entertainment. (B, D)

DAY 7: MADRID / SEGOVIA / AVILA

Today we travel to Segovia. Segovia is a charmer, and most visitors remember it for the Roman aqueduct which bisects the town. After a visit to
the dramatic cathedral here, we make our way across the river to visit the sepulchre of St. John of the Cross, one of the Doctors of the Church. After our visit here, we are off to the walled town of Avila, made famous by St. Teresa, another Doctor of the Church. Dinner will be served at the hotel. (B, D)

DAY 8: AVILA: VISIT OF THE TOWN

Today we visit the Monastery of the Incarnation where St. Teresa spent many years of her life. Here we celebrate Mass. We visit other sites important in the Saint’s life, including the Monastery of St. Joseph, her first foundation. The rest of the day is at leisure. Dinner will be served at a local restaurant. (B, D)

DAY 9: AVILA / LEON

After breakfast we continue our journey to Leon, the capital of the old kingdom bearing its name inserted in the court of arms of Spain. This historical city had its foundation in the year 68 BC when the Romans build a fortified camp with the name of Legio. It is now a wealthy city with wide avenues blending with the half-timbered old city. Some of the Roman ramparts are still evident, but the chief treasures are the Basilica of San Isidoro are: its exquisite crypt, the adjoining Royal Pantheon (called the Sistine Chapel of Romanesque art), the Gothic Santa María Cathedral (called Pulchra Leonina) and the Monastery of San Marcos, former home of the Knights of Santiago.

León was the capital of Christian Spain in the eleventh and twelve centuries. For hundreds of years, it has been a major stop along the Way of St. James, which pilgrims followed to Santiago de Compostela. The Camino de Santiago goes over the nearby thirteenth century Orbigo Bridge. Our dinner and evening are in Leon. (B, D)

DAY 10: LEON / ASTORGA / O CEBREIRO / SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

We proceed towards Astorga, the capital of a small region called La Maragatería of ancient history dating back to the Roman period when it was called Asturca Augusta, being one of the stop-over points along the Way of Saint James. It once held over 25 buildings dedicated to hospitals and albergues (inns), one of them being the hospital de San Juan at the cathedral’s square. We will have time to enjoy walking through this charming town.
With the fervor which has inspired the centuries old pilgrims in their faithful Way of Saint James, we renew our journey towards Santiago de Compostela entering the beautiful green Galicia, stopping over at O Cebreiro, the Medieval (X-XII AD) town renown for its Eucharistic Miracle of Body and Blood where we will celebrate today’s Holy Mass. This afternoon we continue our pilgrimage on to Santiago de Compostela while we admire the charming Galician countryside. Dinner will be served at our hotel.
(B, D)

DAY 11: SANTIAGO: VISIT OF THE SHRINE

We will have our full day at Spain’s Patron Saint’s and the most famous of the Spanish Shrines. 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 on labyrinthine cobbled streets today of this medieval city, virtually intact since no man or natural upheavals have produced any damage to the city, a true national monument with its buildings built with the 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.

Inside the Cathedral are more 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 stands above surrounded by an elaborate display of drapery and sculpture. 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 is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 12: SANTIAGO /COIMBRA / FATIMA

This morning after Mass we board our motorcoach and make our way to the University town of Coimbra, where we will visit the Cathedral and University Library. After a visit to Coimbra, we proceed to Fatima where in 1917 the Blessed Mother appeared to three simple shepherd children and exhorted mankind to pray for world peace. Dinner awaits us at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 13: FATIMA: VISIT OF THE SHRINE

Today we begin with Mass at the Little Chapel of the Apparitions then visit the Tombs of the visionaries Francisco, Jacinto, and 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. Tonight we enjoy dinner at the local restaurant. (B, D)

DAY 14: FATIMA / NAZARE / LISBON

We depart Fatima and stop at the charming fishing village of Nazare (named after Nazareth). Here, in the Chapel of Our Lady of Nazare on a cliff overlooking the ocean we celebrate Mass. Then we continue on our way to Lisbon for dinner and the evening. (B, D)

DAY 15: 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. return to our hotel. We enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (B, D)

DAY 16: RETURN USA

Transfer to the Lisbon 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.