DAY 1: DEPART USA
We depart en route to Lisbon, with complimentary meals and beverages served aloft.
DAY 2: LISBON / FATIMA
We arrive in Lisbon and meet our Catholic Travel Centre representative who will accompany us throughout our journey. Our motor coach continues on to Fatima for Mass followed by dinner at the hotel. (D)
DAY 3: FATIMA: VISIT OF THE SHRINE
Today we visit the Tombs of Francisco and Jacinto; 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. We celebrate Mass today at the Little Chapel of Apparitions. After Mass, we have some time for lunch on our own. Dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)
DAY 4: FATIMA/ PORTO / SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
This morning we board our motor coach for our scenic drive to Santiago de Compostela. We arrive in Porto and visit the old town, San Francisco Church, where we celebrate Mass, and the Cathedral. We then enjoy lunch on our own. 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 will arrive this evening in time for dinner and a good night’s rest at our hotel. (B, D)
DAY 5: SANTIAGO: VISIT OF THE SHRINE
We start with a sightseeing tour of 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 Maesto Mateo and completed in 1188, is the finest example of a Romanesque sculpture. We will celebrate Mass here.
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 will have lunch on our own this afternoon and 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 tonight is at a local restaurant. (B, D)
DAY 6: SANTIAGO / COVADONGA
We begin with Mass at the Cathedral, then we depart Santiago and enjoy a scenic ride through the region of Galicia. We arrive in the town of Covadonga, where we pay a special visit to Our Lady of Covadonga.
Covadonga combines the history of the Spanish Christians’ first victory over the Moors with the beauty of one of Spain’s most dramatic National Parks. One of the town’s important monuments is that of La Santa Cueva, a cave shrine containing the sarcophagus of Pelayo, king of the Visigothic Christians. In Spain, there are more than 15 Virgenes de la Cueva. Among the best known ones there is Nuestra Señora de Covadonga (cova=cueva), which we visit here. After our visit, we take some time at leisure. Dinner tonight is at our hotel. (B, D)
DAY 7: COVADONGA/ SAN SEBASTIAN / LOURDES
This morning we celebrate Mass and then journey to France with a noon-time stop in the beautiful seaside city of San Sebastian on the Gulf of Vizcaya. The narrow streets of the Old Quarter are packed with bars and restaurants. The Plaza de la Constitución is where you will find the library, once the Town Hall. The square was once used as a bullring. The Basilica of Santa Maria del Coro, patron saint of the city, can be found on the only street that remains from the 1813 fire, the Calle 31 de Agosto. The old quarter opens out to the sea at the harbour, home to the fishing fleet as well as the pleasure craft. Here you will find the Naval Museum and the Aquarium. After lunch on our own and some time for leisure, we will board our motor coach for our drive to Lourdes. Upon arrival, we will have the evening at leisure for time to relax and dinner at our hotel. (B, D)
DAY 8: LOURDES: VISIT OF THE SHRINE
In 1858, 14 year-old Bernadette Soubirous declared that the Virgin had appeared to her several times in the Cave of Massabielle and had said to her in the local patois, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
We begin this morning with a concelebrated Mass at the Grotto. After Mass, we enjoy a walking tour “In the Footsteps of 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 (subject to seasonal schedule). After dinner at the hotel, we return to the Sanctuary this evening for the Rosary and Torchlight Procession, beginning about 8:30PM (subject to seasonal schedule). We will have time to visit the baths sometime during the day. (B, D)
DAY 9: LOURDES / ZARAGOZA
We celebrate Mass this morning at a local church in Lourdes and then make our way to Zaragoza, known for the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of the Pilar, one of Spain’s most renowned Marian Shrines. Upon arrival, we have some leisure time on our own. Dinner and the overnight are at our hotel. (B, D)
DAY 10: ZARAGOZA / BARCELONA
This morning we visit the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of the Pilar 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. We take some time on our own for lunch this afternoon before we travel to Barcelona for dinner and the evening. (B, D)
DAY 11: BARCELONA: EXCURSION TO MANRESA AND MONTSERRAT
Today we make our way to the spiritual heart of the Catalonia region. We visit Manresa, a place of profound conversion for Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). 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 before continuing his journey, this time to Barcelona. We enjoy an audiovisual presentation and tour of the museum at Manresa. Then we celebrate Eucharist in the nearby cave.
Afterwards we continue 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. This 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, probably Spain’s most fervent devotion to the Blessed Mother. We return to Barcelona for dinner and the evening is at our hotel. (B, D)
DAY 12: BARCELONA: VISIT OF THE CITY
We will enjoy a panoramic tour of Barcelona, the capital of Catalunya (Catalonia). 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. Driving by the Columbus Statue and on the well-known Ramblas Blvd. to Cataluyna Square, we go to the “Enxample” where we will admire the architectural styles of Catalan’s most famous architects: Batilló, Milà and Gaudí.
We will proceed towards the Holy Family Church, Gaudi’s masterpiece. We will continue on to the Tibidabo Hill. A statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus with his extended arms overlooking Barcelona below reminds one of Rio de Janeiro. Mass will be celebrated at one of the churches we visit today. The balance of the afternoon is at our leisure for shopping, and tonight we gather at a local restaurant for a farewell dinner. (B, D)
DAY 13: RETURN USA
We transfer to Barcelona 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.