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Day 1 : Depart for Lisbon
Make your way to your local airport, where you will board your overnight flight(s). Your meals will be served on board.
Day 2 : Arrive Lisbon
Upon landing at Lisbon Portela Airport, make your way to the baggage claim area and collect your luggage. Proceed to the arrival's hall, where you will be greeted by your tour guide and/or driver. You will be escorted to the bus and we will begin a panoramic sightseeing tour of the coastal city of Lisbon. We will stop at the St. Jerome's Monastery, built to give thanks to the Virgin Mary for guiding Vasco da Gama on his voyage that linked Europe and Asia. Continue to drive by the Belem Quarter that contains the iconic entry way to the Lisbon harbor, the Belem Tower. This important structure of history has many beautiful sculptures, such as depictions of, St. Vincent and Our Lady of Safe Homecoming. We will continue and " pass -by" the "25th of April Bridge", inspired by the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco, California. The Ponte 25 de Abril is the oldest bridge that connects the Tagus river of Lisbon. Following, we will drive by the Discoveries Monument. This memorial commemorates the Great Explorers who, as a result of their explorations, brought Portugal to a standing of wealth and power during the Age of Discovery. This ship prow shaped structure stands at the point where the Great Explorers began their expeditions. Enjoy a view of the Basilica of the Star, the Rossio Square, Commerce Square, and the Marquee of Pombal Square. Our last stop will be St. Anthony's Church to celebrate Mass. Although this patron Saint of lost things is known as St. Anthony of Padua (Italy), he was originally born in Lisbon, Portugal. This Church is built upon the site of St. Anthony's birth, and is also where Saint John Paul II visited in 1982. The former Pope stopped at this Church, on his way to Fatima, to pray to Our Lady in thanksgiving. Saint John Paul II recognizes Our Lady as saving him from being killed when he was shot one year prior, in 1981. After Mass we will check-in at the hotel and enjoy a welcoming dinner followed by a restful overnight.
Day 3 : Lisbon - Santarem - Fatima
Today, we will travel north to the old city of Santarem. In Santarem visit and attend Mass at the Church of St. Stephen, which holds (13th century) Eucharistic Miracle: The Miracle occurred when a woman yearned to change the ways of her unfaithful husband and consulted a sorceress. The sorceress agreed that she would cure the husband's infidelity in exchange for a consecrated Host. The woman committed the sacrilege, but when she exited the church, the Host began to bleed. It bled so much that her fellow parishioners thought she had cut her hand. The woman ran home and hid the bleeding Host in a trunk. When her husband arrived home, the wife told him what she had done, and later that night there was a light emanating from the trunk. She and her husband began to kneel before the trunk. The following morning, the husband and wife brought the Host to the parish priest. It was then moved to the Church of St. Stephen where another miracle occurred; the miraculous Host was originally put in a wax container, however, when a priest opened the tabernacle to view the Host, the container was found broken, and the Host was found enclosed in a crystal pyx. Continue to Fatima with a visit to the Hamlet of Aljustrel, the home of the three shepherd children. Visit of the Parish Church and Fatima Parish Cemetery. Dinner and overnight.
Day 4 : Fatima
Today will surely be a memorable experience as you pray and meditate upon one of Our Blessed Mother's apparition sites. Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children; Lucia (age 10), Jacinta (age 7), and Francisco (age 9). These apparitions occurred monthly from May until October of 1917. Historically, as the entire world was in true turmoil, Our Lady's most prominent message during this time was to pray for world peace. The destruction of the world at that point in history was also mentioned by Our Lady in her messages of Fatima, and more specifically, in her second secret to the children. Our profoundly reflective day begins with a visit of the Little Chapel of the Apparitions. This simple, yet modern, chapel is the site of where the Virgin Mary first appeared on May 13, 1917. Continue with a visit of the stunning neoclassical church, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary. This Sacred space contains the tombs of St. Francisco, St. Jacinta and Sister Lucia. View the monument, that commemorates the Sacred Heart of Jesus , in the square. Due to Our Lady's consistency in Her messages to pray the Rosary, this Basilica also features fifteen altars that are dedicated to the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary. While in the Basilica, you will be able to feel, through the Love of Our Lord and Lady, the many graces that were received here. Visit the Museum with the exhibition: Fatima: Light and Peace. Continue with a visit of the Holy Trinity Basilica. After free time for lunch, we will experience Christ's unconditional love by participating in the Stations of the Cross along the Via Sacra. The "Sacred Way" marks the path taken by the shepherd children of Fatima to their first apparition with Our Lady. It is composed of fifteen small chapels in commemoration of the Passion of Our Lord. The fifteenth station, the Resurrection, can be found close to the Chapel of Calvary, dedicated to St. Stephen, King of Hungary. Ending the day with visit of Valinhos, the site of Our Lady's August 1917 apparition and the first and third apparition of the Angel. Your night will conclude with private devotions, and a candlelight procession, requested by Our Lady (1917). Enjoy dinner and a comfortable night's rest in Fatima.
Day 5 : Fatima - Salamanca
Depart Fatima and head to Salamanca, following a full breakfast at the hotel. Salamanca is a city in the Castilla y Leon region, and is known for its large University, the oldest in Spain that is still active, and prominent culture. Our walking tour will bring us by the most noteworthy sites such as; the grand Plaza Mayor, an iconic square filled with food, shopping and city events; La Clerecia, a church and college of the Jesuit Order that was constructed in the seventeenth century; La Casa de las Conchas, currently a public library but also, a monument noted and decorated by its shells, which symbolizes the ever-famous pilgrimage to Santiago (El Camino); the University of Salamanca, the oldest University in Spain and the third oldest in Europe; the Roman Bridge, extends along the River Tormes, is a national monument and among one of Salamanca's sturdiest bridges; La Iglesia de San Marcos, constructed in the Romanesque style and contains breathtaking paintings that portray many scenes of Our Lady's life; La Iglesia de San Martin, a church devoted to St. Martin de Porres, who is the patron saint of mixed-race people and all those seeking interracial harmony. Visit inside the two joint Salamanca Cathedrals (old and new), one of which is of a Romanesque style and the other is of a Gothic style. Following this eventful day, you will return to your hotel for a delicious meal with your group and an overnight at your hotel in Salamanca.
Day 6 : Salamanca - Alba de Tormes - Ávila - Burgos
This morning, after breakfast, you will board the bus and enjoy a short transfer to the village of Alba de Tormes. This town is home to the Carmelite Monastery that Saint Teresa founded in 1571. Upon arrival in Alba de Tormes, your group will celebrate Mass at this Monastery where the saint died and was buried. Following Mass, you will have the opportunity to visit the museum dedicated to St. Teresa of Avila, which also holds her incorrupt heart and left arm. Your group will enjoy free time for lunch on your own, before continuing to the medieval city of Avila. Upon arrival in Avila, you will immediately notice the perfectly preserved eleventh-century walls that surround the old town. The conservation of architecture in this city, to which St. Teresa was born, deems its shrines, convents and churches necessary to visit on any Catholic pilgrimage. Avila with the Cathedral de Avila, whose artwork and architecture encompasses the Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance styles; La Basilica de San Vicente, of which stands on the site of the martyrdom of St. Vincent. Visit of the Incarnation Convent, where St. Teresa became a nu. Saint Therese convinced Saint John of the Cross to reform the male Carmelite order. Saint Therese had started the reform when she met Saint John in Medina del Campo. Followed by El Convento de Santa Teresa, built upon the home of St. Teresa and contains the relics of hers and of St. John of the Cross. After walking in the footsteps of St. Teresa, continue your journey to Burgos. Upon arrival in the historic capital of Old Castile, enjoy dinner. Following dinner, you will have the opportunity to explore the city of Burgos, and admire its magnificent limestone, gothic-style Cathedral. Late this evening, you will return to your hotel for a restful overnight.
Day 7 : Burgos - Loyola - Lourdes
Following breakfast, transfer from Burgos to Loyola to visit the birthplace of St. Ignatius, founder of the Jesuit Order. St. Ignatius dedicated himself to becoming a soldier of the Christian faith, and as a result of many tribulations, he wrote the ever-famous Spiritual Exercises. In Loyola, you will see the 17th century Basilica that is dedicated to this remarkable Saint. The Basilica is part of a series of buildings that surrounds the "Holy House," the birthplace of St. Ignatius. When you visit these Holy places, you will also have the opportunity to pray at the most venerated room, where St. Ignatius prayed and began his conversion. After meditating on the life of this founder of the Jesuit Order, you will enjoy free time for lunch and board the bus for the next destination. We will continue to Lourdes with a spectacular view of the Pyrenees Mountains. Upon arrival in Lourdes, you will check-in to your hotel and enjoy a splendid dinner and peaceful overnight.
Day 9 :
Over the next two days, you will wake up in a small town that is nestled within the Pyrenees Mountains. During your time in Lourdes, you will pray and meditate in yet another site of Our Lady's apparitions. Our Lady first appeared to Bernadette in 1858, and announced herself as "The Immaculate Conception", near the Grotto of Massabielle. At the first two apparitions, little Bernadette prayed the Rosary with Our Lady and left without any exchange of words. During the following apparitions, Our Lady emphasized God's love for us, penance and the necessity of performing acts of penance for sinners. Throughout your time in Lourdes, you will have the opportunity to attend Mass at the Grotto of where Our Lady appeared to Bernadette; watch a video presentation that explains, in detail, the story of Lourdes; drink water from the miraculous spring that has healed many; and submerge yourself in the healing baths. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to experience Christ's unconditional love as you meditate upon the "life size" Stations of the Cross that overlook the Grotto of Massabielle. Also, while in Lourdes, you will walk in and meditate upon the footsteps of St. Bernadette. You will have the opportunity to see Boly Mill, the birthplace of St. Bernadette; and the "Cachot," an abandoned prison where Bernadette's impoverish family lived. In the evening, you will have free time to attend the Blessed Sacrament Procession before dinner. Following dinner participate in the candle light procession and the Rosary.( April- October). Return to hotel for a restful night of sleep.
Day 10 : Lourdes - Rome
This morning, you will enjoy breakfast followed by a transfer to the airport for your short flight(s) to Rome. Welcome to Rome, also known as, "The Eternal City." Upon arrival at Rome airport, collect your luggage in the baggage claim area, and continue to the arrival's hall, where you will be greeted by a tour escort and/or driver. You will make your way to the bus and transfer to your hotel. Following check-in, you will have free time to unpack and relax, or explore Rome on your own. Your tour escort may suggest places to visit. Later in the afternoon, your group will meet in the hotel lobby for a "Meet and Greet" with your fellow pilgrims and depart for Mass. Following Mass, you will attend a welcome dinner. After dinner, you will have the opportunity to walk to St. Peter's Square as a group, for the Rosary (optional).
Day 11 : Rome: Papal Audience - Basilica of St. John the Lateran - Holy Steps - Basilica of St. Mary Major
After a nice breakfast at your hotel, your first sightseeing day in Rome starts! The tour begins with the Papal Audience in St. Peter's Square! The Audience is celebrated each Wednesday by His Holiness, Pope Francis (pending the papal schedule). Following the Audience, there will be free time for lunch, or shop, or mail a postcard from the Vatican Post Office. This afternoon you will visit the oldest of the four major basilicas in Rome, and the home to the relics of Peter and Paul, the Basilica of St. John the Lateran. This Basilica is where Pope Francis was installed as Bishop of Rome, and where he officiates as the Bishop of Rome. Next, we will cross the street to visit the Holy Staircase. Tradition states that this staircase is from Pontius Pilate's palace of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus. It is also said that this Staircase was brought to Rome by St. Helen in the 4th century. If time permits, you may climb the steps on your knees, in memory of Christ's agonizing Passion. To conclude your day, we will proceed to the Basilica of St. Mary Major. This Basilica contains a relic from the Manger of the Infant Jesus. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 12 : Vatican Museum - Trevi Fountain - Appian Way - Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls - Catacombs
This morning you will enjoy an early breakfast before making your way to the largest Christendom Church, St. Peter's Basilica. This Basilica was built on the site where St. Peter, the first Pope and Bishop of Rome, was martyred. Also, it was Our Holy Father, Pope Francis who was the first Pontiff to visit the necropolis since extensive archaeological excavations were conducted at the ancient site decades ago. It is here that you will view Michelangelo's Pieta. This stunning marble sculpture depicts the Virgin Mary holding Christ after His crucifixion, death, and removal off the cross before being placed in the tomb. Continue to proceed to the Vatican Museums. At the world-renowned museum, you will see the most impressive of edifices, galleries, and awe-inspiring relics. Additionally, you will observe the Tapestry Gallery, Raphael Rooms, Sistine Chapel, and Michelangelo's Masterpiece, the restored mural of the Last Judgment. The final stop on your Vatican tour is at the tomb of Saint John Paul II. Afterward, you will be transferred to the Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain), where you may enjoy some free time on your own for lunch. Continue on your short journey down the Appian Way, the earliest road of Ancient Rome. This road leads to the Domino Quo Vadis Chapel, the Baths of Caracalla, the Arch of Drusus, the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, and the catacombs of St. Callixtus. The day concludes with a visit to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. Originally founded by Emperor Constantine in the 4th Century, this Basilica is the burial places of Saint Paul the Apostle. We will make our way to a local restaurant for dinner. Following dinner, feel free to explore the streets of Rome, or return to the hotel for overnight.
Day 13 : Rome - Monte Cassino - San Giovanni Rotondo
Following breakfast, you will board your bus to enjoy the scenic route to Montecassino. Passing through the Roman countryside that is known for its villas and vineyards. During the bus ride, your tour escort will share interesting information regarding the spiritual, historical, and cultural aspects of Italy. Montecassino, the principle monastery of the Benedictine Order, was founded by Saint Benedict around 530 A.D. Following the tour, there will be an opportunity to visit the gift shop, before we board the bus to continue toward San Giovanni Rotondo, the hometown of Saint Padre Pio. Upon arrival in San Giovanni Rotondo, you will check-in, enjoy dinner in the restaurant, and overnight.
Day 14 : San Giovanni Rotondo (View Incorrupt Body of St. Padre Pio) - Monte Sant' Angel
This morning, after breakfast we will visit the Old Church. After Mass we will tour the sanctuary, it is here you will view the crucifix, in front of which St. Pio received the stigmata. Visit the confessional from where St. Pio spent an innumerable amount of hours listening to confessions. Next, we will board the bus and travel along the beautiful Gargano Peninsula to the Grotto of St. Michael the Archangel, a shrine consecrated by St. Michael. At this grotto, St. Michael appeared to a Bishop to assure him that his diocese would not be annihilated as he feared. Following the visit to the grotto, enjoy free time. On the way back to San Giovanni Rotondo view breathtaking views of the ocean and surrounding countryside. Upon arrival you will have time for devotion and reflection. Dinner and overnight.
Day 15 : San Giovanni Rotondo - Lanciano - Loreto - Assisi
After breakfast, we will head to Lanciano. Upon arrival in Lanciano, we will celebrate Mass at the Church of St. Longinus. This Church is the site of the Eucharistic Miracle that occurred in the eighth century. At the time of the Miracle, there was a Basilian monk who struggled with the belief in the real presence of The Lord Jesus in the Eucharist. During the time of Mass, the monk, with doubt in his voice, said the "Words of Consecration" and the bread turned into living flesh, and the wine transformed into live blood. There will be some free time to explore Lanciano, before continue toward the Adriatic coast to the great Marian shrine of Loreto to visit the Holy House of Nazareth, and the beautiful Madonna of Loreto. More than 50 Pope's have made a pilgrimage to the house transported by angles to this hill in central Italy, in 1294. Tradition has it that this is the house in which Mary first prayed the Magnificat, in which Jesus grew to manhood, and in which the Holy Family lived. Continue on to Assisi, the hometown of St. Francis. Upon arrival in Assisi, you will enjoy dinner, before retiring to your room for a restful night's sleep.
Day 16 : Assisi (The Life of a Saint, that inspired a Holy Father)
Enjoy an early breakfast, followed by a full day of touring the hometown of St. Francis. St. Francis is the "Patron Saint of Animals and the Environment." Additionally, he is responsible for founding the Franciscan Order, and the inspiration for our Holy Father, Pope Francis. He chose his name in admiration of the Saint of Nature, and Servant to the Poor. Known for being a humble man himself, Pope Francis spent most of his life denying the luxuries of life. He preferred to live in simplicity and humility, while giving up all other worldly possessions, just as St. Francis did. As we visit the birthplace of St. Francis, you will become captivated as the atmosphere has not changed since St. Francis began his ministry, in the early 13th-century. We will start our tour at the St. Francis Basilica, visit his tomb of St. Francis, and have the opportunity to view a series of frescoes depicting his life, along with a few of the saint's possessions. From there, we will continue on a walking tour through this picturesque town, including the birthplace of St. Francis, and ending with a tour of the Church that honors St. Clare, the foundress of the Poor Clare Sisters. This Saint followed the teachings of St. Francis very closely by also living a life of poverty and humility. Enjoy some free time on your own - you may take this time for additional prayer, shop in the many gift shops or enjoy a nice lunch. After lunch, we will board the bus, which will take us outside of the walls of Assisi, to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. This is where St. Francis spent most of life. This Basilica is made up of two structures, both of which you will visit. The first structure, is the "Porziuncola", which is where St. Francis founded his order of the Friar Minor (Franciscans). The second, is the "Capella del Transito", which is the place of St. Francis' death. During your time here, you will have the opportunity to visit the beautiful Rose Garden where St. Francis and other friars lived, as well as the cave where the Saint retired to pray. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 17 : Assisi - Gubbio - LaVerna - Assisi
After breakfast, we will drive through the beautiful Umbrian mountains to Gubbio. Enjoy this medieval town with a visit of St. Francis Church, were we will be celebrating Mass. After Mass we will visit a town that seems painted onto the hill, a succession of backdrops against which towers and houses stand out, all embraced by walls. The town has been freed by St. Francis from a terrible and fierce wolf who afflicted it. After lunch, on your own, we will continue to La Verna, this is the place where St. Francis, over the years, has been seven times and the last time in 1224 where he received the stigmata. Here you will be able to pray in the Chapel of the Stigmata, the Basilica and the Chapel of Saint Mary of the Angels. You will also be able to admire the beautiful artworks of Andrea della Robbia. Return to Assisi for dinner and overnight.
Day 18 : Return Home
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, transfer to Rome Fiumicino airport for return flights home.
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