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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 8 : Lourdes
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 – Toulouse - Rocamadour
This morning, you will awaken feeling well-rested! Following breakfast, your group will transfer to Toulouse. This southern French city was once a Roman colony and is home to numerous religious and historical treasures. While here, you will have the opportunity to view many of these rare artifacts such as twenty historical pipe organs, and the burial place of St. Thomas Aquinas at the St. Sernin Basilica. As one of the finest Romanesque churches in France, its exterior is constructed of red brick with decorative accents of white stone. Following your visit to this magnificent church, your group will continue north to the town situated atop a rocky mountain, Rocamadour. Upon arrival in Rocamadour, you will enjoy a delicious meal and a restful overnight.
Day 11 : Rocamadour – Paray Le Monial
This morning you will awaken in the town that overlooks the Alzou Valley and, was the home to early Christian hermit, Zaccheus of Jericho. Zaccheus conversed with Jesus himself and was the husband of St. Veronica, the woman who wiped the face of Jesus as He climbed to Calvary. During your time at this Sacred destination, you will visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Rocamadour, a place of miraculous conversion. It is comprised of numerous religious structures and chapels that are centered on a statue of the Virgin Mary and the tomb of Zaccheus. After your visit to this place of miraculous healing, your journey will continue to Paray Le Monial. Dinner and overnight.
Day 12 : Paray Le Monial – Nevers
You will begin your day with breakfast. Celebrate Mass with some free time for prayer and reflection. Following Mass visit the Chapel of the Visitation, of where Jesus exposed His Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in the seventeenth century. These apparitions allowed St. Margaret to rest herself upon Jesus’ Sacred Heart and to experience the unconditional love for humanity. During your visit to this Holy place, you will have the opportunity to view relics of the beloved Saint that are located beneath a wax figure of her. Following free time for lunch in Paray Le Monial , we will drive to Nevers via the picturesque Loire Valle. Nevers is the site of where St. Bernadette lived for twelve years as a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Nevers. The Saint suffered from a number of illnesses such as asthma, tuberculosis of the lungs, and a tubercular tumor in her right knee. For this reason, St. Bernadette received “The Last Sacraments” three times and eventually passed away in 1879, at the age of thirty-five. Visit of the Convent of Saint Gildard, before enjoying a delicious meal and retiring for the evening in Nevers.
Day 13 : Nevers – Chartres – Lisieux
Upon waking up in Nevers and enjoying breakfast. Mass. Following Mass depart for Chartres. Upon arrival, you will have free time for lunch in the quaint town followed by the visit of Chartres, known for its massive Cathedral Notre Dame. Worldwide for the incredible stained-glass windows from the 12th and 13th century. A World Heritage site by UNESCO, which calls the Cathedral "the high point of French Gothic art" and a "masterpiece". After lunch we will continue will continue to Lisieux. Dinner and overnight in Lisieux.
Day 14 : Lisieux - Normandy Beaches - Mont Saint Michel - Lisieux
This morning you will head west and take a day-trip to the site that marks the turning point of World War II, Normandy Beach. This beach is known for the “D-Day landings” of where Allied troops, led by American General Dwight Eisenhower, stormed and began to defeat the Nazi army. While at Normandy, you will have the opportunity to visit the American cemetery of Omaha Beach. Many of the brave American soldiers of World War II are buried here and, it is encouraged to say a prayer in thanksgiving for their courage. Continue on to Mont St. Michel , where the Monastery of Le Mont St. Michele is located, also known as, “The Wonder of the Western World.” It is given this name because the Monastery is surrounded by a magnificent bay that is one of the greatest tidal ranges in Europe, resulting in a breathtaking view. In 709, this Monastery was built and consecrated by Aubert, Bishop of Avranches at the request of Michael the Archangel. Since the ninth century, the Abbey has been home to a monastic community in order to ensure the continuation of a spiritual presence. For centuries it has been a place of pilgrimage for those who seek Eternal Life with God. Return to Lisieux for dinner and an overnight.
Day 15 : Lisieux – Paris
Today, after breakfast you will explore the life of St. Therese. According to Pope Pius X, St. Therese of Lisieux was the “greatest saint of modern times.” Her extraordinary love for God and service to humanity will come alive as you walk in the Great Saint’s footsteps. During your visit, you will see the beautiful Basilica of St. Therese, and the magnificent mosaics and stained glass that are contained within. Following your visit to the Basilica, you will have the opportunity to view relics, clothing and personal objects of St. Therese when you visit her family home, Les Buissonets. Additionally, you will tour the parish of St. Therese, the Cathedral of St. Peter; and the Carmelite Convent of where she entered in 1888, and is currently entombed in with her parents. Your tour of the “Little Flower’s” life culminates as you board bus to transfer to the “City of Lights,” Paris. Upon arrival enjoy dinner and overnight.
Day 16 : Paris
Today, you will enjoy a full sightseeing tour of Paris. After breakfast, you will visit and celebrate Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, where you will view the incorrupt body of St. Catherine Laboure. The Saint's guardian angel led her to the chapel where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her. During apparitions, Our Lady repeatedly instructed the making and purpose of the Miraculous Medal as well as, the green scapular. According to the Blessed Virgin Mary, those who wear the Miraculous Medal and scapular will receive special protection and abundant graces. Following your prayerful and reflective experience at this elegant chapel, you will begin your sightseeing tour of Paris. After Mass we will walk to Saint Vicent de Paul Church. Continuing our day with a visit of the Notre Dame Cathedral, a perfect example of Gothic art. Our panoramic sightseeing tour via motor coach continues on to the most recognizable symbol of the city of Paris, the Eiffel Tower. Historically, the Tower's original intent was to commemorate the centenary of the French Revolution but, later assisted in meteorology, telegraphy of World War I, radio, and television. Pass by the L'Arch de Triomphe, a monument that symbolizes gratitude for those who fought for France. This monument stands at the West end of the Champ-Elysees, one of the world's most famous boulevards and another one of our stops on the sightseeing tour. We will also pass by the ever famous, Louvre Museum.* This Museum is one of the finest in the world and contains a number of pieces that truly emanate not only French art but also, European culture. Your fun-filled, busy day ends with a lovely meal and a very comfortable overnight.
*Regretfully we will not visit the Louvre Museum, due to time limitations. However, if you wish to extend your stay in Paris, this Museum is worth it, as it is one of the finest in the world and contains pieces that emanate European art and culture.
Day 17 : Return Home
After an early breakfast and wholehearted farewells, transfer to the Paris airport for return flight(s) home.
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