Gran Marian Shrines

12 days / 11 nights


Upon arrival in Madrid airport, you will be greeted by your tour guide and transferred to your hotel. You will enjoy free time before dinner and overnight.

Following breakfast, you will enjoy a tour of Madrid that includes the Royal Palace and the Plaza Mayor. Both sites are iconic to Madrid as the Palace holds state ceremonies and events; and the Plaza Mayor is the geographic center of Madrid, as well as the social center. Mass will be celebrated at Madrid’s Cathedral, La Almudena, one of the most beautiful churches in the city. Afternoon at your leisure. Overnight.

This morning depart for Zaragoza. This is the chief city of Aragon and had traditions connected with the story of St. James and is the birthplace of the great Spanish painter, Francisco Goya. Visit the magnificent Basilica del Pilar where we will celebrate Mass. The church was built upon the site of where Our Lady appeared to St. James. In 44 A.D. St. James, the Greater was spreading the Gospel in Spain but, making very little progress and questioning his mission. According to Catholic Tradition, the Virgin Mary, who was still living in Jerusalem, bi-located and appeared to St. James the Greater to boost his morale. While inside the Basilica, we will view the pillar that was carried by angels and from atop Our Lady appeared. Following our visit to the Basilica del Pilar, we will visit La Seo Cathedral (Cathedral of Zaragoza). Formally known as the church of San Vicente during the Visigoth period, it contains architectural elements of Gothic, Mudejar, Renaissance and Baroque styles. Continue to Lourdes, one of the great pilgrimage shrines in the world. It was here where Our Lady appeared to Bernadette in 1858 proclaiming herself the “Immaculate Conception”.  Dinner and overnight.

Morning Mass at the Grotto. After Mass, walk in the footsteps of St. Bernadette. See Boly Mill where St. Bernadette was born, and the “Cachot,” an abandoned prison where Bernadette’s impoverished family lived. Afternoon dedicated to private devotions. Dinner and overnight.

This morning we say goodbye to Our Lady of Lourdes and drive towards Spain. Stop in 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. Continue to Bilbao for dinner and overnight.

In the morning we will do a walking tour of Bilbao from the neoclassical Plaza Nueva to the Gothic Cathedral and a baroque stoke exchange. After visit depart for the beautiful village of Garabandal. You will visit the famous Pines where it is reported that Our Lady appeared to the little girls, the church and the lane where St Michael the Archangel is reported to have appeared to them also. Dinner and overnight.

After morning Mass depart for Santiago de Compostela, the destination of the important medieval pilgrimage route, the Way of St James passing through the northern border of Portugal, an area where the rural population still lives off small patches of land tended with traditional farming methods. The highway to Santiago de Compostela offers spectacular views of the Rias Bajas, the deep fjords of Galicia. Dinner and overnight.

 

This morning, visit the beautiful cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. We will take part in the morning Pilgrim Mass when the swinging “botafumeiro” is celebrated. The “botafumeiro” is a three-foot high iron censer that is suspended by a two hundred-foot rope and swung over the heads of the congregation. An impressive feature of the cathedral is the Portico de la Gloria, which is located just inside the main entrance. Through the centuries, millions of pilgrims have touched the central pillar. After a thousand years of embracing and touching, the stone has been left smooth and worn. The relics of St. James, the Apostle, repose in the high altar. Below the statue is the crypt that contains the bones of St. James in a silver reliquary. Free time this afternoon.  Dinner and overnight.

This morning we drive towards Fatima. En route, we stop in Oporto.We will visit this city built into the granite cliffs at the mouth of the river Douro.  We will see their 12th century Cathedral (Mass will be celebrated here), the city’s iron bridge, Ponte de D. Luis, and get a great view of Oporto from the top of the Clerigos Tower via its 225 steps! We then continue on to Fatima, the place where the Blessed Mother appeared in 1917 to three simple shepherd children and exhorted mankind to pray for world peace. Dinner and overnight.

Celebrate Mass at the Chapel of Apparitions. Next, see the hamlet of Aljustrel, where the children lived and Valinhos, the site of Our Lady’s appearance after the children’s return from prison. Follow the Stations of the Cross along the Via Sacra (The Sacred Way) built by Hungarian refugees that culminates in the Chapel of Calvary, which overlooks all of Fatima. Visit the church where the children were baptized. The rest of day will be free for private devotions. Dinner and overnight. In the evening, possibility to join pilgrims from around the world in an evening candlelight procession.

Today enjoy a visit to the historical town of Batalha. Celebrate Mass at the UNESCO world heritage site Batalha Monestary, a Dominican monastery built to honor the Virgin Mary after a major military victory in Portugal. Next, head to Alcobaça to visit the famous Monastery of Santa Maria d’Alcobaça, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the biggest Gothic-style church in Portugal. Continue to Lisbon, where on arrival we will enjoy a sightseeing tour including a visit of the Cathedral, St. Jerome’s Monastery, Saint Anthony’s Church, Belem Quarter: Belem Tower, 25 April Bridge, Discoveries Monument. Our drive will also take us through the Basilica of the Star, Rossio Square, Commerce square and Marquee of Pomba Square. Dinner and overnight.


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