Upon your arrival in Lourdes, transfer to your hotel. Relax, explore or attend one of the many big celebrations such as the international mass, the Eucharistic procession in the afternoon and the candlelight Marian procession every evening. Dinner and overnight.
Lourdes, Rome and Medjugorje
12 days / 11 nights
After breakfast attend Mass at the Grotto, the site where 14-year-old Bernadette reportedly experienced 18 visions of the Virgin Mary, and walk in the footsteps of St Bernadette. Since much of the history of Lourdes revolves around the story of Bernadette Soubirous and her family, a visit to Lourdes would be incomplete without a visit to the Boly Mill where the Saint was born and the “Cachot,” an abandoned prison where the Soubirous family was forced to spend a year. Join your prayers with those of pilgrims from around the world as you pray for the sick, drink water from the miraculous spring or submerge yourself in the healing baths. Experience Christ’s love as you walk the life-sized Stations of the Cross overlooking the holy Grotto and kneel in the chapel built on the very rock of the Grotto, in obedience to the request of the “Immaculate Conception.” Afternoons are usually for Blessed Sacrament Processions, while in the evening you can join the candlelight procession, carrying candles and torches, as well as a statue of the Virgin Mary and walking for around for 1.5 hours before receiving a blessing from a priest, and it is also possible to be part of the choir or rosary too. Dinner and overnight.
After an early breakfast transfer to the airport to catch your flight to Rome. Upon arrival your escort will warmly greet and welcome you to Italy. Transfer to your hotel and enjoy a free afternoon for rest, relax, or exploration. You tour escort can suggest sights or walks for you to enjoy.
Wake up in Eternal City, one of the greatest centers of Western Civilization and the first truly cosmopolitan city on earth! It is also spiritual capital for all the Catholics around the world. Today is truly a day we will have in our minds for many years to come. This morning we go to Vatican City to attend the weekly Papal Audience or Blessing given by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI (pending papal schedule). Following the audience visit of the Vatican Museums, a group of most impressive edifices with hundreds of galleries filled with art treasures. See awe-inspiring relics and works of art donated throughout centuries as tributes of faith. Well cover The Tapestry Gallery, The Raphael Rooms and the most overwhelming Sistine Chapel, and Michelangelos Masterpiece, restored mural of the Last Judgment. Later, enter the largest church in Christendom St Peters Basilica, built on the site where St Peter was martyred. Unsurpassed in beauty, a monument to the long history of the Catholic Church, to which pilgrims come from around the world, St Peters is the grandest of the worlds churches where you can also admire Michelangelos Pieta and Berninis amazing bronze canopy. We will also visit the grave of Pope John Paul II located at the Vatican. Before dinner, well have some time at leisure, to explore your own paths, to shop, or just to sit in one of the outside cafes and watch the world going by.
This morning we depart for a sightseeing tour entitled Christian Rome which includes: the Basilica of St. Mary Major, one of the oldest shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, a shrine that contains a relic from the manger of the infant Jesus; the Holy Stairs, the Basilica of St. John the Lateran, former residence of the popes prior to their return to Rome in 1377; St Paul Outside the Walls, which houses the remains of St Paul under its main altar; and the Appian Way the oldest road from Roman timesplus the famous Domino Quo Vadis Chapel; see the ancient Baths of Caracalla, Arch of Drusus; Tomb of Celilia Metella, and the catacombs of St Callixtus where the early Christians hid themselves to escape persecution. We will also enjoy a visit to the Trevi fountain. Dinner and overnight for your last evening in Rome.
Afternoon departure from Rome for your flights to Medjugorje. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by a tour guide and/or driver who will then take you on the 2 1/2 hour drive by private coach to the village of Medjugorje. Guide will be with your throughout your stay. Once there, you’ll meet your fellow pilgrims and your spiritual leader and be introduced to your host family in whose modern and comfortable house you will be staying for the next four nights.
Experience the beauty and peace of this simple village. During your stay in Medjugorje you will have the opportunity to share faith with pilgrims from all over the world. Our local guide will accompany us throughout your stay.
Here are some of the activities you’ll be sharing with our fellow pilgrims: Each morning at 10am we assemble at St. James Church for the English-language Mass (Feast days and Sundays English Mass is at Noon). Follow the path up Apparition Hill where the visionaries first encountered Our Lady. Touch and pray before the cross that commemorates the spot where Mary first appeared to the visionaries.
Each evening at 5pm or 6pm daylight savings time, we will join the villagers and pilgrims to pray the rosary. The apparition takes place at 5:40pm or 6:40 daylight savings time, and then stay on for Croatian Mass. Don’t miss on Tuesdays and Saturdays Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and on Fridays Veneration of the Cross in the Church. Each evening during Croatian Mass, there is the Blessing of the Sick and blessing of the items you have with you.
Our guide will arrange meetings with the visionaries at their own homes provided that they are in Medjugorje during your trip, and pending their availability. We will have the opportunity to climb Krizevac Mountain, where in 1933 the villagers built a 30′ high cross on the anniversary of Jesus’ crucifixion. Visit and pray at “Blue Cross”, which is a place of great healings and graces- a very special place at the base of Apparition Hill.
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, we leave by motor coach for Dubrovnik Airport (Split or Sarajevo) for return flights home