12 Days/ 11 Nights. The Fatima, Spain, Lourdes and Rome ends with 3 nights in Rome. Comprehensive sightseeing in Rome includes the Vatican museum, Sistine Chapel, ancient Rome and papal audience (when available). Airfare from your U.S. home city is available with this tour. Breakfast and dinner daily is included while on tour.
Day 1 - Arrive Lisbon
Upon arrival in Lisbon you will find your luggage and exit the baggage claim into the arrivals hall where you will be greeted by a tour guide and/or driver. You will be escorted to the vehicle which will then take you on a sightseeing tour of this beautiful Portuguese city. We will visit the Cathedral, St. Jerome's Monastery, Saint Anthony's Church (the patron saint of lost objects), Belem Quarter, the Belem Tower, 25 April Bridge, and Discoveries Monument. Our drive will also take us through the Basilica of the Star, Rossio Square, Commerce Square and Marquee of Pomba Square. We arrive at our hotel in time for dinner.
Day 2 - Lisbon - Santarem - Fatima
After breakfast depart for Santarem, one of the oldest cities in the world. We will walk through its narrow streets to the Church of St. Stephen, containing the oldest recorded Eucharistic miracle. This miracle has been on continuous display since 1269 A.D. We will celebrate Mass at this holy site. We then continue on to Fatima, where the Blessed Mother appeared in 1917 to three shepherd children and exhorted mankind to pray for world peace. We arrive in time for dinner and retire for a restful evening.
Days 3 - Fatima
After breakfast, we begin our day celebrating Mass at the Little Chapel of the Apparitions. After Mass we begin our tour of Fatima where we will experience the beauty of this spiritual town. We will see the Basilica (the site of Francesco and Jacinta's graves), the Hamlet of Aljustrel (where the children lived), and Valinhos (the site of Our Lady's appearance after the children's return from prison). Experience Christ's love as you walk and follow the Stations of the Cross along the Via Sacra (The Sacred Way) culminating in the Chapel of Calvary, which overlooks all of Fatima. Join your prayers with those of pilgrims from around the world as you pray for the sick, and drink water from the miraculous well. Attend the blessing of the sick and participate in nightly candlelight processions requested by Our Lady. Time for private devotions before dinner and a restful night's sleep.
Day 4 - Fatima - Salamanca
After a filling breakfast we depart towards the city of Salamanca. Salamanca is the most graceful city in Spain and for four centuries it was the seat of one of the most prestigious universities in the world. We will have a chance to see many of the city's sights including the grand Plaza Mayor (the hub of Salmantine life), the vast Baroque church of La Clerecía, the Casa de las Con-chas (House of Shells, named after the rows of carved scallop shells symbol of the pilgrimage to Santiago which decorate its façade), the university, the cathedrals, the Roman Bridge, San Marcos and San Martin churches Bridges, San Marcos and San Martin churches, and more. We will enjoy a delicious dinner in a local restaurant before continuing to our hotel for a restful overnight.
Day 5 - Salamanca - Alba de Tomes - Avila - Burgos
After breakfast, we will depart to the quaint village of Alba de Tormes. Here we will visit and celebrate Mass at the Carmelite Monastery, where Saint Teresa died in 1582 A.D. and is buried. In the little museum of the Carmelite Monastery we will be able to see the heart and left arm of the St. Teresa. We enjoy free time for lunch before we continue our journey to Ávila. Two things distinguish Ávila: the perfectly preserved eleventh-century walls which surround the old town, and the mystic writer Santa Teresa, who was born here and whose shrines are a must see for all Catholic pilgrims! Ávila's atmosphere has changed very little since the days of Santa Teresa, the first woman to be named a Doctor of the Church, to whom the city is dedicated. During our tour of Ávila we will see the Cathedral and San Vicente church. We will visit the Incarnation Convent, where St. Teresa became a nun and home to the most comprehensive museum dedicated to her life. We also visit La Santa Monastery (built on the site of the house where she was born), and San José Convent (the first monastery founded by the Saint). After walking in the footsteps of St. Teresa we depart for Burgos, the historic capital of Old Castile. After dinner you will have free time to explore Burgos, and admire the magnificent limestone Cathedral.
Day 6 - Burgos - Loyola - Lourdes
After breakfast, we depart Burgos for Loyola, the birthplace of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. Here, we will see the 17th-century Basilica dedicated to St. Ignatius. We will visit his family home which is behind the sanctuary. We will have time to pray at the most venerated room where Ignatius at age 30, was brought following his serious wounding at the Battle of Pamplona. After free time for lunch we motor through the spectacular Pyrenees Mountains. Nestled in the mountains stands picturesque Lourdes,the birthplace of St. Bernadette to whom Our Lady appeared in 1858 near the Grotto of Massabielle. We arrive in time for dinner at our hotel before retiring to our rooms for a restful night's sleep.
Day 7 & 8 - Lourdes
During the next two days in Lourdes you will have time to pray with your fellow pilgrims from around the world.
During your trip you will have an opportunity to: Attend Mass at the Grotto, watch a video presentation telling the story of Lourdes, and 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. 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 lifesized Stations of the Cross over-looking the holy Grotto. Kneel in the chapel built on the very rock of the Grotto, in obedience to the request of the "Immaculate Conception." Evenings are free for optional Blessed Sacrament Procession before dinner. Your role in the universal church will have new meaning as you join the candlelight procession and group rosary. (candle light procession and group rosary April through October only).
Day 9 - Lourdes - Rome
After an early breakfast we make our way to Toulouse or Pau Airport for our short flight(s) to Rome. Upon arrival you will be greeted by your tour guide and/or driver. After a warm welcome to Italy, you will be escorted to your transportation to your hotel. Enjoy a free afternoon for rest, relaxation, or exploration. Your tour escort can suggest sights or walks for you to enjoy. Tonight we will enjoy a delicious Italian dinner!
Day 10 - Rome: Vatican Museum – Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls - Catacombs
Following breakfast, we will depart to celebrate Mass in the largest church in Christendom, St Peter's 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 Peter's is the grandest of the world's churches. Marvel Pieta and Bernini's amazing bronze canopy. Following Mass, we will visit of the Vatican Museums, containing a group of the 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. We'll cover The Tapestry Gallery, The Raphael Rooms and the most overwhelming Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo's Masterpiece, restored mural of the Last Judgment. The tour ends as we make our way back into St. Peter’s Basilica. Pope Francis visited the tomb of St. Peter, following his elevation, for a visit of devotion that lasted 45 minutes. He is the first Pontiff to visit the necropolis since extensive archaeological excavations were conducted at the ancient site decades ago. We will also visit the tomb of St. John Paul II located at the Vatican. There will be free time for lunch, and then we will continue on to visit St Paul. Outside the Walls. Continue our tour via the Appian Way -- the oldest road from Roman times--plus 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 conclude our day and wonderful stay in Rome with dinner at a local restaurant in Rome.
Day 11 - Rome: Papal Audience / Papal Blessing – Trevi Fountain / Piazza Novona – Basilica of St. John the Lateran and St. Mary Major – Holy Steps
Following breakfast, we will make our way to St. Peter’s Square to attend the Papal Audience, led by His Holiness, Pope Francis. (Papal Audience: Is scheduled to take place every Wednesday, pending the schedule of Pope Francis.) Following the audience, we will make our way to the Trevi Fountain built in the 15th Century to mark the ending destination of the Aqua Virgo – a man-made channel erected in 19 B.C or Piazza Novona where at the center: Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi “Fountain of the Four Rivers. After free time for lunch we will visit the Basilica of St. John the Lateran, the Pope’s cathedral church where relics of both Peter and Paul remain under the main altar. It was here that Pope Francis was formally installed as Bishop of Rome. Next we cross the street to see the Holy Staircase which is believed to be a staircase from Pilate’s palace in Jerusalem and brought to Rome by St. Helen in the 4th century. Time permitting we may climb the steps on our knees in memory of Christ’s Passion. Continue to the Basilica of St. Mary Major, the most important and the oldest church dedicated to Our Lady. St. Mary Major contains a relic from the manger of the infant Jesus. We will celebrate Mass, and then make our way to dinner and overnight.
Day 12 Rome - Arrivederci
We bid farewell to our new friends and to a pilgrimage which will be in our memories and heart for a long time to come. Early departure from Rome Airport for our return flight to the USA.
If you wish to be paired up in a double room with a roommate (same gender) please indicate in the reservation process.