We depart en route to Lisbon.
We arrive in Lisbon, and are met by our escort, who will accompany us throughout our journey. We transfer to our hotel for dinner and the evening. (D)
We begin with a visit to 'Santo Antonio Da Se', marking the site where St. Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of Portugal, was born in 1195. Here we celebrate Mass. We make a visit to the Cathedral housing the Saint's baptismal font. As our tour continues we see the Belem Tower and the Gothic monastery of St. Jeronimo. The balance of the afternoon is free for shopping. Dinner is on our own tonight. (B)
We depart Lisbon and stop at the charming fishing village of Nazare (named after Nazareth) and home to a local devotion to the Blessed Mother. The Chapel of the Black Madonna of Our Lady of Nazare is dramatically set on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Here we celebrate today's Mass. Then we take some time to stroll along this quaint seaside village. We continue on our way to Fatima for dinner and the evening. (B, D)
Today we begin with Mass, then visit the Tombs of Francisco and Jacinto; the Aljustrel where the children lived; and the Valinhos, where Our Lady appeared after the children's return from prison. We have the option of praying the Stations of the Cross, plus we have time for our own devotions. Tonight we enjoy a festive welcome dinner at Ourem Castle, with the show of the ancient kings and queens. The Castle of Ourém is also known as the "Castle of the Queen of the World" due to the fact that the light that transported Our Lady to her apparitions at Fatima in 1917 was seen to form directly above the castle mount. In 1967, Pope Paul VI reconfirmed this designation to Bishop John Venancio of Leiria when he flew over the castle on his way to Fatima for the 50th anniversary celebrations. (B, D)
This morning we begin with Mass at the Little Chapel of the Apparitions. Then, we board our motor coach and make our way to Coimbra. The city of Coimbra is famous for its monuments, churches, libraries, numerous parks, gardens, nightlife, shopping facilities and above all for its University of Coimbra, one of the oldest and one of the most prestigious universities in Europe. After a visit to Coimbra, we proceed to Salamanca for dinner and the evening. (B, D)
Salamanca lies on a plateau by the Tormes river, which is crossed by a bridge 500 ft long built on 26 arches, fifteen of which are of Roman origin, while the remainder date from the 16th century. The great University of Salamanca is the oldest university in Spain and one of the oldest in Europe. The city has been declared a "World Heritage Site" by UNESCO. This morning we celebrate Mass in Salamanca's famous cathedral. After Mass we leave for Avila to see the hometown of St. Theresa of Avila. One of the finest remnants of Europe's medieval era, the walled town of Avila was sacred to an ancient Celtiberian culture long before the arrival of the Romans or Christians. The city's protective walls, built in the 12th century, extend for 2,500 meters (8202 ft.) and encircle the old town. The massive walls are punctuated by ninety, heavily fortified stone towers. The current church in the center of town, begun in 1091 and completed in the 13th century, is where the mystic St. Teresa (1515-1582) had frequent visions and ecstatic experiences. Nearby the church stands the house where St. Teresa lived. Finally, we make our way to Burgos, home to Spain's most remarkable gothic cathedral. Dinner is at our hotel in Burgos. (B, D)
We depart Burgos to Loyola to visit the Sanctuary of St. Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), where we celebrate Mass. We continue via the coastal resort town of San Sebastian to Lourdes. San Sebastian lies against the Bay of Biscay, surrounded by green mountains. The narrow streets of the Old Quarter are packed with bars and restaurants. The Plaza de la Constitución is where you will find the library, once the Town Hall. The square was once used as a bullring. The Basilica of Santa Maria del Coro, patron saint of the city, can be found on the only street that remains from the 1813 fire, the Calle 31 de Agosto. The old quarter opens out to the sea at the harbour, home to the fishing fleet as well as the pleasure craft. Here you will find the Naval Museum and the Aquarium. Tonight we enjoy dinner at our hotel in Lourdes. Then we are free to participate in the evening processions. (B, D)
In 1858, 14 year-old Bernadette Soubirous declared that the Virgin had appeared to her several times in the Cave of Massabielle and had said to her in the local patois, "I am the Immaculate Conception."
We begin this morning with Mass. After Mass, we enjoy a walking tour "In the Footsteps of Bernadette." We visit the Cachot (former jail cell that once served as the Soubirous family's home); the parish church; Fr. Peyramale's Presbytery; the Hospice and the Boly Mill. This afternoon at 4:30PM we are welcome to participate in the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessing of the Sick (subject to seasonal schedules). After dinner at the hotel, we return to the Sanctuary this evening for the Rosary and Torchlight Procession, beginning about 8:30PM (subject to seasonal schedules). After the procession, we return to our hotel. (B, D)
This morning we attend Mass at the Grotto with groups from around the world, then we prepare for our departing train to Paris. We will ride the TGV, France's high-speed train that will whisk us across the scenic countryside and deliver us in Paris. Our motor coach will be waiting to transfer us to our hotel for dinner and the evening. (B, D)
This morning we visit the Shrine of St. Catherine Laboure where the tradition of the Miraculous Medal began. Here we celebrate Mass. The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared 3 times to St. Catherine starting in July of 1830. She asked St. Catherine to have a medal struck and showed her exactly what the medal should look like. She told St. Catherine this message, "All those who carry this will receive Grace in abundance, especially if they wear the medal around their neck and say this prayer (O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee) confidently, they will receive special protection from the Mother of God and abundant graces." St. Catherine is one of the incorrupt saints and seeing her body, she looks as if she just died yesterday.
We visit as well the nearby sights of the repose of St. Louise de Marilac and St. Vincent de Paul, located in the Motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity. Afterwards we enjoy a panoramic sightseeing tour of some of the sites of Paris, including Invalides, the Champs Elysees, and Eiffel Tower. Dinner is at the hotel. (B, D)
St. Therese, the Little Flower of Jesus, is a saint who remains dear to the heart of millions of Catholics. Today we pay a visit to the most important sites relative to her life. Therese came to Lisieux with her family when she was aged 4 ½ years old. St. Therese entered the Carmelite convent at age 15 and stayed until her death at age 24. We visit Les Buissonets where she lived until she entered the Carmel Convent. We also see the Carmel Chapel and Basilica of St. Therese, where we celebrate Mass. We return to Paris today for dinner at our hotel. (B, D)
Our visit of Paris today includes two of the city's most famous churches: the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Basilica of Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart). Notre Dame is our first stop, the name synonymous with Paris. Then we are off to Montmartre, an artists' quarter overlooking Paris. Here we find the Basilica dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, where we celebrate Mass. The afternoon is at leisure for shopping, and we gather at a nearby restaurant for our farewell dinner. (B, D)