Day 1:Arrive In Lisbon, Portugal.
Welcome to Portugal! Check into your hotel, and tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.Day 2:Lisbon—Santarém—Fátima.
See all the highlights on your guided tour of Lisbon. Visit the CATHEDRAL LA SE’, where St. Anthony was baptized, and JERONIMOS MONASTERY. Stop in Santarém to visit the CHURCH OF THE EUCHARISTIC HOLY MIRACLE. Arrive in Fátima, enjoy an orientation walk and visit the Tomb of the Visionaries and the Chapel of the Apparitions. This evening, join pilgrims from around the world for the ROSARY and candlelight procession at the Our Lady of Fátima Basilica. (B,D)Day 3:Fátima.
Today, join an optional excursion to Tomar with a visit to the Monastery-Fortress of the Knights Templar. This afternoon, attend [M] Mass at the Sanctuary of Our Lady with time to wander on your own. This evening, perhaps join the Rosary. (B,D)Day 4:Fátima—Braga—Santiago De Compostela, Spain.
Stop in Braga to visit the BOM JESUS DO MONTE SANCTUARY. Continue into Spain and head for Santiago de Compostela. On arrival, an orientation walk introduces you to the old city center. Then, attend the [M] Pilgrims Mass in ST. JAMES’ CATHEDRAL, which houses the Apostle James’ remains beneath the high alter, followed by the famous Botafumeiro to close the celebration. (B,D)Day 5:Santiago De Compostela.
This morning, join an optional excursion to Cabo Finisterre, where pilgrims have traditionally completed their walk and burned their robes. Later, return to Santiago de Compostela, known throughout history for the key 9th-century pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago (or Way of St. James) with time to explore on your own. (B)Day 6:Santiago De Compostela—Burgos.
Today, travel to Burgos, historic capital of Old Castile. Your visit takes you to the magnificent CATHEDRAL, a masterpiece of gothic architecture and burial place of Spain’s national hero, El Cid. (B)Day 7:Burgos—San Ignacio De Loyola—Lourdes, France.
Travel through the Basque region toward Lourdes. En route, pause to reflect and attend [M] Mass at the 17th-century SANCTUARY OF LOYOLA, built in honor of San Ignacio de Loyola, founder of the Jesuit religious order. See its spectacular dome and marble and jasper main altarpiece. Cross into France and overnight in Lourdes, home to another of the world’s most famous places of pilgrimage. Join the nightly ROSARY and candlelight procession for a memorable spiritual experience. (B,D)Day 8:Lourdes.
Today’s guided walking tour includes the GROTTO, where the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858, Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine, BERNADETTE’S BIRTHPLACE, and her family home. The afternoon is at leisure to further explore this little market town and to attend Mass, if you like. (B,D)Day 9:Lourdes—Carcassonne—Barcelona, Spain.
This morning, head for the France/Spain border. En route, visit the FORTIFIED CITADEL of Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the ramparts, castle walls, and drawbridges that are still well preserved from the Middle Ages. Overnight in Catalonia’s lively and beautiful capital, Barcelona. (B)Day 10:Barcelona.
Today’s guided sightseeing includes a drive around Montjuïc to see the Olympic Stadium and a great panoramic view of the port and city. Continue to the city center to admire Gaudi’s eccentric Houses Batlló and Milà, as well as his SAGRADA FAMILIA. (B)Day 11:Barcelona.
Today is at leisure to explore as you like or maybe join the optional excursion to the pilgrimage site of Montserrat. Situated 4,055 feet above sea level, this is the site of the Benedictine abbey that hosts the Black Virgin of Montserrat Sanctuary, patron saint of Catalonia. This evening, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)Day 12:Barcelona—Rome, Italy.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Rome. (B,D)Day 13:Rome.
This morning, attend the PAPAL AUDIENCE (subject to availability) for the chance to see the Pope and receive the Papal Blessing. Later, visit ST. PAUL OUTSIDE THE WALLS, burial place of St. Paul the Apostle and one of Rome’s four major Papal basilicas, along with ST. JOHN LATERAN BASILICA, built by Constantine the Great in the 4th century. Next, visit the Papal sanctuary of the SCALA SANCTA (Holy Stairs), transported from Jerusalem to Rome around 326 AD by St. Helena, Emperor Constantine’s mother. These 28 marble steps are traditionally ascended in a kneeling position with a prayer recital dedicated to Jesus Christ. Then, visit the impressive ST. MARY MAJOR BASILICA and attend [M] Mass. (B)Day 14:Rome.
The “Eternal City” is steeped in history, vibrantly alive and exciting, and of course the Holy See! Included sightseeing with a Local Guide starts in Vatican City with St. Peter’s Square and Basilica. Other highlights are the iconic Colosseum, the largest amphitheater ever built; the Roman Forum; Piazza Venezia, and Campidoglio. An optional visit is available to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, world famous for Michelangelo’s impressive fresco of The Last Judgment. (B)Day 15:Rome—Monte Cassino—Pietrelcina—San Giovanni Rotondo.
Head deeper south today, stopping first in Monte Cassino to see the monastery and visit the ABBEY perched high above the valley. The monastery was the motherhouse of the Benedictines, founded in 529 AD and destroyed four times over the centuries. Then, stop in quaint Pietrelcina, birthplace of the beloved St. Pio, before heading towards San Giovanni Rotondo on the eastern coast, the Saint’s home from 1916 until his death in 1968. (B,D)Day 16:San Giovanni Rotondo. Excursion To Monte Sant’Angelo.
Attend [M] Mass this morning at SANTA MARIA DELLE GRAZIE (Old Church), then visit the FRIARY of Padre Pio, including his tomb, cell, confessional, and the PADRE PIO PILGRIMAGE CHURCH (New Church). Afterwards, take a short drive to the nearby SHRINE OF MONTE SANT’ANGELO, one of Christendom’s most celebrated shrines and where St. Michael the Archangel appeared in 490, 492, and 1656. (B,D)Day 17:San Giovanni Rotondo—Lanciano—Loreto—Assisi Area.
Visit ST. FRANCIS’ church in Lanciano, home of the Sanctuary of the Eucharistic Miracle, and attend morning [M] Mass. Continue to the LORETO SANCTUARY, including the HOLY HOUSE, where, according to tradition, angels transported the home of the blessed Virgin Mary. Arrive at the hilltop village of Assisi, home of St. Francis and St. Clare. (B,D)Day 18:Assisi.
Attend early morning [M] Mass at St. Francis Basilica, famous for its 14th-century Giotto paintings depicting the life of St. Francis, then meet your Local Guide and visit the UPPER and LOWER BASILICAS of St. Francis and the BASILICA OF ST. CLARE, founder of the Order of Poor Clares. Next, visit the BASILICA of Santa Maria degli Angeli, situated at the foot of Assisi’s hills and protecting the Porziuncola, where St. Francis is said to have founded the Order of Friars Minor in 1209, and the Cappella del Transito, where the Saint died in 1226. (B)Day 19:Assisi Area—Cascia—Rome.
Travel to Cascia this morning, home of St. Rita, the “Patron Saint of Impossible Causes.” Visit the SANCTUARY and see the Major Basilica, the chapel that houses the tomb of St. Rita. Also, see the Minor Basilica, home of the Eucharistic Miracle that is commemorated each year with the Feast of Corpus Christi. Return to Rome for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)Day 20:Rome.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
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