About Lourdes: She came for you and for everyone of us! 6 million pilgrims come to Lourdes each year and 10,000 visit this site daily. At the foot of the Pyrenees mountains in southwestern France, nestled between the spectacular mountain river, Gave de Pau, is Lourdes, one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the World. Lourdes is the birthplace of St Bernadette to whom Our Lady appeared in 1858 near the Grotto of Massabielle. Our pilgrimage and tour of Lourdes includes visits to the sanctuary and the Basilica of St Pius X, the world's largest underground church. Drink from the spring that the Virgin directed Bernadette to locate at the base of the grotto, which has flowed uninterrupted since 1858. Wash yourself in the baths where hundreds of miraculous cures have taken place. Contemplate Christ's Passion as you pray the unique three-dimensional Stations of the Cross. Attend the blessing of the sick, and participate in nightly candlelight processions requested by Our Lady. Daily Mass, and Mass at the Grotto on Sunday will be followed by a video presentation telling the miraculous story of Lourdes. Visit Lourdes and experience a spiritual journey from which many have claimed healing and conversion.
About Lisieux & Paris: Visit town of Lisieux, the home of St Therese whom Pope Pius X called "the greatest saint of modern times" Visit Paris and all its wonderful sights like Notre Dame Cathedral and Sacre Coeur, see the sights as the Eiffel Tower, L'Arc de Triomphe, and drive through the Champs Elysees. Mass at Shrine of the Miraculous Medal.
About Rome: Rome has been one of history's most powerful and important cities, along with home to the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope, and the site of the Vatican City. First built in 337, St. Peter's Basilica lies over the tomb of St. Peter. Contained within is a vast array of the most beautiful artwork ever assembled, reflecting the immensity, beauty, vastness, majesty, glory and awesomeness of God.
Day 1 - Depart USA
Depart USA for your overnight flight to Europe. Dinner and breakfast will be served on board.
Day 2 - Lourdes
Upon arrival in Europe you will connect with your flight to Toulouse, Pau or Lourdes airport. Upon arrival 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 your scenic drive to Lourdes. Upon arrival you will check in to your hotel and relax or explore before dinner. Following dinner you may choose to participate in the candlelight procession before retiring for the evening.
Days 3 & 4 - 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 overlooking 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 (candlelight procession & group rosary only occur April- October).
Day 5 -Lourdes - Paris
After an early breakfast we make our way to Lourdes or Pau Airport for our short flight to Paris. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by our tour guide and brought to your transportation. You will have free time for lunch and then depart for our tour of Paris. We will begin with holy Mass at the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal. View the incorrupt body of St. Catherine Labouret whose guardian angel led her to the chapel where the Blessed Virgin displayed a vision of the miraculous medal and later the green scapular. The Virgin promised bountiful graces for all who wore these. Next we depart on our sightseeing tour which includes the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, L'Arc de Triomphe, the and Champs Elysees. Enjoy other sights on this mostly panoramic tour. We enjoy a lovely dinner before returning to our hotel for a restful overnight.
Day 6 - Excursion to Lisieux, St. Therese the Little Flower
After breakfast, we depart for Lisieux where we will enjoy a tour of the home of St. Therese whom Pope Pius X called "the greatest saint of modern times." Her extraordinary love for God and service to humanity comes alive as you visit the Basilica of Saint Therese, one of the biggest and most magnificent religious structures built in the 20th-century. While in Lisiuex we will celebrate Mass will be celebrated. We will stop at Les Buissonets, St. Therese's family home, there on display are relics, clothing, and personal objects belonging to the "little flower." Before leaving tour the ancient Cathedral of St. Peter and the Carmelite Convent. We return on to Paris for dinner and overnight.
Day 7 - Excursion to Nevers, the body of St. Bernadette
After breakfast, we depart for Nevers by way of the picturesque Loire Valley. After taking the veil in 1867, St. Bernadette lived for 12 years as a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Nevers. At least three times during her short lifetime, she received the last Sacraments. In addition to asthma, she was gradually struck by other illnesses, among them was tuberculosis of the lung and a tubercular tumor in her right knee. St. Bernadette eventually died at the age of 35. See St. Bernadette's incorrupt body at the convent of St. Gildard, miraculously preserved since her death in 1879. We return to Paris for dinner and overnight.
Day 8 - Paris - Rome
After breakfast, we transfer to Paris Airport for our short flight to Rome. Upon arrival in Rome Airport you will find your luggage and exit the baggage claim into the arrivals hall where you will be greeted by your tour escort 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.
Day 9 - Christian Rome
This morning we awake in the Eternal City, one of the centers of Western civilization! After a filling breakfast we depart on our sightseeing tour which will offer insight into the most significant Catholic sites in Rome. We will have an opportunity to see the Basilica of St. Mary Major, one of the oldest shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, which contains a relic from the Manger of the infant Jesus. We will see the Holy Stairs and visit the Basilica of St. John the Lateran, which was the residence of the popes prior to returning to Rome in 1377. We also explore St. Paul Outside the Walls, which houses the remains of St. Paul under its main altar. We will see the Appian Way, the oldest road from Roman times, as well as the famous Domino Quo Vadis Chapel, the ancient Baths of Caracalla, Arch of Drusus and the Tomb of Celilia Metella. Our day ends with a special visit to one of the catacombs, such as St. Callixtus, where the early Christians hid themselves to escape persecution for their devout faith. Time permitting we will also visit the Trevi Fountain to take part in the tradition of throwing 3 coins into the fountain in hopes of returning to Rome. After a day filled with faith and beauty we enjoy a tasty dinner before retiring for the night.
Day 10 - Rome (Papal Audience and Vatican Museum Tour)
After an early breakfast we depart for Vatican City, the spiritual capital for all Catholics around the world. Vatican City is it's own citystate nestle within Rome, and it even has it's own currency and postage! Today is truly a day which will live in our hearts for many years to come. We make our way to St. Peter's Basilica where we will attend the Papal Audience given by His Holiness the Pope (pending papal schedule). Following the audience we will visit the Vatican Museums, an astonishing series of galleries which contain the most impressive spiritual and art treasures. You will see aweinspiring relics and works of art donated throughout centuries as tributes of faith. We will visit the Tapestry Gallery, the Raphael Rooms and the breathtaking Sistine Chapel where we will see Michelangelo's masterpiece the Last Judgment. We continue our exploration of the Vatican as we enter the largest church in Christendom - St. Peter's Basilica. Built on the site where St. Peter was martyred. St. Peter's is unsurpassed in beauty; a monument to the long history of the Catholic Church, to which pilgrims from around the world flock. You will have time to marvel at the Pieta and Bernini's amazing bronze canopy. We will also visit the tomb of Saint John Paul II located in the Vatican. After a day exploring the home of our Catholic faith, we gather together to dine and reminisce about our day with our fellow pilgrims. We return to our hotel to settle in for a restful sleep on our last night in Rome.
Day 11 - Rome - USA
We bid farewell to Italy and our new pilgrimage family as we depart for Rome Airport. During the drive take time to reflect on the memories that will remain in your heart for a lifetime.