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 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.
Sample Day-by-Day Itinerary:
Day 1 - Depart USA Depart USA for your overnight flight to France. Dinner and breakfast will be served on board.
Day 2 - Lourdes Upon your arrival in Lourdes transfer to your hotel. Relax or explore before dinner, followed by a candlelight procession before retiring. Dinner and overnight.
Days 3 to 7 - Lourdes Mass at the Grotto, enjoy 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. 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. Kneel in the chapel built on the very rock of the Grotto, in obedience to the request of the "Immaculate Conception." Evenings are for Blessed Sacrament Procession before dinner. Your role in the universal church will have new meaning as you join the candlelight procession and group rosary.
* The last 3 days your trip in Lourdes is meant to provide you with time for a personal retreat. As such, this time in Lourdes is not designed to be a “tour”, but rather to provide you with time to pray, reflect, and explore on your own as you feel called. Please note that there will not be a Spiritual Director with you during the last 3 days, however Daily Mass in English, are available at the Basilica in Lourdes . This time in Lourdes you will have full discretion over how your time is spent, in order to have the fullest spiritual experience possible.
Days 8 - Lourdes - Rome
Travel by flight(s) to Rome. Upon arrival your escort will warmly greet you this morning and welcome you to Italy. Transfer to your hotel and enjoy a free afternoon for rest, relaxation, or exploration. You tour escort can suggest sights or walks for you to enjoy.
Day 9 - Rome (Papal Audience and Vatican Museum Tour) 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 the Pope (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. We'll cover The Tapestry Gallery, The Raphael Rooms and the most overwhelming Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo's Masterpiece, restored mural of the Last Judgment. Later, enter 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. We will also visit the grave of Pope John Paul II located at the Vatican. Before dinner, we'll 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 go by.
Days 10 - Rome
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, The Basilica of the St John in Lateran, is the 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 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 also enjoy a visit to the Trevi fountain. Dinner and overnight for your last evening in Rome.
Day 11 - Rome - USA Depart for Rome for our return flights to the USA
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Private Room (Single Supplement)
Land with Inter-European Flights One-Way flight from Lourdes to Rome (no international airfare or arrival/departure transfers are included)