~ 2 nights: Hotel Machiavelli Palace, Florence † Transfers as per itinerary † Breakfast and Dinner daily † Wine with dinners † Assistance of a professional local Catholic guide(s) † Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary † Admisson to Vatican City † Admission to Vatican Museum † Catholic Priest available for Spiritual Direction † Mass daily & Spiritual activities † Luggage handling (1 piece per person) †Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
*Special Clergy Discount *Discount is offered to ordained clergy in the Roman Catholic Church: deacons, priests, or bishops belonging to the diaconate, the presbyterate, or the episcopate, respectively as well, as Catholic Sisters.
Day 1 – Depart for Lisbon
Make your way to your local airport, where you will board your overnight flight(s). Your meals will be served on board.
Day 2 - Arrive Lisbon Upon landing at the Lisbon Portela Airport, you will make your way to the baggage claim area and collect your luggage. Then, you will proceed to the Arrival’s Hall where you will be greeted by your tour guide and/or driver. You will be escorted to the vehicle which will take you on a sightseeing tour of the coastal city of Lisbon. This tour begins at the city’s oldest cathedral, the Lisbon Cathedral. This Romanesque structure truly emanates the ancient culture and history that Lisbon holds. The tour continues on to St. Jerome’s Monastery, built to give thanks to the Virgin Mary for guiding Vasco da Gama on his voyage that linked Europe and Asia. In this Monastery, you will clearly observe the maritime theme that commemorates the Portuguese triumph during the Age of Exploration (15th-17th centuries). The next stop is St. Anthony’s Church. Although this patron Saint of lost things is known as St. Anthony of Padua (Italy), he was originally born in Lisbon, Portugal. This Church is built upon the site of St. Anthony’s birth, and is also where Saint John Paul II visited in 1982. The former Pope stopped at this Church, on his way to Fatima, to pray to Our Lady in thanksgiving. Saint John Paul II recognizes Our Lady as saving him from being killed when he was shot one year prior, in 1981. Following, you will visit the Belem Quarter that contains the iconic entry way to the Lisbon harbor, the Belem Tower. While at this important structure of history, you will view many beautiful sculptures such as depictions of, St. Vincent and Our Lady of Safe Homecoming. The tour continues as you will have the opportunity to view the “25th of April Bridge”, inspired by the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco, California. The Ponte 25 de Abril is the oldest bridge that connects the Tagus river of Lisbon. Our tour culminates with a visit to the Discoveries Monument. This memorial commemorates the Great Explorers who, as a result of their explorations, brought Portugal to a standing of wealth and power during the Age of Discovery. This ship prow shaped structure stands at the point where the Great Explorers began their expeditions. In addition to these sites, the drive of your tour will include a “pass-by” view of the Basilica of the Star, the Rossio Square, Commerce Square, and the Marquee of Pomba Square. After a fun-filled day of sightseeing, you will enjoy a welcoming dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Day 3 - Lisbon - Santarem – Fatima
Today, your group will travel about forty-five miles north to the old city of Santarem. In Santarem, your group will visit and attend Mass at the Church of St. Stephen, which holds (13th century) Eucharistic Miracle:
The Miracle occurred when a woman yearned to change the ways of her unfaithful husband and consulted a sorceress. The sorceress agreed that she would cure the husband’s infidelity in exchange for a consecrated Host. The woman committed the sacrilege, but when she exited the church, the Host began to bleed. It bled so much that her fellow parishioners thought she had cut her hand. The woman ran home and hid the bleeding Host in a trunk. When her husband arrived home, the wife told him what she had done, and later that night there was a light emanating from the trunk. She and her husband began to kneel before the trunk. The following morning, the husband and wife brought the Host to the parish priest It was then moved to the Church ofSt. Stephen where another miracle occurred; the miraculous Host was originally put in a wax container however, when a priest opened the tabernacle to view the Host, the container was found broken, and the Host was found enclosed in a crystal pyx.
Following your visit to this miraculous site, your group will board the bus and transfer to Fatima (approximately forty-five minutes).You will arrive in time for dinner at your hotel, and a restful overnight.
Day 4 – Fatima
Today will surely be a memorable experience as you pray and meditate upon one of Our Blessed Mother’s apparition sites. Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children; Lucia (age 10), Jacinta (age 7), and Francisco (age 9). These apparitions occurred monthly from May until October of 1917. Historically, as the entire world was in true turmoil, Our Lady’s most prominent message during this time was to pray for world peace. The destruction of the world at that point in history was also mentioned by Our Lady in her messages of Fatima, and more specifically, in her second secret to the children. Our profoundly reflective day begins with Mass at the Little Chapel of the Apparitions. This simple, yet modern, chapel is the site of where the Virgin Mary first appeared on May 13, 1917. Following Mass, your tour of Fatima begins at the stunning neoclassical church, the Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima. This Sacred space contains the tombs of Francisco and Jacinta, as well as, a Monument that commemorates the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Due to Our Lady’s consistency in Her messages to pray the Rosary, this Basilica also features fifteen altars that are dedicated to the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary. Upon arriving at this Basilica, you will be able to feel, through the Love of Our Lord and Lady, the many graces that were received here. Following this visit, your tour will continue to the Hamlet of Aljustrel, the home of the three shepherd children; and Valinhos, the site of Our Lady’s August 1917 apparition. Next, your tour culminates as you and your fellow pilgrims experience Christ’s unconditional love by participating in the Stations of the Cross along the Via Sacre. The “Sacred Way” marks the path taken by the shepherd children of Fatima to their first apparition with Our Lady. It is composed of fourteen small chapels in commemoration of the Passion of Our Lord. The fifteenth station, the Resurrection, can be found below in the Chapel of Calvary, dedicated to St. Stephen of Hungary. Your night will conclude with private devotions, and a candlelight procession, requested by Our Lady (1917). Enjoy dinner and a comfortable night’s rest in Fatima.
Day 5 - Fatima – Salamanca
Your group will depart Fatima and head to Salamanca, following a full breakfast at the hotel (transfer will be approximately four hours). Salamanca is a small city in the Castilla y Leon region, and is known for its large University and prominent culture. While in Salamanca, your group will visit the most noteworthy sites such as; the grand Plaza Mayor, an iconic square filled with food, shopping and city events; La Clerecía, a church and college of the Jesuit Order that was constructed in the seventeenth century; La Casa de las Conchas, currently a public library but also, a monument noted and decorated by its shells, which symbolizes the ever-famous pilgrimage to Santiago (El Camino); the University of Salamanca, the oldest University in Spain and the third oldest in Europe; the two joint Salamanca Cathedrals (old and new), one of which is of a Gothic/Romanesque style and the other is of a Renaissance style, respectively; the Roman Bridge, extends along the River Tormes, is a national monument and among one of Salamanca’s sturdiest bridges; La iglesia de San Marcos, constructed in the Romanesque style and contains breathtaking paintings that portray many scenes of Our Lady’s life; La iglesia de San Martin, a church devoted to St. Martin de Porres, who is the patron saint of mixed-race people and all those seeking interracial harmony. Following this eventful day, you will return to your hotel for a delicious meal with your group and an overnight at your hotel in Salamanca.
Day 6 - Salamanca - Alba de Tormes - Ávila – Burgos
This morning, after breakfast, you will board the bus and enjoy a short transfer (approximately twenty minutes) to the village of Alba de Tormes. This town is home to the Carmelite Monastery that Saint Teresa founded in 1571. Upon arrival in Alba de Tormes, your group will celebrate Mass at this Monastery where the saint died and was buried. Following Mass, you will have the opportunity to visit the small museum dedicated to St. Teresa of Ávila, which also holds her incorrupt heart and left arm.Your group will enjoy free time for lunch on your own, and continue to the medieval city of Ávila (approximately one hour). Upon arrival in Ávila, you will immediately notice the perfectly preserved eleventh-century walls that surround the old town. The conservation of architecture in this city, to which St. Teresa was born, deems its shrines, convents and churches necessary to visit on any Catholic pilgrimage. During your visit to Ávila, you will have the opportunity to visit the Catedral de Ávila, whose artwork and architecture encompasses the Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance styles; la Basilica de San Vicente, of which stands on the site of the martyrdom of St. Vincent; the Incarnation Convent, where St. Teresa became a nun and most interestingly, received advice from St. John of the Cross to reform the Carmelite order; el Convento de Santa Teresa, built upon the home of St. Teresa and contains the relics of hers and of St. John of the Cross; el Convento de San Jose, the first monastery created by St. Teresa as a response to her own incessant question, “What can I do for the church?” After walking in the footsteps of St. Teresa, your group will transfer to Burgos (approximately two hours and forty minutes). Upon arrival in the historic capital of Old Castile, you will enjoy dinner with your group. Following dinner, you will have the opportunity to explore the city of Burgos, and admire its magnificent limestone, gothic-style Cathedral. Late this evening, you will return to your hotel for a restful overnight.
Day 7 - Burgos - Loyola – Lourdes
Following breakfast, your group will transfer from Burgos to Loyola (approximately two hours and twenty minutes) to visit the birthplace of St. Ignatius, founder of the Jesuit Order. St. Ignatius dedicated himself to becoming a soldier of the Christian faith, and as a result of many tribulations, he wrote the ever-famous Spiritual Exercises. In Loyola, you will see the 17th century Basilica that is dedicated to this remarkable Saint. The Basilica is part of a series of buildings that surrounds the “Holy House,” the birthplace of St. Ignatius. When you visit these Holy places, you will also have the opportunity to pray at the most venerated room, where St. Ignatius prayed and began his conversion. After meditating on the life of this founder of the Jesuit Order, you will enjoy free time for lunch and board the bus for the next destination. You will transfer through the spectacular Pyrenees Mountains, to Lourdes (approximately three and a half hours).Upon arrival in Lourdes, you will check-in to your hotel and enjoy a splendid dinner and peaceful overnight.
Day 8 & 9 – Lourdes
Over the next two days, you will wake up in a small town that is nestled within the Pyrenees Mountains. During your time in Lourdes, you will pray and meditate in yet another site of Our Lady’s apparitions. Our Lady first appeared to Bernadette in 1858, and announced herself as “The Immaculate Conception”, near the Grotto of Massabielle. At the first two apparitions, little Bernadette prayed the Rosary with Our Lady and left without any exchange of words. During the following apparitions, Our Lady emphasized God’s love for us, penance and the necessity of performing acts of penance for sinners. Throughout your time in Lourdes, you will have the opportunity to attend Mass at the Grotto of where Our Lady appeared to Bernadette; watch a video presentation that explains, in detail, the story of Lourdes; drink water from the miraculous spring that has healed many; and submerge yourself in the healing baths. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to experience Christ’s unconditional love as you meditate upon the “life size” Stations of the Cross that overlook the Grotto of Massabielle. Also, while in Lourdes, you will walk in and meditate upon the footsteps of St. Bernadette. Your group will have the opportunity to see Boly Mill, the birthplace of St. Bernadette; and the “Cachot,” an abandoned prison where Bernadette’s impoverish family lived. In the evening, you will have free time to attend the Blessed Sacrament Procession before dinner (April-October only). These processions are lit by candlelight and guided by the Most Holy Rosary. Following this prayerful experience, you will return to your hotel for dinner and a restful overnight.
Day 10 - Lourdes - Paris – Nevers Today, you will enjoy breakfast before departing for the Toulouse, Pau or Lourdes airport for your short flight to Paris (approximately one hour and twenty-five minutes). Upon arrival in Paris, your group will visit and attend Mass at the magnificent, Sacre Coeur Basilica that stands atop Montmartre Hill. The Basilica that is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was originally built in 1914, as an act of penance for infidelity that France was experiencing during that time. While on your visit, in addition to the extraordinary artwork and architecture that forms the Basilica, you will see the beautiful mosaic of the Risen Christ, the remarkable Grand Organ, and the Crypt that contains the Tombs of many notable Cardinals. Also, there will be an opportunity to ascend a staircase to the Dome where you will take in a breathtaking panoramic view of the city of Paris. Following this visit, you will enjoy lunch on own and depart for Nevers by way of the picturesque Loire Valley (approximately two and a half hours). Nevers is the site of where St. Bernadette lived for twelve years as a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Nevers. The Saint suffered from a number of illnesses such as asthma, tuberculosis of the lungs, and a tubercular tumor in her right knee. For this reason, St. Bernadette received “The Last Sacraments” three times and eventually passed away in 1879, at the age of thirty-five. Following your transfer, you will have some free time before enjoying a delicious meal and retiring for the evening in Nevers.
Day 11 – Nevers – Paris
Upon waking up in Nevers, you will enjoy breakfast followed by a visit to St. Gildard Convent, the site of where St. Bernadette’s incorrupt body rests. While here, you will pray and reflect upon the life of the beloved Saint as well as celebrate Mass. Following Mass, you will transfer to Paris (approximately three hours). In Paris, you will visit and celebrate Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, where you will view the incorrupt body of St. Catherine Laboure. The Saint’s guardian angel led her to the chapel where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her. During the apparitions, Our Lady repeatedly instructed the making and purpose of the Miraculous Medal as well as, the green scapular. According to the Blessed Virgin Mary, those who wear the Miraculous Medal and scapular will receive special protection and abundant graces. Following your prayerful and reflective experience at this elegant chapel, you will begin your sightseeing tour of Paris. The sightseeing tour includes the most iconic of locations. You will begin at the Notre Dame Cathedral, a perfect example of Gothic art and continue on to the most recognizable symbol of the city of Paris, the Eiffel Tower. Historically, the Tower’s original intent was to commemorate the centenary of the French Revolution but, later assisted in meteorology, telegraphy of World War I, radio, and television. Following this visit, your tour continues to L’Arch de Triomphe, a monument that symbolizes gratitude for those who fought for France. This monument stands at the West end of the Champ-Elysees, one of the world’s most famous boulevards and another one of our stops on the sightseeing tour. The eventful day culminates with a visit to the ever famous, Louvre Museum. This Museum is one of the finest in the world and contains a number of pieces that truly emanate not only French art but also, European culture. Your fun-filled, busy day ends with a lovely meal and a very comfortable overnight.
Day 12 - Excursion to Lisieux, St. Therese the Little Flower
This morning, your day begins with a transfer to the home of St. Therese, Lisieux (approximately two hours and fifty minutes). According to Pope Pius X, St. Therese of Lisieux was the “greatest saint of modern times.” Her extraordinary love for God and service to humanity will come alive as you walk in the great Saint’s footsteps. During your visit, you will see the beautiful Basilica of St. Therese, and the magnificent mosaics and stained glass that are contained within. Following your visit to the Basilica, you will have the opportunity to view relics, clothing and personal objects of St. Therese when you visit her family home, Les Buissonets. Additionally, you will tour the parish of St. Therese, the Cathedral of St. Peter; and the Carmelite Convent of where she entered in 1888, and is currently entombed in with her parents. Your tour of the “Little Flower’s” life culminates as you return to Paris for dinner and an overnight.
Day 13 - Paris – Rome
Following breakfast at your hotel, your group will transfer to the Charles de Gaulle Airport and board your short flight to Rome (approximately two hours). Upon arrival at the Rome Fiumicino Airport, you will collect your luggage in the baggage claim area, and continue to the Arrival’s Hall where you will be greeted by a tour guide and/or driver. Make your way to the Bus where your group will transfer to your hotel. Following check-in, your group will make their way to celebrate Mass, followed by a Welcome Dinner. After dinner, you will have the opportunity to walk to St. Peter’s Square for the Rosary (optional).
Day 14 -Rome: Papal Audience – Trevi Fountain / Piazza Navona – Basilica of St. John the Lateran and St. Mary Major – Holy Steps
Following breakfast at your hotel, your sightseeing day in Rome begins! The tour begins with the Papal Audience in St. Peter’s Square! This Audience is celebrated each Wednesday by His Holiness, Pope Francis (pending the papal schedule). Following the Papal Audience, your group will make their way to the Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain). In the times of Ancient Rome, this fountain served as the terminal point of the Aqua Virgo, the main aqueduct that supplied thermal baths. Following the Trevi Fountain, your tour continues to the beautiful, Piazza Novona. This square was built on the former Stadium of Domitian that held many festivals and sporting events (86 A.D). At the center of this square, stands the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers). There are four figures constructed on this fountain that represent four rivers: the Nile, Ganges, Danube, and Rio de la Plata. Next, your group will enjoy free time for lunch, followed by a visit to the oldest of the four major basilicas in Rome, and the home to the relics of Peter and Paul, the Basilica of St. John the Lateran. This Basilica is where Pope Francis was installed as Bishop of Rome, and where he officiates as the Bishop of Rome. Next, your group will cross the street to visit the Holy Staircase. Tradition states that this staircase is from Pontius Pilate’s palace of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus. It is also said that this Staircase was brought to Rome by St. Helen in the 4th century. If time permits, your group will climb the steps on your knees, in memory of Christ’s agonizing Passion. To conclude your day, your group will proceed to the Basilica of St. Mary Major and celebrate Mass. This Basilica contains a relic from the Manger of the Infant Jesus. Following Mass, your group will return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 15 -Rome: Vatican Museum – Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls – Catacombs
This morning, your group will enjoy breakfast at your hotel and depart for Mass. Your group will celebrate Mass at the largest Christendom Church, St. Peter’s Basilica. This Basilica was built on the site where St. Peter, the first Pope and Bishop of Rome, was martyred. Also it was Our Holy Father, Pope Francis who was the first Pontiff to visit the necropolis since extensive archaeological excavations were conducted at the ancient site decades ago. At this Basilica, your group will have the opportunity to view Michelangelo’s Pieta. This stunning marble sculpture depicts the Virgin Mary holding Christ after His crucifixion, death, and removal off the cross before being placed in the tomb. Following, your group will proceed to one of the many Vatican Museums. At the world-renowned museum, you will see the most impressive of edifices, galleries, and awe-inspiring relics. Additionally, your group will have the opportunity to observe the Tapestry Gallery, Raphael Rooms, Sistine Chapel, and Michelangelo’s Masterpiece, the restored mural of the Last Judgment. The final stop on your Vatican tour is at the tomb of Saint John Paul II. Afterward, your group will enjoy free time for lunch on your own, or to purchase souvenirs from Vatican City. We will then begin the short journey down the Appian Way, the earliest road of Ancient Rome. This road will lead to the Domino Quo Vadis Chapel, the Baths of Caracalla, the Arch of Drusus, the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, and the catacombs of St. Callixtus. The day concludes with a visit to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. Originally founded by Emperor Constantine in the 4th Century, this Basilica is the burial place of Saint Paul the Apostle. We will then make our way to dinner at a local restaurant, and an overnight at your hotel.
Day 16 - Rome – Florence
Following breakfast, you will board the bus and transfer to Florence (approximately three and a half hours). Upon arrival in Florence, you will check-in to your hotel and spend the rest of the day at your leisure. This evening, you will enjoy dinner with your group and a restful overnight in Florence.
Day 17 - Florence
Your first full day in Florence begins with breakfast and a guided tour. The tour includes the Church of the Holy Cross, the Santa Croce where many nobles are buried such as Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli. This tour also includes a walking portion through the Piazza Signorina, Palazzo Vecchio, Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio, and Republic Square, to the Santa Maria del Fiore. This Cathedral is an iconic piece of architecture of the city of Florence. It was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi in the 13th century. After the tour, your group will enjoy lunch on own followed by a visit to L’Accademia, the well-known art gallery. At this gallery, you will have the opportunity to view the work from artists such as Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Pontormo and the ever famous sculpture by Michelangelo, David. During this time in the museum, your group will have the opportunity to enjoy free time to explore the museum and later, the city. Following this free time, your group will return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 18 – Return Home
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, your group will leave by motor coach and transfer to the Florence airport for return flights home.
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