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|Day 1:||Depart the USA on an international flight to Lourdes, France. Meals will be served on the overnight flight.|
|Day 2:||Our Tour Director welcomes us with a beautiful smile and escorts us to Lourdes, one of the greatest pilgrimage shrines in the world. It was here at the Grotto of Massabielle, in February 1858, that Our Blessed Mother appeared 18 times to a young, sickly child named Bernadette Soubirous and later proclaimed to her that She was the Immaculate Conception. Dinner and overnight in Lourdes.|
|Day 3:||After breakfast, we celebrate Mass and then participate in the walking tour of Lourdes where we visit the places associated with the life of St. Bernadette. The afternoon may be spent for private devotion at the Way of the Cross, with its life-size statues on the hill, Eucharistic Adoration, confession or take part in the Miraculous Baths to experience the message of Our Lady. After dinner, we participate in the Candlelight Procession or simply spend some more private time at the "Grotto". Dinner and overnight in Lourdes.|
|Day 4:||A free day in Lourdes to do as we please. Dinner and overnight in Lourdes.|
|Day 5:||We cross borders and travel to Torreciudad, a shrine dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Aragon in northern Spain. Devotion to Our Lady of Torreciudad dates back to the 11th century. The new Shrine, built under the guidance of Saint Josemaría Escriva the founder of Opus Dei, was inaugurated on 7 July 1975. We continue to the small village of Santo Domingo de Silos where we will celebrate mass at the Church of the Benedictine Monastery. The foundation of the monastery dates from 929 AD, under the advocation of Saint Sebastian. It may have declined following Muslim raids, but was restored under the leadership of Santo Domingo (Saint Dominic of Silos) (c. 1000 – 1073 AD), who was abbot of the monastery between 1041 and 1073 AD. The cloisters of the monastery are considered masterpieces of Romanesque architecture. The monastery's scriptorium produced a finely illuminated Beatus manuscript, a commentary upon the Apocalypse, which is now in the British Library, having been sold in the 19th century. The monks of Silos became internationally famous in the early 1990s with the issue of several albums of their Gregorian "CHANT". For those who have been blessed with a beautiful voice, try your "gift" as you chant through the amazing acoustics in this House of God. "How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord God of Hosts..." Psalm 83. Dinner and overnight in Santo Domingo de Silos.|
|Day 6:||After breakfast, we depart for Calaruega, a small town noted as the birthplace of Saint Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers, after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans. Later, we continue on to Braga in Portugal. Dinner and overnight in Braga.|
Our day begins with Mass at the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte
(Good Jesus of the Mountain) with a monumental, Baroque stairway that climbs 116 metres (381 feet). As the pilgrims climb the stairs,
they encounter a theological program that contrasted the senses of the material world with the virtues of the spirit, at the same time
as they experience the scenes of the Passion of Christ. The culmination of their efforts was the temple of God, the church on the top of
the hill. The presence of several fountains along the stairways give the idea of purification of the faithful.
We continue to the Marian shrine of Nossa Senhora do Sameiro, where the locals say "Our Lady did not appear in Sameiro, SHE is in SAMEIRO!" The Sameiro Church
is a late 19-century domed church, located outside of the city of Braga. This hilltop sanctuary is second only to Fatima as a Portuguese Marian shrine. Built to honor the Immaculate Conception, work commenced on the neoclassic domed church in 1863. At 566 metres above sea level, the church commands a panoramic view of the Minho. Inside there is a fine white polished granite high altar and a silver tabernacle. At the top of the imposing entrance staircase there are two pillars supporting statues of the Virgin and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Our day ends with a panoramic city tour of Oporto, a UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for its sweet wine. Time permitting, we will also visit one of the wine cellars in Gaia for some free tastings of the famous port wine. Then we continue our journey to Fatima for dinner and overnight.
|Day 8:||Today marks the Anniversary of the Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. Let us be
thankful and celebrate this
wonderful invitation from Our Blessed Mother of being able to experience what occurred here many years ago. (If you are coming in May,
this is the ANNIVERSARY of Her first apparition to the children. If you are coming in October, this is the ANNIVERSARY of the Miracle of
the Sun, when She promised Lucia that She would perform a miracle so that all may believe. About 70,000 people were present: the devout,
the curious, the unbelievers, atheists, as well as journalists who had come solely with the purpose of unmasking the hoax. It was on Oct.
13th that She requested that a chapel be built affirming Her to be the LADY of the ROSARY.) We will celebrate Mass at the Chapel of the
Apparitions (Capelinha), located at the Cova da Iria, pray the Rosary, and witness the Blessing of the Sick. This is the spot where a
little holmoak grew on which Our Lady appeared 5 times from May to October 1917 to the 3 little shepherds: 8 yrs. old Francisco Marto,
6 yrs. old Jacinta Marto and 10 yrs. old Lucia dos Santos.
Our tour begins in Aljustrel, where the children were born and is also the site where the Angel of Peace appeared to them near the well behind Lucia’s house asking them to "Pray, Pray very much! The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you. Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High. Make of everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners." Contemplate on their lifestyle as we visit their original homes, the parish church and cemetery. To the west is Loca do Cabeco, a hillside covered with olive trees, where the angel appeared to them on two different occasions teaching them to pray, preparing them prior to Our Lady’s appearance. Continue to Valinhos, where Our Lady appeared to them on the 19th of August. Follow the Via Sacra (The Sacred Way) built by the Hungarian refugees, to pray the Way of the Cross culminating at the Chapel of St. Stephen with a beautiful sculptured marble Calvary providing a serene view of Fatima. As a tradition, when you see the people gather at the plaza, wave your handkerchiefs in loving farewell to the Virgin of Fatima. After dinner, we will participate in the Candlelight Procession where pilgrims from around the world unite to pray to Our Lady of the Rosary. Dinner and overnight in Fatima.
|Day 9:||Free day in Fatima to do as we please. Other places in the region that we may want to visit are the 3 other great Marian shrines of Portugal located in Batalha, Alcobaca and Nazare, confirming that since its very foundation, was called the Land of Holy Mary. These are important historical and artistic monuments that allow a visitor to understand how deeply rooted is the devotion which the Portuguese people have for Our Lady resulting in the FAITH seen at the Cova da Iria. Nazare is a typical fishing village of the area where a local chapel enshrines an ancient miraculous statue of Our Lady of Nazare. Ourem is another place to see where ruins of a castle are on the hilltop. It was in this town that the Bishop resided during the time of the apparitions and where the children were imprisoned on the 13th of August. Dinner and overnight in Fatima.|
|Day 10:||We bid farewell to Portugal as we depart for the airport to catch our return flight to the U.S. for a same day arrival.|
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