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Sentiments of a Pilgrim
A FIAT pilgrimage is a very special and very spiritual journey. While we visit other places and other lands, we also embark on a journey into our hearts and our faith.
We also become members of a greater family, the FIAT Family, for we never truly travel alone. Many of our pilgrims return, again and again, to travel with us on journeys to different places and lands, with other FIAT Family members, sharing familiar stories with some and discovering new friendships with others.
As we travel together, let us remember our Lord's words: "for where 2 or 3 have gathered in my name, I am there in their midst". (Matthew 18:20)

Here are some of the sentiments and images which FIAT Family members chose to share with us upon their return.

Hi Mariza,

Hope all is well with you, sorry for my late response. I got your poem and it is a nice thing to receive after the pilgrimage to refresh us on all the memories we had in the pilgrimage. It was a total success; a fruitful and memorable trip. Am sharing this picture as a sign of a new friendship... I hope u recognize each one of us... he he he... 'til we meet again, and if u so happen to be in Vancouver, Canada... send me an email so we can catch up. Take care always.


Leng via email April 6, 2014

Click on the image above to see a larger version of it.

Dearest Mariza,

Greetings! I hope this finds you well-rested from your latest pilgrimage and the birthday celebration of your 'apo'.

Just to let you know that Oscar and I thoroughly enjoyed our Portugal-Spain-France pilgrimage. We feel so blessed to be able to do this while we could still can. Thank you very much for accompanying us in this spiritual journey. It made it doubly special for us. You are a really a special person to us. Your love of life and of people shines through in so many inspiring ways.

God is always present in our lives, whether we are conscious of it or not. To be conscious of the presence of God in Santarem through the bleeding host was awesome. Oh, such an overwhelming joy we experienced in that moment!! Thanks be to God for the grace.

To be present in the place where the miracle of our Lady of Fatima and Lady of Lourdes occurred was a great blessing. Thanks for making it memorable and enjoyable for all of us pilgrims. FIAT Holidays is the best because you are there!!!

By the way, thanks for the 'Love is... A caring husband' cartoon. It says it all for me.

May the Lord continue to bless you and your family. Take care. Until the next pilgrimage...

We love you,

Oscar & Nina Tolentino via email June 11, 2013

A FIAT pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the Spring of 2012 was an experience filled with spirituality, introspection and fun too! Some of these pilgrims took the opportunity to renew their marriage vows in Cana, while one of our group, Jeanette Willkom Dunn Aragon, was so impressed by the Biblical lands and her fellow pilgrims, that she was inspired to write poems about her experience. Click on the link to read Jeanette's moving poems and enjoy some pictures from this very special pilgrimage.

Click here to read more and be prepared to be inspired

On our recent pilgrimage to Italy with Sacred Heart Parish youth, I was yet again astounded by the quality of the planning and the love put into each step of our journey by Mariza and FIAT Holidays.

It is hard to explain the effect this pilgrimage had on me personally and on all the young pilgrims who went along with me plus the several adult chaperones. I was able to show the youth of my parish the Eternal City, Rome, and all its glorious, holy places such as St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, the Catacombs and so many other unbelievable places. ...I urge you to take the chance, to put forth the effort to make a pilgrimage using FIAT Holidays. I am absolutely convinced that God led me to this wonderful pilgrimage group and to Mariza.
Rev. Tim Farrell, Farmington, NM       Click here to view complete letter
2003 Mexico 2003 Mexico 2005 Italy 2009 Egypt
Click on an image above to see a larger version of it

The first thing to remember about making a Pilgrimage is that it is not a vacation, even though it feels like one at times. A pilgrimage is a journey to a Holy Place to seek a closer relationship to God, and to give thanks for our lives and how God has blessed us. ...In the several months since we have returned from the Pilgrimage we have experienced one little miracle after another, and we have received the grace to carry on even in difficult circumstances. It has been a real help in our faith life. ...We would not hesitate in the least to go on another FIAT Pilgrimage when we are able to go again.

Joe and Rosemary Sinacori, St. Edward the Confessor Parish, Dana Point, CA      Click here to view complete letter

Even as a priest, I feel so blessed in the pilgrimage we had in Portugal, Spain, France and Italy in summer 2008. It was a journey of faith and spiritual renewal. ...If ever I would be given another opportunity to do a pilgrimage, I would gladly do so. It's worth the money; it's worth the long trip; it's worth all the sacrifice and some inconvenience. Given the resources, I would highly recommend that the faithful at least once in their lifetime do a religious pilgrimage. It's such a great a blessing!

Fr. Manny Villas      Click here to view complete letter

I just want to say thank you for planning and putting the trip together. My husband and I had a good time: spiritually and physically. This is our first pilgrimage and I really enjoyed it. Now I know what a pilgrimage is all about. ...Thanks again and more power to you.

Emy Inong, Cerritos, CA      Click here to view complete letter

Cheers and congratulations on your top-rated organizational ability. The FIAT Aug. 4 pilgrimage tour was exceptionally well-organized. Hats off to you! Youíre super! Iíve been to Europe on an escorted tour many times, utilizing the services of Globus, Cosmos, American Express, and others, mainly as a tourist. FIAT was my first pilgrimage tour, and certainly wonít be the last. Iím very impressed. Thank you so very much for organizing and managing the tour.

Trinidad J. Flores, Philadelphia, PA      Click here to view complete letter

Mariza Gidaya has been planning tours for my groups since 1996. Her choice of shrines and sites visited always are inspiring and have added so many dimensions to the understanding of the Roman Catholic Faith. Attention to detail resulting from extensive travel experience and knowledge of the shrines ensures that the tours are well planned and operate smoothly. Our New Mexican pilgrims love to travel on these prayerful and spiritually renewing journeys. Our lives are all much richer for it, and we appreciate the careful planning which goes into each and every pilgrimage.

Kathleen Ortiz, Group Travel Consultant

It always brings joy to think of you! Fatima & Lourdes have so strengthened my faith in God, and made me love Mother Mary more and more each day. My first pilgrimage, for which you gave so much love in your efforts in putting it together and making it to a great pilgrimage is vividly remembered with gratitude and love. You have definitely a big hand in turning around many lives becoming better believers and devout Catholics. Fatima settled my conviction that the Catholic Church is the only true Church of God founded by Jesus! Thank you!
God bless you always.

Paul Gann, Los Angeles, CA      Click here to view complete letter

This is my fourth pilgrimage with you that you have organized and I must say that all have been different...because of the people. Itís the people that make the pilgrimage!

...Anyway, Iím glad I have gone on these various pilgrimages. They have helped me in
realizing how wonderful God is.

Marie Vazquez, Texas      Click here to view complete letter

We thank the Lord for introducing you in our lives. Through the pilgrimages that we have joined through you and your contagious spirituality our lives have changed. May the joy you give to others return to you a million times.

Maggie & Ray Briones, Van Nuys, California      Click here to view complete letter

My most favorite travel time this year was a pilgrimage I made in November which went from Montserrat Monastery to Lourdes, across Northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela and down to Fatima. There were only 15 of us and our wonderful guide and driver. But it seemed we all bonded into a wonderful spirit of friendship, sharing, prayers, Mass and exciting places together. It was truly a spiritual trip Ė one of the most spiritual I have ever made. One which I will never forget.

Fr. Ray, San Luis Obispo, CA      Click here to view complete letter

...For the first time out of my pilgrimages, I felt I was really on a pilgrimage. The distances between shrines are so much that I really appreciate the convenience of the bus. Of course I do not mind because I can OFFER the discomfort to God without actually doing something special, and I would not think twice if given the opportunity to go back to the same places again in the future....

Belen Cruz, San Francisco, CA      Click here to view complete letter
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