12 Days/ 11 Nights. The Fatima, Spain, Lourdes and Rome ends with 3 nights in Rome. Comprehensive sightseeing in Rome includes the Vatican museum, Sistine Chapel, ancient Rome and papal audience (when available). Airfare from your U.S. home city is available with this tour. Breakfast and dinner daily is included while on tour.
Day 1 - 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 the 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 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. Next, you will visit the Belem Quarter that contains the iconic entry way to the Lisbon harbor, the Belem Tower. While at this important historical structure, 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 connecting the Tagus River of Lisbon. Our tour culminates with a visit to the Discoveries Monument, a memorial commemorating 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, your tour will include a 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 an overnight at your hotel.
Day 2 - 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 of St. Stephen where another miracle occurred; the miraculous Host was originally put in a wax container, however, when the Priest opened the tabernacle to view the Host, the container was found broken, and the Host was found enclosed in a crystal pyx. Return to Fatima with a visit to the Hamlet of Aljustrel, the home of the three shepherd children. Visit of the Parish Church and Fatima Parish Cemetery before returning to the hotel for dinner and an overnight.
Day 3 - 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 a visit to the Little Chapel of the Apparitions. This simple, yet modern, chapel is the site where the Virgin Mary first appeared on May 13, 1917. Continue with a visit to the stunning neoclassical church, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary. This Sacred space contains the tombs of St. Francisco, St. Jacinta, and Sister Lucia. View the monument that commemorates the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in the square. Due to Our Lady's consistency in Her messages to pray the Rosary, this Basilica also features fifteen altars, dedicated to the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary. While in the Basilica, you will be able to feel, through the Love of Our Lord and Lady, the many graces that were received here. Visit the Museum with the exhibition: Fatima: Light and Peace. Continue with a visit to the Holy Trinity Basilica. After free time for lunch, we will experience Christ's unconditional love by participating in the Stations of the Cross along the Via Sacra. The "Sacred Way" marks the path taken by the shepherd children of Fatima to their first apparition with Our Lady. It is composed of fifteen small chapels in commemoration of the Passion of Our Lord. The fifteenth station, the Resurrection, can be found close to the Chapel of Calvary, dedicated to St. Stephen, King of Hungary. The day ends with a visit to Valinhos, the site of Our Lady's August 1917 apparition and the first and third apparition of the Angel. 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 4 - Fatima – Salamanca
Your group will depart Fatima for 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, 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 Clerec¬a, a church and college of the Jesuit Order, constructed in the seventeenth century; La Casa de las Conchas, currently a public library, but also a monument noted and decorated by its shells, symbolizing 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 a Gothic/Romanesque style and the other a Renaissance style, respectively; the Roman Bridge, extending along the River Tormes, is a national monument and among one of Salamanca’s sturdiest bridges; La Iglesia de San Marcos, constructed in Romanesque style, containing breathtaking paintings that portray many scenes of Our Lady’s life. 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 5 - Salamanca - Alba de Tormes - Ãvila - Burgos
This morning, after breakfast, you will board the bus and enjoy a short transfer (approximately a half hour) 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 Ãvila, 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 Ãvila (approximately one hour and twenty minutes). Upon arrival in Ãvila, you will immediately notice the perfectly preserved eleventh-century walls that surround the old town. The conservation of the 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, you will have the opportunity to visit: the Cathedral de Ãvila, whose artwork and architecture encompasses the Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance styles; la Basilica de San Vicente, which stands on the site of the martyrdom of St. Vincent; the Incarnation Convent, where St. Teresa became a nun and 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, contains the relics of both her and 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 6 - Burgos - Loyola - Lourdes
Following breakfast, your group will transfer from Burgos to Loyola (approximately two hours) 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 hours). Upon arrival in Lourdes, you will check-in to your hotel and enjoy a splendid dinner and peaceful overnight.
Days 7 and 8 - 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. During 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, 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 impoverished family lived. Each evening following dinner, you will have an opportunity to attend the candlelight procession and the Rosary before a restful overnight.
Day 9 - Lourdes – Rome
This morning, you will enjoy breakfast followed by a transfer to the airport for your short flight to Rome (approximately one hour and a half). Upon arrival at the Rome 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 10 - Rome: Papal Audience - Basilica of St. John the Lateran - Holy Steps - Basilica of St. Mary Major
After a nice breakfast at your hotel, your first sightseeing day in Rome starts! The tour begins with the Papal Audience in St. Peter's Square! The Audience is celebrated each Wednesday by His Holiness, Pope Francis (pending the papal schedule). Following the Audience, there will be free time for lunch, or shop, or mail a postcard from the Vatican Post Office. This afternoon you will visit 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, we 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, you may climb the steps on your knees, in memory of Christ's agonizing Passion. To conclude your day, we will proceed to the Basilica of St. Mary Major. This Basilica contains a relic from the Manger of the Infant Jesus. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
*The Scala Santa is currently under restoration. Thus, the Vatican has displayed an image replicating the stairs in front of the entrance where you will walk in. There are several staircases just to the side of the Scala Santa that you may ascend on your knees. You will still be able to receive the same graces and indulgences by going up any of the alternative stairs.
Day 11 - Rome: St. Peter's Basilica - Vatican Museum - Trevi Fountain - Appian Way - Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls - Catacombs
This morning you will enjoy an early breakfast before making your way to 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. It is here that you will 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. Continue to proceed to the Vatican Museums. At the world-renowned museum, you will see the most impressive of edifices, galleries, and awe-inspiring relics. Additionally, you will 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, you will be transferred to the Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain), where you may enjoy some free time on your own for lunch. Continue on your short journey down the Appian Way, the earliest road of Ancient Rome. This road leads 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 places of Saint Paul the Apostle. We will make our way to a local restaurant for dinner. Following dinner, feel free to explore the streets of Rome, or return to the hotel for an overnight.
Day 12 - Departure
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, your group will leave by motor coach and transfer to the Rome Fiumicino airport for return flights home.
If you wish to be paired up in a double room with a roommate (same gender) please indicate in the reservation process.