16 Day Pilgrimage accompanied by Fr Russell Roide, SJ. Optional Medjugorje extension.
Departure: 11 June 2018 Highlights: Barcelona (1), Montserrat (2), Manresa, Lourdes (3), Loyola, Santo Domingo de Silos (1), Segovia, Avila (2), Alba de Tormes, Fatima (2), Lisbon (1)
Airfares: Economy class flights from Australia (N.B. Airlines taxes are included on standard itinerary and subject to fluctuations).
Accommodation & Meals: Based on moderate standard hotel & Religious accommodation throughout with breakfast and dinner daily
Miscellaneous inclusions: Deluxe AirConditioned Motor coach with driver • Local tour escort/guide • Sightseeing and entrance fees throughout itinerary • Prepaid Tipping
Not Included: Passport and Visa Costs (if applicable) • International Flights from the US to Europe and return • Other meals not stated • Items of a personal nature including phone calls, laundry, beverages, etc. • Travel insurance
Date: 10 June 2018
Indicative Cost Per Person Twin Share: AU$6885 (Incl. Tax)
Single Room Supplement: AU$1150
Prepaid Tipping: INCLUDED
MEDJUGORJE EXTENSION COST (8PV40AUM)
Date: 23 June 2018
Indicative Cost Per Person Twin Share: AU$1565 (Incl. Tax)
Single Room Supplement: AU$390
Prepaid Tipping: INCLUDED
MEAL CODE: B: Breakfast L: Lunch D: Dinner
DAY 1: Sunday 10 June – Depart for Spain (Australia)
DAY 2: Monday 11 June – Arrive Barcelona
On arrival at Barcelona airport we will be met and transferred to our centrally located hotel. Remainder of the afternoon at leisure in this city synonymous with art, culture and faith.
Barcelona overnight (D)
DAY 3: Tuesday 12 June – Barcelona to Montserrat
We enjoy a morning in Barcelona to experience the cultural canvas that underpinned many of Picasso’s artworks and view the unique and colourful architecture of Antonio Gaudi dispersed throughout the city. We commence with a visit to Barcelona Cathedral (La Seu), a celebrated example of Catalan Gothic architecture dating from the 14th century. The elevated site occupied by the cathedral has always been the spiritual centre of Barcelona.
We will be awestruck visiting Gaudi’s famous La Sagrada Familia Basilica, before a leisurely visit to Guell Park where we can enter Gaudi’s house (now a museum) as well as enjoying spectacular views over the city.
This afternoon we will arrive into stunning Montserrat. The renowned 11th century sanctuary of Our Lady of Montserrat lies at the top of a 4,000 foot high mountain and is one of Spain’s most popular pilgrimage destinations. The shrine is home to a 12th century miraculous statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, lovingly known as the “Black Madonna”, discovered in the Santa Cova or Holy Cave. Here at Montserrat St Ignatius kept vigil with a coarse sackcloth and a pilgrim staff.
Montserrat overnight (BD)
DAY 4: Wednesday 13 June – Montserrat Mountain Retreat
The spirit of Montserrat is a unique blend of the mountain, the sanctuary, and the life of monasticism. Around the sanctuary you will find many different banners and emblems representing various religious, cultural, social, financial and even sporting organisations.
Our spectacular day of pilgrimage begins with a visit and Mass in the Basilica, the construction of which began in the 16th century, and a viewing of the beautiful Holy Image of Our Lady of Montserrat, known affectionately as the “Black Madonna.”
We will then board the Santa Cova funicular railway and after a short ride, enjoy a walk down the sacred path passing modernist sculptures of the Mysteries of the Rosary (all worked on by Llimona and Gaudi among others). Almost hanging from the rock’s edge at the end of the route is the Chapel where the image of Our Lady of Montserrat was found by young shepherds in the 13th century after seeing a bright light which led them to the grotto. We take time here at the Holy Cave for prayer and reflection before taking the funicular railway back up to the Sanctuary.
Before lunch, we will take our place among the privileged to hear the heavenly sounds of the Montserrat Boys Choir (The Escolania), one of the oldest and most renowned in Europe. After lunch we will have a private guided tour of the museums.
The remainder of the afternoon will provide the option of time for rest and prayerful reflection. Before dinner, we may take the opportunity to join the Benedictine monks in the Basilica for the beautiful sounds of evening Vespers.
Montserrat overnight (BD)
DAY 5: Thursday 14 June – Montserrat to Lourdes (Via Manresa)
After an early breakfast, we farewell Montserrat and travel to the nearby town of Manresa where St Ignatius came on retreat for 11 months between 1522 and 1523. Each day he spent seven hours in prayer in a cave and then helped the sick in the village with the time he had left over. Here too Ignatius began to develop the method for seeking God’s will and where he wrote his renowned Spiritual Exercises. We come as pilgrims to this amazing place with St Ignatius and pray in the actual cave where his life and spirituality developed.
Later we travel through the scenic foothills of the Pyrenees, crossing into Southern France before continuing on to Lourdes. It was in this small town that Our Lady first appeared to St Bernadette in 1858.
Lourdes overnight (BD)
DAY 6: Friday 15 June – Lourdes
This morning we will celebrate a group Mass at the Grotto – the site where young Bernadette experienced visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We then visit the little village of Bartres, and the farm where St Bernadette was nursed and later returned in adolescence to help her foster mother.
We will visit the Sheepfold and the Parish Church where she spent so many hours in prayer. We will return to Lourdes to enjoy a peaceful afternoon to rest, wander at your own pace or take the time to pray the Stations of the Cross with the life sized copper images which overlook the holy Grotto. Spend some quiet time perhaps reflecting at the Grotto with its chapel built over the place of the apparitions. Optional Blessed Sacrament Procession and evening candlelight procession.
Lourdes overnight (BD)
DAY 7: Saturday 16 June – Lourdes
We celebrate Mass this morning before meeting our guide for a walking tour of Lourdes including the Sanctuary area: Upper & Lower Basilicas, and the Baths where hundreds of miraculous cures have taken place. See the Boly Mill where she was born in 1844, the original parish church and the Cachot (prison) where the family lived due to misfortune during the time of the apparitions.
Free time this afternoon for a visit and prayers for the sick at the miraculous Baths where the water has continued to flow since 1858. Pilgrims may choose to submerge themselves in the healing waters, or collect the Lourdes water at the taps. During her ninth apparition to Bernadette, Our Lady said “Go drink and wash yourself at the spring”. Optional afternoon Blessed Sacrament Procession and Blessing of the Sick before a final evening candlelight procession after dinner.
Note: Washing at the baths is a personally rewarding experience and is carried out in a dignified manner and with sensitivity to the privacy of each pilgrim.
Lourdes overnight (BD)
DAY 8: Sunday 17 June – Lourdes to Santo Domingo de Silos
We set out for our travel day, passing through the foothills of the Pyrenees and crossing the border back into northern Spain. En route we visit Loyola where St Ignatius was born and where he later found his conversion. In Loyola pilgrims will have the opportunity to visit the impressive Sanctuary of St Ignatius, including the Casa Santa (Holy House) – 13th century tower house – where he was born and spent many of his early years. Visit also the ornate monastery complete with shrine and relics of the saint and a 65m dome, which can be seen from a great distance. See the sparse room where he lived and recovered from his injuries and developed his spiritual life.
Finally, we arrive at the quaint village of Santo Domingo de Silos, home to the great Benedictine Abbey famous for its beautiful Romanesque cloister and for spreading the finest tradition of Gregorian chant throughout the world.
After dinner we will proceed up to the Abbey for evening prayer.
Santo Domingo de Silos overnight (BD)
DAY 9: Monday 18 June – Santo Domingo de Silos / Segovia / Avila
Seven times a day for over 1,500 years a sweet and sublime sound rises like a fragrance from the hills of Castille. Is it the sound of angels singing? One might be mistaken to think so. Enter the Romanesque cloisters of the sacred monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos and you will discover that this heavenly sound emanates from the Benedictine monks who became world famous after their recordings of Gregorian chant hit number one on the European pop charts.
This morning we will attend the chanted High Mass at the Abbey before visiting the adjacent Monastery and Museum.
We then rejoin our coach and journey south to Segovia, between the Eresma and Clamores Rivers. We will visit the stunning Segovia Cathedral, the last Gothic cathedral to be built in Spain. Marvel too at the best conserved aqueduct of the Imperial Roman Empire. If possible, outside the walls, we will visit the convent where the mortal remains of Saint John of the Cross are buried. View here the famous Alcazar.
Departing Segovia, travel west to the historic walled town of Avila. The atmosphere has changed little since the days of St Teresa to whom the city is dedicated. It was here that she entered the Carmelite convent and encountered many mystical experiences during her time.
Avila overnight (BD)
DAY 10: Tuesday 19 June – Avila
We begin our day with a visit to the Convent of Saint Teresa built over the saint’s birthplace and located just inside the South Gate of the old town. Most of the convent remains in cloister but you can see the very spot where she was born, now a chapel in the Baroque church.
We then visit Avila’s Cathedral which was started in the 12th century before entering the Monastery of the Incarnation for Mass where St Teresa’s cell can be seen as well as other relics of her life. Afternoon at leisure.
Avila overnight (BD)
DAY 11: Wednesday 20 June – Avila to Fatima
Departing Avila, we travel by coach to nearby Alba de Tormes, the little village where St Teresa died. Her incorrupt heart and arm are enshrined and displayed here at the Carmelite convent. Here too we enter the convent for Mass, where St John of the Cross lived and who companioned St Teresa in her spiritual walk.
We enjoy a lunch stop in Salamanca, known as the ‘Golden City’ owing to the colour of its historic sandstone buildings. Cross the border into Portugal and continue on to Fatima where in 1917 the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three children as ‘a lady in white’.
In Fatima, after dinner this evening the Vigil ceremonies will continue with an extraordinary number of pilgrims joining together for the International Rosary followed by a Candlelight Procession.
Fatima overnight (BD)
DAY 12: Thursday 21 June – Fatima
This morning we will walk and pray the Stations along the beautiful Way of the Cross (the Sacred Way) culminating in the Chapel of Calvary which overlooks all of Fatima.
Continue to Valinhos, the site of Our Lady’s appearance after the children’s return from prison before we proceed onto the little village of Aljustrel to visit the homes where the children lived.
Finally, we enter the original Parish church and see the Baptismal font where the children were baptised.
Afternoon at leisure.
Fatima overnight (BD)
DAY 13: Friday 22 June – Fatima
This morning we will enjoy a tour of the Square (the largest square in Christendom) including the site of the Apparitions, Rosary Basilica with the Tombs of the visionaries, the Museum, Blessed Sacrament Chapel and other main sites.
This afternoon we proceed to Lisbon.
Lisbon overnight (BD)
DAY 14: Saturday 23 June – Depart Portugal
Today we will be transferred to Lisbon airport for our homebound or onward flight connections.
DAY 15: Sunday 24 June – In transit
DAY 16: Monday 25 June – Arrive
MEDJUGORJE EXTENSION: Saturday 23 June – Arrive Medjugorje
On arrival at Split we will be met and transferred across the border into Bosnia-Herzegovina and onto the village of Medjugorje. Prepare for a most extraordinary encounter of grace and peace for the next six days. Here we will be welcomed by a local family in private guesthouse lodgings (all rooms with ensuite). Home cooked dinners and breakfasts will be served daily from your residence.
Medjugorje overnight (D)
MEDJUGORJE EXTENSION: : Sunday 24 June to Tuesday 26 June – The Medjugorje Pilgrimage
Medjugorje overnight (BD daily)
“I have come to tell the world that God exists … that peace is necessary for the salvation of the world. Mankind must be reconciled with God and with one another”. These words came as a soothing balm to a troubled world and were first spoken by Our Lady to six village children in June 1981. Since then, a legacy of remarkable events has turned Medjugorje into one of the world’s most acclaimed pilgrimage places. For more than 30 years up until the present day Our Lady has been appearing on a daily basis to give countless messages to the children. Some of these messages are private, some are for all people and some contain secrets that Our Lady has revealed to the children about future events of the world.
Healings, miracles, wonders and conversions – these have been occurring for so long. Endless streams of pilgrims over the years have come to receive these graces and return to their homelands renewed.
The activities here will be evenly proportioned by our guide throughout the stay to allow time for rest and personal retreat. Each evening we should be advised of the following day’s agenda, as many events in Medjugorje are spontaneous. Here are some of the highlights we hope to include:
• The Hill of Apparitions – Make the journey in prayer up to this sacred site where the first apparitions took place and Our Lady first told the children ‘I have come to tell the world that God exists…. that peace is necessary for the salvation of the world’.
• Climb Mt Krizevac – The Mountain of the Cross dominates the landscape. Pray the Stations of the Cross and ascend the grace-filled path, which rises to the breathtaking summit with its commanding 30-foot cement cross built in 1933.
• Visit Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Retreat House – commonly known as “the Castle”, and hear the amazing testimony of Patrick Latta, a successful businessman and car dealer from Canada, who received a great grace of conversion through the messages of Our Lady. In 1993, he and his wife Nancy left everything behind and moved to Medjugorje during the height of the war.
• Visit the Cenacolo Community – ‘Field of Life’ is the name of the community that Sr Elvira has founded for young men who were once drug addicts. We will be touched to hear their miraculous testimonies of faith.
• Meet the Visionaries – The visionaries regularly receive groups, give explanations, pray with and answer pilgrims’ questions (subject to spontaneous availability).
• Inspiring talks – There is an enriching Franciscan talk most afternoons in English.
• Share occasional group gatherings – Optional and led by your Priest, for voluntary sharing, prayer or group rosary.
• Enjoy personal free time daily – All activities listed do remain optional.
EVENING CHURCH PROGRAMME (DAILY)
5.00pm – The Rosary (Joyful and Sorrowful Mysteries)
6.00pm – The local’s Croatian Mass
After Mass – Benediction, blessing of objects and prayers for healing.
7.00pm – The Rosary (Glorious Mysteries) Above times are one hour later between mid April and mid September
MEDJUGORJE EXTENSION: : Wednesday 27 June – Depart Medjugorje
Today we travel to the airport for our homebound flight connections (B)