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Saints and Graces

27 Days / 23 Nights Pilgrimage through Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Saints of Italy: Rome (3) / Montecassino / Pietrelcina / San Giovanni Rotondo (2) / Monte Sant'Angelo / Lanciano / Loreto / Assisi (2) / Siena / Florence (2) / Ravenna / Padua (2) / Venice /    Graces of Mary: Lisbon (2) / Fatima (3) / Alba de Tormes / Avila (2) / Segovia / Santo Domingo de Silos (1) / Loyola / Lourdes (3) / Manresa / Montserrat (2) / Depart from Barcelona.
 

Saints and Graces Pilgrimage

 
MEAL CODE: B: Breakfast   L: Lunch   D: Dinner     Download Itinerary
ITINERARY
DAY 1: DEPART FOR ITALY
DAY 2: ARRIVE ROME

On arrival at Rome airport we will be met and transferred to our centrally located accommodation for the remainder of the day at leisure.

Rome overnight (D)

DAY 3: ROME

Commence our pilgrimage with a spectacular Mass at St Peter’s Basilica before coming to the nearby Vatican Museums. Wander the spectacular chambers leading to the Sistine Chapel to view Michelangelo’s masterpieces, including the magnificent fresco of the Last Judgment. Continue through to the awe inspiring St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world for an informative exploration. Our guided tour will feature among other highlights Michelangelo’s stunning Pieta, the tomb of Pope St John Paul II, the great Confessional and the Crypt containing the tombs of several Popes.

In the afternoon, visit the impressive St Mary Major Basilica. Onwards to the Basilica of St John in Lateran (First Papal residence) and the adjacent Holy Stairs brought from Jerusalem to Rome in 326AD by St Helena (as a favourite of pilgrims, these steps may only be ascended on the knees). Visit the Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme with its extraordinary collection of relics from the Holy Land.

Rome overnight (BD)

DAY 4: ROME

Papal Event: We will proceed to St Peter’s Square where the Holy Father is expected to host a General Audience with pilgrims from around the world. (Subject to the Pope’s presence in Rome)

Continue to the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls as a special tribute to the Church’s greatest evangelist. Here we will celebrate our group Mass.

From here we come to Tre Fontane – believed to be the site where St Paul was martyred.

Later this afternoon we journey out to the ancient Catacombs for a memorable guided tour. Marvel at these underground burial tunnels for Christians and Hebrews.

This evening we will celebrate our final night in Rome at L’Eau Vive Restaurant – Meaning Living Water (from the Biblical scene of Jacobs Well). This fabulous French Restaurant is run by members of Lavoratrici Missionarie dell’Immacolata of the Famiglia Donum Dei  who will actually sing the Ave Maria to us between courses!

Rome overnight (BD)

DAY 5: VIA MONTECASSINO TO SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO

Today we farewell the Eternal City as we commence our day’s journey south towards the great shrine dedicated to Padre Pio.

In the distance we can see the impressive image of an Abbey situated on a mountaintop. We wind our way up the mountain, enjoying the view of the spectacular Abbey of Montecassino, founded in 529 by St Benedict, patron saint of Europe and the founder of western monasticism. The Abbey was carefully rebuilt after the epic battle of 1944 and still dominates the surrounding countryside from its mountaintop setting. We will have a guided visit on arrival. A museum displays examples of medieval monastic art while the Basilica is richly decorated with mosaics. We come too as pilgrims to pray before the relics of St Benedict and his sister, St Scholastica.

Departing Montecassino we journey east to San Giovanni Rotondo where St Padre Pio spent a lifetime of prayer, penance, self-denial and intense pain caused by the five wounds of Our Lord’s passion. His list of supernatural gifts are overwhelming - reading of souls, prophecy, miraculous healings, spiritual direction, etc while spending extraordinarily long hours in the confessional and often sleeping very little. Throughout his life he received visits from Jesus and Mary and had regular communication with his guardian angel.

San Giovanni Rotondo overnight (BD)

DAY 6: SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO & MONTE SANT’ANGELO

This morning we take a tour of the shrine including: Tomb and cell of St Padre Pio; his Confessional; and the Crucifix from which he received the stigmata. We visit the English speaking office for an inspirational talk by one of the friars and to view a special rare film showing highlights of St Padre Pio’s daily life in the Monastery.

Travel by coach in the afternoon to Monte Sant’ Angelo to visit the Shrine of St Michael the Archangel and celebrate Mass in the cave. The Archangel is said to have made four separate appearances here mostly during the 5th century, making the sanctuary here one of the earliest Christian sites in Europe and visited by thousands of pilgrims every year.

San Giovanni Rotondo overnight (BD)

DAY 7: VIA LANCIANO & LORETO TO ASSISI

After breakfast we depart San Giovanni Rotondo and journey north to Lanciano, scene of the Eucharistic miracle in the 8th century where, during Mass and moments after consecration, the Basilian monk (who doubted the real presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist) found himself holding a host that had changed to flesh and the wine to blood. To this day the sacred relics have remained incorrupt while recent scientific examinations have confirmed that the “flesh is real flesh, the blood is real blood”. Here we will celebrate a special Mass.

Continue our journey north to the great Marian shrine of Loreto to visit the Holy House of Nazareth and the beautiful Madonna of Loreto. More than 50 Popes have made a pilgrimage to the house transported by angels to a hill in central Italy in 1294. Tradition has it that this is the house where Mary received the Annunciation, where Jesus grew to manhood and the Holy Family dwelled. A tour of the shrine will be included.

Drive through scenic Umbrian countryside to the pilgrimage centre of Assisi, where St Francis tended the poor and sick and founded the Franciscan Order. On arrival in this medieval hillside town we will visit the Basilica of St Mary of the Angels down on the plains where St Francis spent most of his life and containing the Chapel where he died in 1226. Onwards to the Upper Town to check in to our hotel.

Assisi overnight (BD)

DAY 8: ASSISI

This morning we awake to the sound of chapel bells, cobblestone footsteps and the tangible spirit of St Francis preserved in this holy town.

After breakfast we enjoy a guided tour through some of the town’s highlights including: Basilica of St Francis housing the tomb of St Francis (for Mass) and the Church of St Damiano built where the voice of Christ spoke to St Francis through the crucifix ‘go rebuild my Church, which you see is falling down’.

Culminate up at the Hermitage (Eremo delle Carceri), an oasis of peace and tranquillity in the woods built on the site of a simple cave where St Francis often withdrew to spend many hours in prayer. The cave and the Chapel of Our Lady are preserved in the Hermitage.

We end our tour at the Basilica of St Clare which houses the famous crucifix through which Jesus spoke to St Francis.

An opportunity presents itself before dinner to attend Vespers in the Basilica of St Clare and listen to the angelic voices of the Poor Clare nuns.

Assisi overnight (BD)

DAY 9: VIA SIENA TO FLORENCE

We rejoin our coach this morning and travel west to Italy’s loveliest medieval city, Siena, birthplace of Saints Catherine and Bernadine. Upon arrival we will visit St Dominic’s Basilica for Mass and view the incorrupt head of St Catherine, the mystical bride of Christ. From here we walk through the narrow lanes to the Basilica of St Francis where we will view the Eucharistic miracle of the incorrupt hosts that occurred in 1730, defying all scientific testing. Continue on and stroll the Piazza del Campo, one of Italy’s finest Squares.

After visiting the medieval Cathedral of Siena (1263), dedicated to Holy Mary of the Assumption, we depart Siena and journey north to Florence, the art capital of the world and home to superb churches, galleries and museums.

Florence overnight (BD)

DAY 10: FLORENCE

Our tour of Florence begins today with Mass at the Church of Santa Croce before continuing to the Academy of Fine Arts containing many treasures, including Michelangelo’s statue of David. We will visit the Ponte Vecchio and the Duomo, whose magnificent dome was created by Brunelleschi. Across the way are Ghiberti’s celebrated bronze doors to the Baptistery, so lovely that they are commonly known as ‘The Gates of Paradise’.

Some free time in the late afternoon will allow the opportunity for rest or bargain shopping in the streetside bazaars.

Florence overnight (BD)

DAY 11: VIA RAVENNA TO PADUA

Before departing Florence we will ascend the hill of Piazzale Michelangelo to admire the most beautiful view over the whole city.

We then journey north to Ravenna, once the capital of the Western Roman Empire some 1,500 years ago. The city’s rare mosaics are thought to be the best preserved in Europe and our visit to the Basilica of San Vitale will give evidence to this reality. Our walking tour also includes highlights such as the Piazza del Popolo, the Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo including Arian Baptistery and the tomb of Dante.

Travel on to Padua, home to St Anthony, the renowned patron saint of lost articles. Originally from Lisbon, Anthony came to Italy where his gift of preaching brought many to conversion.

On arrival we enjoy a guided tour and Mass in the Basilica of St Anthony including the Chapel of the Reliquaries and St Anthony’s tomb.

Padua overnight (BD)

DAY 12: VENICE & PADUA

Venice comprises a dense network of waterways with 117 islands and more than 400 bridges over its 150 canals. Instead of main streets, you’ll find main canals, instead of cars, you’ll find Gondolas!

Today we travel out to Venice, known as Europe’s most romantic destination. As we board our boat transfer we enjoy our first glimpses of this unique city. Our time here begins with Mass in St Mark’s Basilica, built to house the saint’s remains. Our guided walking tour includes St Mark’s Square and its famous monuments. See open squares with enchanting palaces, cross over stunning bridges, and walk down narrow passageways.

Mid afternoon we return to Padua. On arrival view the impressive park of ‘Prato della Valle’ and the nearby Basilica of Santa Giustina with its claimed relics of St Luke the Evangelist. Onwards to the Scrovegni Chapel. The Chapel is a masterpiece in the history of painting in Italy and Europe in the 14th century, considered to be the most complete series of frescoes executed by Giotto in his mature age.

For our final night of pilgrimage, we will enjoy a special celebration dinner.

Padua overnight (BD)

DAY 13: FLY TO LISBON

Today we will be transferred to the airport for our onward flight connections to Portugal. On arrival at Lisbon airport we will be transferred to our centrally located hotel.

Lisbon overnight (BD)

DAY 14: LISBON

Enjoy the day at leisure to rest or explore the city at your own pace. Late afternoon we will meet up with fellow arriving pilgrims for Mass and dinner.

Lisbon overnight (BD)

DAY 15: LISBON TO FATIMA

This morning we will meet with our local guide and enjoy a tour of Lisbon city. Our first stop is St Anthony’s Basilica where we celebrate our group Mass. Despite what might be assumed from his name, St Anthony was born and grew up in Lisbon and today remains the patron saint of lost articles. 

Visit the World Heritage listed Jeronimo’s Monastery dating back to the 16th century with its stunning combination of flamboyant Gothic, Moorish and early Renaissance influences; see nearby Belem Tower and the Monument to the Discoveries. See Europe’s longest suspension bridge and view the inspiring Statue of Christ the King pointing the way north to Fatima.

En route to Fatima we will visit the Holy Miracle Church of St Stephen at Santarem containing the oldest recorded Eucharistic miracle.

Finally we arrive at Fatima where in 1917 the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three children as ‘a lady in white’.

Fatima overnight (BD)

DAY 16: 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.

Back in Fatima tonight, the Anniversary Vigil ceremonies begin with an International Rosary followed by a candlelight procession and concelebrated Mass on the steps of the Rosary Basilica. From midnight to dawn an optional all night vigil is held for the enrichment of pilgrims.

Fatima overnight (BD)

DAY 17: FATIMA ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS

We awake to the sound of pilgrims from all over the world en route to the morning’s Anniversary celebrations. Commence with a Rosary followed by the procession of Our Lady’s statue to the altar on the steps of the Basilica. Celebrate the International Anniversary Mass followed by the Blessing of the Sick and Consecration. The ceremonies will close around midday with the touching ‘Adios’ spectacle (waving of the white handkerchiefs in tribute to Our Lady) as her statue is carried back to the Capelinha.

We will then 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 MuseumBlessed Sacrament Chapel and other main sites.

Afternoon at leisure in Fatima.

Fatima overnight (BD)

DAY 18: FATIMA TO AVILA

After breakfast we farewell Fatima and journey inland through Portugal before crossing the border into Spain. Passing through Salamanca, known as the ‘Golden City’ owing to the colour of its historic sandstone buildings, we arrive at 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 continue on to the historic walled town of Avila, where 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 19: 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.

Enjoy an afternoon at leisure.

Avila overnight (BD)

DAY 20: VIA SEGOVIA TO SANTO DOMINGO DE SILOS

This morning we depart Avila, travelling east by coach 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. Outside the walls, we will visit and celebrate Mass at a convent adjacent to the Vera Cruz church, where the mortal remains of Saint John of the Cross are buried. View here the famous Alcazar.

Journey on to 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 21: SANTO DOMINGO DE SILOS TO LOURDES

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 set off on our travel day, journeying north to 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.

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 22: LOURDES

We celebrate an International Mass this morning with pilgrims worldwide in the immense Underground Basilica of Pius X (schedule permitting) followed by a visit to 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 or 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 23: LOURDES

This morning we will celebrate a group Mass at the Grotto, before meeting our guide for a walking tour of Lourdes including the Sanctuary area: Upper & Lower Basilicas, the Grotto, and the Baths where hundreds of miraculous cures have taken place. We continue our visit of the main sites associated with St Bernadette including the Boly Mill where she was born in 1844, the original parish church and the Cachot (prison) where the family was forced to live 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 9th 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 discreet manner with the process being very respectful of one’s privacy. 

Lourdes overnight (BD)

DAY 24: LOURDES TO MONTSERRAT (VIA MANRESA)

We farewell Lourdes today as we again journey through the Pyrenees, crossing the border back in to northern Spain. Continue on to the 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.

We then 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 25: 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 will have an opportunity to join the Benedictine monks in the Basilica for the beautiful sounds of evening Vespers.

Montserrat overnight (BD)

DAY 26: BARCELONA & DEPART SPAIN

Today we will travel to Barcelona, a city synonymous with art, culture and faith. Visit Antonio Gaudi's inspiring La Sagrada Familia Basilica, the most visited landmark in Barcelona and famous due to the fact that after more than 100 years since the foundation stone was laid it is still under construction. Flight schedule permitting we will make this important stop before being transferred to Barcelona airport to join our homebound or onward flight connections. (B)

DAY 27: IN TRANSIT
DAY 28: ARRIVE AUSTRALIA

2018 DATES AND PRICES
 
AIR & TOUR PACKAGE COST
Code Depart Australia Arrive Australia AUD
8RB01 27 April 2018 24 May 2018 $10,990
8RB02 30 September 2018 24 October 2018 $10,990
9RB03 26 April 2018 23 May 2019 Price on Application
9RB01 29 September 23 October 2019 Price on Application
Single Room Supplement: AUD $1,550

 
CHAPLAIN OPTIONAL EXTENSIONS
Name Pre Option 1 Pre Option 2
TBA Malta Lands of St Paul
TBA Malta Lands of St Paul
TBA Malta Lands of St Paul
TBA Malta Lands of St Paul
     

NB. An additional mandatory prepaid tipping fund of $15 per day per person will be invoiced in advance by Harvest to avoid regular inconvenience to pilgrims on tour.

Full package based on departure from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth including all airline taxes and levies (subject to change). Tour Only costs include local internal airfares between Start/End dates. Refer to our full price inclusions and Booking Procedures for more information.
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