0406AA5 - Paris, Lourdes and St. Ignatius Pilgrimage 12 days from St Louis

Airline Name Baggage Information
American Airlines http://bit.ly/zRWIZO

Special Package with this Trip :
International departure taxes of $121 plus current fuel surcharges of $400 are included (subject to change).

Trip Details

We depart St. Louis for our overnight flight to Paris aboard a wide-bodied jet. We enjoy in-flight movies, dinner and breakfast aloft.
Upon arrival in Paris, we are met and enjoy an orientation tour of the city passing by the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower and travel down the famous Champs-Elysees. We visit and celebrate Mass at the beautiful Church of the Sacred Heart (Sacre Coeur) where perpetual adoration to atone for the sins of the French people has been available since 1885. The Sacred Heart Basilica, built on the site where St. Denis, the first bishop of Paris, was beheaded, sits atop the hill providing a breathtaking view of Paris. Our Mass will be celebrated at Sainte Pierre church where in 1534 St. Ignatius and his companions took vows to work together, marking the birth of the Jesuits. The balance of the day is at leisure. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Following Mass at the Miraculous Medal Shrine of St. Catherine Laboure, we tour the sites of Paris, including a visit to the most enduring symbol of the French capital, the Notre Dame Cathedral on the Ile de la Cité. While here, we also make a stop at the Holy Chapel believed to hold relics, including nails and pieces of wood from the Cross of Calvary. This afternoon will be free for shopping, personal adventure or enjoying some of Paris’ world class museums such as the Louvre, home of the Mona Lisa, or the Musée d'Orsay where the best impressionist’s masterpieces are held including Renoir, Monet, and Van Gogh. We will have the opportunity to enjoy the culinary delights of Paris with dinner on our own.
Today we celebrate our early morning Mass at a Sainte-Chapelle church, built by St. Louis in the 13th Century. This church contains relics of the crown of thorns and the true cross (purchased by St. Louis at the cost of half the budget of France at the time). Sainte-Chapelle was damaged by fires and used to store flour and court archives during the French Revolution. It would have been destroyed except public pressure led by Victor Hugo (author of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Misérables) demanded its restoration in the mid 1800’s. Following Mass, we will pass by the College of Sante-Barbe where St. Ignatius lived during his years at the University of Paris. Next, we take a bus to Lisieux, the home of St. Therese of the Little Flower. Her body is buried at the Carmelites monastery where she died. For those wishing to explore on their own, the tour operator can offer advice on visiting other sites such as Versailles or Chartres outside of Paris, or a little farther out, St. Bernadette in Nevers (3 hours), or Mont St. Michel (4 hours). Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
This morning, we transfer to the rail station and board the TGV highspeed train to Lourdes. We are met and transfer to our simple, pilgrim’s hotel near the Shrine for dinner. The incoming pilgrims will join us this afternoon and, in the evening, we join the Torchlight Marian Procession.
This day is spent in devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes. We celebrate Mass at the Grotto, with a morning orientation visit to the Shrine and a walking tour of Lourdes, visiting Boly Mill, where St. Bernadette was born, the Cachot, formerly used as a jail, where she lived during the apparitions, and the parish church. This afternoon is free for private devotions, Eucharistic Procession, the Blessing of the Sick or the legendary, healing waters of the miraculous Lourdes spring. Dinner and overnight at our hotel. In the evening, we can once again join the Torchlight Marian Procession.
This morning, following Mass at the shrine, we depart Lourdes and head south to the area of Azpeitia. Here, in 1491 Iñigo Lopez de Loyola Oñaz was born in the Castle of Loyola. We know him better as Ignatius of Loyola. We visit his former house and the museum. We include a visit to Aranzazu, a popular shrine to Our Lady at the time of Ignatius and where we know Ignatius prayed for strength to overcome the temptations to which he had formerly yielded. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in the city of San Sebastian.
We leave San Sebastian for Pamplona, recalling this as the site where Ignatius received a wound that forced an extended convalescence that resulted in his conversion to Christ. We stop at Xavier Castle in Javier where St. Francis Xavier, the co-founder of the Jesuits, was born. St. Francis Xavier is the patron saint of missionaries due to his successful evangelization campaigns in India, Japan and many other towns and cities in Asia. Our Mass will be at the Church attached to Xavier Castle. We continue south to Zaragoza, the capital of Aragon. Zaragoza was founded by the Romans but looks like Switzerland with its luxuriant vegetation and many cascades and grottos. This city was also the birthplace of Goya, whose works grace the city. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
This morning in Zaragoza, we visit the number one Marian shrine of Spain, the Basilica of Our Lady the Pillar, which commemorates where Mary appeared to St. James in 40 AD. Afterwards, we travel to Montserrat, home of the famous Benedictine monastery and the Black Madonna where we celebrate Mass. In March of 1522, St. Ignatius came as a pilgrim to Montserrat and placed his sword before the Black Madonna and exchanged his fancy clothes for those of a beggar. If possible, we enjoy the midday music of the famous boys’ choir here. We take a short trip to Manresa for dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Manresa was a place of profound conversion for Ignatius. Here, in a cave on the banks of the Cardoner River, Ignatius received a vision that provided him with deep insights into spiritual life and altered the course of his own life. From the initial insights he received here, Ignatius went on to pen “The Spiritual Exercises”. Ignatius remained in Manresa for about a year and a half. We enjoy an audiovisual presentation and tour of the museum at Manresa, then celebrate Eucharist in the nearby cave. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
This morning we drive to Barcelona to celebrate Mass at the Cathedral. Afterwards we move through the Gothic quarter, the famous Ramblas and the sites where the Olympic events were held in 1992. We enjoy a spectacular view from the top of the Montjuic hill, pass by the Exchange and visit the Church of the Holy Family or La Sagrada Familia, the masterpiece of Antoni Gaudi. Afterwards we visit the Unesco World Heritage "Park Guell", Gaudi's greatest work of "landscape architecture.” A farewell dinner at a local restaurant marks our final night in Spain. Overnight at our Barcelona hotel.
We transfer to the airport for our flight home with unforgettable memories to cherish always.