St. John’s Summer Program
France, Spain & Portugal Pilgrimage
Spiritual Director: Fr. Ray Schmidt
May 11 - 23, 2020
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare
- Airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Centrally located 3 Star Hotels as follows: (or similar)
- ~ 1 night: Hotel de l'Esperance, Lisieux
- ~ 1 night: Hotel Gabriel, Mont Saint Michel
- ~ 1 night: Hotel Ibis Poitiers, Poitiers
- ~ 1 night: Hotel Kyriad Nevers Center, Nevers
- ~ 1 night: Best Western Hotel International, Annecy
- ~ 1 night: La Vie Tara / Le Relais du Monarque / Hotel Les Voyageurs, Lalouvesc
- ~ 2 nights: Hotel Ibis, Lourdes
- ~ 1 night: Hotel Los Linajes, Segovia
- ~ 2 nights: Hotel Sao Jose, Fatima
- Transfers by private motor coach
- Tour Escort throughout (Vanessa is requested)
- Breakfast and Dinner daily
- Assistance of a professional local guides in Paris, Lisieux, Mont Saint Michel, Poitiers, Annecy, Avignon, Toulouse, Lourdes, Segovia and Coimbra
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Mass daily & Spiritual activities
- Luggage handling (1 piece per person)
- Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
- Lunches, Tips to your guide and driver.
Day 1, Mon, May 11: Depart Washington DC for Paris
Make your way to your local airport where you will board your overnight flight(s) to Paris. Your meals are served on board.
Day 2, Tue, May 12 Paris Airport – Paris - Lisieux
Upon arrival you will be transferred to the city center of Paris where you will visit and celebrate Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. You will view the incorrupt body of St. Catherine Laboure. The Saint's guardian angel led her to the chapel, where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her. During apparitions, Our Lady repeatedly instructed the making and purpose of the Miraculous Medal, as well as the green scapular. According to the Blessed Virgin Mary, those who wear the Miraculous Medal and scapular will receive special protection and abundant graces. After Mass, we will visit the Paris Foreign Missions where we will visit the Chapel of the Epiphany and the sanctuary dedicated to Catholic Martyrs in Asia. We will then walk to Saint Vincent de Paul Church where you will be able to pray in front of the mortal remains of this great saint, founder of numerous congregations which aim to help the poor. Following this visit, you will have free time for lunch on your own in the Latin quarter and you will also be able to see the Cathedral of Notre Dame, under restoration after the fire that destroyed its roof in April 2019. After lunch, we will proceed to visit the Picpus Cemetery, the largest private cemetery in Paris. It was created during the French Revolution, just minutes away from where the guillotine was set up. The cemetery contains the remains of 1,306 victims executed during the height of the Reign of Terror in 1794. The last stop before departing towards Lisieux, will be the visit to Sacre Coeur Basilica that stands atop Montmartre Hill. The Basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, was originally built in 1914, as an act of penance for infidelity that France was experiencing during that time. Since 1885 to this day, in the Basilica there is perpetual adoration. While on your visit, in addition to the extraordinary artwork and architecture that forms the Basilica, you will see the beautiful mosaic of the Risen Christ, and the remarkable Grand Organ. After the visit and a prayerful moment, we will depart towards Lisieux, where you will enjoy dinner and an overnight at your hotel.
Day 3, Wed, May 13: Lisieux – American Cemetery – Mont Saint Michel
Upon waking up in Lisieux and enjoying breakfast, you will pray and reflect upon the life of the beloved Saint and celebrate Mass at the Basilica of St. Therese. According to Pope Pius X, St. Therese of Lisieux was the "greatest saint of modern times." Her extraordinary love for God and service to humanity will come alive, as you walk in the great Saint's footsteps. After Mass and following the visit to the Basilica, where the remains of her parents, Saint Louis and Zelie Martin are preserved in the Crypt, you will have the opportunity to view relics, clothing and personal objects of St. Therese, when you visit her family home, Les Buissonets. Additionally, you will tour the Carmelite Convent, where she entered in 1888, and is currently entombed. This afternoon, you will transfer to Normandy Landing beaches. The Normandy landings were the landing operations that took place on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 (termed D-Day) by the Allies, of Normandy, during World War II. As the largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the liberation of German-occupied Northwestern Europe from Nazi control and contributed to the Allies' victory on the Western Front. Continue on to visit The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, a World War II cemetery and memorial in Colleville sur Mer, Normandy, France, honoring the American troops that died in Europe during World War II. Many of the brave American soldiers of World War II are buried here, and it is encouraged to say a prayer in thanksgiving for their courage. After this very moving visit, you will continue towards Mont Saint Michel where, with the beautiful view of the Monastery dedicated to the Archangel Michael, you will enjoy dinner and an overnight at your hotel.
Day 4, Thu, May 14: Le Mont Saint Michel – Saint Laurent Sur Sèvre - Poitiers
After an early breakfast, you will visit Mont St. Michel, where the Monastery of Le Mont St. Michele is located, also known as, "The Wonder of the Western World". It is given this name because the Monastery is surrounded by a magnificent bay, which has one of the greatest tidal ranges in Europe, resulting in a breathtaking view. In 709, this Monastery was built and consecrated by Aubert, Bishop of Avranches at the request of Michael the Archangel. Since the ninth century, the Abbey has been home to a monastic community, in order to ensure the continuation of a spiritual presence. For centuries, it has been a pilgrimage site for those seeking Eternal Life with God. You will then continue traveling to Saint Laurent Sur Sèvre where you will know the story of the life and great achievements of Saint Louis de Montfort and Blessed Marie Louise Trichet. It is the strong devotion of the Saint to the Blessed Virgin Mary and his practice of praying the rosary that influenced many Popes, among whom St. John’s summer program Paul II. According to his Apostolic Letter “Rosarium Virginia Mariae”, the pontiff’s personal motto “Totus Tuus” was inspired by St. Louis’ doctrine on total consecration to the Virgin Mary. You will then continue to Poitiers where you will rest and have dinner at your hotel.
Day 5, Fri, May 15: Poitiers - Nevers
In the morning you will visit the city of Poitiers. It is here where, in 732 Charles Martel defeated and stopped the expansion of the Moors in France. In Poitiers you will also visit the convent where lived her religious life and died Sister Josefa Menéndez. Sister of the Society of the Sacred heart, because of her simplicity, humility and ordinary life she was chosen to be “the Lord’s sign”. You will then leave Poitiers to depart for Nevers by way of the picturesque Loire Valley. Nevers is the site where St. Bernadette lived for twelve years, as a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Nevers. The Saint suffered from a number of illnesses such as asthma, tuberculosis of the lungs, and a tubercular tumor in her right knee. For this reason, St. Bernadette received "The Last Sacraments" three times and eventually passed away in 1879, at the age of thirty-five. You will have some free time before enjoying a delicious meal and retiring for the evening in Nevers.
Day 6, Sat, May 16: Nevers – Paray Le Monial – Ars – Annency
After breakfast, we continue our travelling on to Paray le Monial, the place where St. Margaret Mary Alacoque experienced visions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the 17th century. In revealing His Heart to her, Jesus said: "Behold the Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing but has been poured out totally and consumed as proof of its love". After celebrating Mass in the Shrine of Paray le Monial, we will start a guided visit that features the Chapel of Apparitions, the place where St. Margaret Mary Alacoque experienced visions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the 17th century, the room of the relics of St. Margaret Mary, the Diorama of St Margaret and the Eucharist Museum. Other highlights include the Basilica of Sacre Coeur and the Chapel of St. Claude in honor of St. Margaret Mary's Spiritual Director. After the visit, you will have free time for lunch on your own. In the afternoon, we will depart towards Ars where we will visit the Shrine dedicated to Saint Jean Marie Vianney, the patron saint of the priesthood. In Ars, we will be able to visit the presbytery and the Basilica where we will find the incorrupt body of the Cure of Ars. From Ars we will continue to Annency, where we will have a delicious meal and restful overnight.
Day 7, Sun, May 17: Annency – Lalouvesc
This morning you will enjoy a visit of this city sometimes called “Venice of the Alps”, because of the three canals and the Thiou river running through the old city. It is here that the remains of Saint Francis de Sales are preserved in the Visitation Basilica. He was a Bishop of Geneva and became noted for his deep faith and his gentle approach to the religious divisions resulting from the Protestant Reformation. We will then continue our journey to Lalouvesc, where we will visit the Sanctuary of Saint John Francis Regis and Saint Therese Couderc. Saint John Francis Regis spent his life evangelizing, his preaching style was said to have been simple and direct and reaped a harvest of conversions. Although he longed to devote himself to the conversion of the indigenous inhabitants of Canada, he remained in France all his life walking from town to town, in rough mountainous areas where travel was difficult. Saint Therese Couderc was a spiritual writer, having written on sacrifice and service to God. She experienced from her own life and prayer that the path to happiness is handing oneself over to God, in union with the self-giving of Christ. You will than enjoy a pleasant dinner and a restful night at your hotel in Lalouvesc.
Day 8, Mon, May 18: Lalouvesc – Le Puy en Velay – Toulouse - Lourdes
This morning we continue to Le Puy en Velay. It is mostly known for its striking Cathedral of Notre Dame du Puy, dating from the first half of 1100 and the iron statue of Notre Dame de France, overlooking the town, designed by the French sculptor JeanMarie Bonnassieux, made from 213 Russian cannons taken in the Siege of Sevastopol in 1855. The city it’s also well known to be one of the starting points in France for the Camino to Santiago de Compostela. After breakfast you will visit the city and the depart to reach the city of Toulouse. This Southern French city was once a Roman colony and is home to numerous religious and historical treasures. While here, you will have the opportunity to visit the Convent of the Jacobins, the burial place of St. Thomas Aquinas. We will also visit St. Sernin Basilica, one of the finest Romanesque churches in France. Its exterior is constructed of red brick, with decorative accents of white stone, containing many relics of Saints and important destination of the pilgrims walking to Santiago de Compostela. Following your visit to this magnificent church, we will continue south west to Lourdes, where you will check-in to your hotel and have dinner and a restful overnight.
Day 9, Tue, May 19 Lourdes
Today we will stay in this small town, nestled within the Pyrenees Mountains. During your time in Lourdes, you will pray and meditate at the 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, 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, in Lourdes, you will walk in and meditate upon the footsteps of St. Bernadette. Your group will have the opportunity to see the 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 10, Wed, May 20 Lourdes – Segovia
After breakfast we will depart for a visit the town of Segovia. Segovia is the town where Saint John of the Cross is buried. Segovia is a relatively small city, strategically sited on a rock ridge, it is deeply and haughtily Castilian, with a panoply of squares and mansions from its days of Golden age grandeur, when it was a royal resort and a base for the Cortes (parliament). It was in Segovia where the Isabel La Católica was proclaimed queen of Castilla. We will find a huge number of impressive monuments and buildings inside its medieval walls like for example the Roman aqueduct: it was built at the end of the first century during the reigns of the Emperors Nerva and Trajan. Over 800mt long; supported by 166 arches and 120 pillars, stands up without a drop of mortar or cement; the Cathedral, the last major Gothic building in Spain; the Alcázar, an extraordinary castle, with its narrow towers and flurry of turrets; the Vera Cruz church, built by the Templar Knights; the synagogue, very similar in style to Santa María la Blanca in Toledo; and many Romanesque churches as San Millán, San Justo, San Martín, etc. Dinner and overnight in Segovia.
Day 11, Thu, May 21 Segovia – Alba de Tormes – Coimbra - Fatima
This morning, after breakfast, you will board the bus and enjoy a transfer to the village of Alba de Tormes. This town is home to the Carmelite Convent that Saint Teresa founded in 1571. Upon arrival in Alba de Tormes, your group will celebrate Mass at this Convent where the saint died and was buried. Following Mass, you will have the opportunity to visit the museum dedicated to St. Teresa of Avila, which also holds her heart and left arm. We will then leave Spain to enter Portugal and travel west to Coimbra. Here, Sister Lucia mortal remains were entombed for one year before they solemnly were transferred to the permanent crypt in Fatima next to Jacinta and Francisco. Visit the convent of the Poor Clare’s to view the Silver coffin that holds the incorrupt body of St. Elizabeth of Portugal. Coimbra served as the nation’s capital during the High Middle Ages, now it is known better for its university, the University of Coimbra, which is one of the oldest in Europe and the oldest academic institutions in the Portuguese speaking world. We will then reach Fatima for dinner and overnight.
Day 12, Fri, May 22 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. Enjoy dinner and your night will conclude with private devotions and a candlelight procession as requested by Our Lady (1917).
Day 13, Sat, May 23 Fatima – Lisbon airport
You will depart for your homebound flight back to the USA.
The benefit of buying airfare with 206 Tours?
- Your transfers are always secured, even if your flights are delayed - round trip transfers to/from the hotel and airport are included no matter what!
- If you purchase your airline ticket on your own, you have to pay in full at the time of booking, and most of the time it is non-refundable. If you book with 206 Tours, full payment is due 60 days prior.
- In the very rare event that a tour is cancelled, you would get all your money back, which would most likely not be the case if you purchased it directly from the airline.
- Your flight arrangement will be followed up on and reconfirmed by 206 Tours.
- 206 Tours can arrange for you to travel before the tour, make a stop-over, or stay later!