SOUTHERN SPAIN PILGRIMAGE
11 DAYS: APRIL 2 -12, 2018 - SPECIAL DISCOUNT PRICE - $3499

Dear Friends,

Going on a pilgrimage is one of the most ancient and traditional means of deepening one’s faith. On this journey, we will be praying, feasting, and enjoying the many sights and experiences of ancient and contemporary Spain.        

We begin our pilgrimage in Barcelona, where we will visit La Sagrada Familia and park Guell. We will also visit the Marian Shrines of Montserrat before we continue to Zaragoza and Our Lady of the Pillar. We will also visit Madrid, Avila, and Toledo and the wonderful medieval mansions, royal palaces and holy sites that will catch our eye and deepened our faith.  

We look forward to each other’s company as we celebrate our faith and enrich our understanding and appreciation of these special places associated with Mary, the Mother of God, and Christ’s disciples. This will be a great opportunity and privilege for us to journey together as part of our faith community.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Juan Mendez & Nathan Libaire

MONDAY APRIL 2 DAY 1: DEPART USA: We depart en route to Barcelona via London with complimentary meals and beverages served aloft. 

TUESDAY APRIL 3 DAY 2: ARRIVE BARCELONA: We arrive in Barcelona in the early evening and are met by our representative of Holy Land Travel Centre. We proceed via private motor coach and arrive at our hotel for check-in and dinner.  

Overnight: Barcelona (D)

WEDNESDAY APRIL 4 DAY 3: BARCELONA: VISIT OF THE CITY: Barcelona, the capital of Catalunya, a city of builders and planner, is renowned for its beauty in both its religious and secular buildings. In fact, the first Cathedral built in Los Angeles, California was modeled after Santa Maria del Mar, one of the most beautiful churches in all of Spain. After breakfast we enjoy a half-day’s tour of Barcelona, including a walking tour through the labyrinthine alleys of the Gothic Quarter with its IV Century Roman Wall. The Quarter is home to Juan Miro Museum, one of Barcelona’s most celebrated artists. Our tour will include the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, where we celebrate the opening Mass of our pilgrimage. We’ll view the broad avenues of this beautiful city, admiring its marvelous architectural contrasts, dating back nearly 2,000 years. Driving by the Columbus Statue and on the well-known Ramblas Boulevard to Cataluyna Square to the “Enxample,” we will admire the architectural styles of Catalan’s most famous architects: Batilló, Milà and Gaudí. We stop and visit the Basilica of the Holy Family (Sagrada Familia), undeniably Gaudí’s most notable work which remains unfinished.   

Overnight: Barcelona (B, D)

THURSDAY APRIL 5 DAY 4: BARCELONA: PARK GUELL/EXCURSION TO MONTSERRAT: This morning we visit Park Guell, a reflection of Gaudí's artistic plenitudetoday. We then make our way to Montserrat, home to the Benedictine monastery dramatically set in the Montserrat mountain range. Pilgrims from around the world flock to this monastery to view its magnificent architecture in such a striking setting. This shrine has attracted pilgrims for over 700 years, much as it did Ignatius of Loyola in March of 1522We pause here to visit the Black Madonna of Montserrat, probably Spain’s most fervent devotion to the Blessed Mother. We return to Barcelona.   

Overnight: Barcelona (B, D)

FRIDAY APRIL 6 DAY 5: BARCELONA/ZARAGOZA: After breakfast we depart Barcelona for the beautiful city of Zaragoza, the capital of Aragon. Founded some 2000 years ago, the city is filled with stunning historic monuments, including the impressive and beautiful Basilica of the Virgin of the Pilar. Upon arrival in Zaragoza, we celebrate Mass at this Marian Shrine built on the site where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. James the Apsotle on his way to northwestern Spain. Accompanied by celestial music, angels and a brilliant light, Our Lady encouraged St. James and his disciples on their journeys. This apparition was unlike any other, because when Our Lady appeared to St. James, she was still living on earth in Jerusalem. During the vision St. James was given a wooden statue which is now in the center of the Basilica. After Mass, we check-in to our hotel for dinner and the evening.   

Overnight: Zaragoza (B, D)

SATURDAY APRI 7 DAY 6: ZARAGOZA/MADRID: After Mass this morning, we will proceed towards Madrid. After some time for lunch on our own we enjoy a panoramic city tour of Spain’s exciting capital. We also visit the Madrid Cathedral. This twin towered church was built in the Baroque style for the Jesuits in the mid-17th century. The rest of the day is at leisure as we enjoy the pulsating atmosphere of this impressive city, strolling as we do through the ever-charming streets of Madrid and perhaps do some shopping on the Plaza del Sol, one of the city’s liveliest areas. Dinner is included at our hotel. 

Overnight: Madrid (B, D)

SUNDAY APRIL 8 DAY 7: MADRID: EXCURSION TO TOLEDO & PRADO MUSEUM: This morning travel to Toledo and visit the walled city of Toledo. We will visit the striking Cathedral, the home of El Greco. Here we celebrate Mass. We see the Monastery of St. John of the Kings and the Synagogue of Santa Maria La Blanca, at one time the primary synagogue that was later converted to a church by the Knights of Calatrava. Here, in Toledo, St. Teresa opened, in 1569, another convent named after St. Joseph. Toledo is also the city where St. John of the Cross was imprisoned, and from which he escaped. After Lunch in Toledo we return to Madrid. For those interested in a museum, we have arranged a visit to the famous Prado Museum which contains the most impressive collection of classical paintings in the entire world. If you prefer, you will have the option to return to the hotel for the balance of the afternoon at leisure. 

Overnight:  Madrid (B, D)

MONDAY APRIL 9 DAY 8: AVILA: This morning we make our way to the walled town of Avila, with the best preserved medieval walls in all of Europe. Its full name is ‘Avila de los Caballeros’ (Avila of the Knights). Avila is best known as the birthplace of one of the great mystics and reformers of the Church. We know her as St. Teresa of Avila and also as St. Teresa of Jesus. We visit the Monastery of the Incarnation where St. Teresa spent many years of her life.  We visit also the Church ofSt. Teresa, where she was baptized. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.                 

Overnight: Madrid (B, D)    

TUESDAY APRIL 10 DAY 9: SEGOVIA/LA GRANJA DE SAN IlDEFONSO (Palace):  This morning we travel to take in the views of the Alcazar Castle, the ancient Roman aqueduct, and the Cathedral of Segovia. We will visit the Carmelite Monastery and the tomb of St John of the Cross. We then visit the La Granja de San Ildefonso (Palace). The Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, known as La Granja, is an early 18th-century palace in the small town of San Ildefonso, located in the hills near Segovia and 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of Madrid, within the Province of Segovia in central Spain. It became the summer residence of the Kings of Spain from the 1720s during the reign of Philip V. The  palace is in a restrained Baroque style, surrounded by extensive gardens in the formal Jardin à la française style with sculptural fountains. We return on to our hotel for dinner and overnight.  

Overnight: Madrid (B, D) 

WEDNESDAY APRIL 11 DAY 10: MADRID/El ESCORIAL/ VALLEY OF THE FALLEN: This morning we'll travel about 28 miles northwest to El Escorial, situated at the foot of Mt. Abantos in the Sierra de Guadarrama, a semi-forested, wind-swept place that owes its name to nearby piles of slag or tailings (scoria) from old iron mines. El Escorial, built by King Philip II to mark his victory over the French at San-Quentin in 1557, is not only a historical residence of the King (and famous burial site for most of the Spanish Kings for the last five centuries) but also functions as a monastery, royal palace, museum, and school. The monastery contains important works of art by famous artists like El Greco and Velazquez, and in the Capitulary and the Sacristy Rooms, paintings such as Joseph's Coat by Velazquez, The Last Supper by Titian, or The Adoration of the Sacred Host by Charles II by Claudio Coello are on display. We then travel to the Valley of the Fallen, a striking memorial to those who died in the Spanish Civil War. A basilica was built into the mountainside here, housing tombs of soldiers from both sides of the conflict. We return on to our hotel for dinner and overnight.

Overnight: Madrid (B, D) 

THURSDAY APRIL 12 DAY 11: This morning we transfer to Madrid International Airport for our return flight to the USA.