Lourdes & Fatima Pilgrimage – April 2015

09 April 2015 to 17 April 2015

Day One

This first video is me on a hiking tour along the waterfront of Lisbon. I look at a lot of the people, places and things as I go through this beautiful city. I end up at the Monastery of St. Jerome. Built in the 1500s it is now under the control of the government and no longer a Catholic property.

The second video is of our pilgrims arriving in Lisbon at the airport and boarding the bus and heading for Fatima. Most of them have traveled with us before which makes us very happy. Welcome to Fatima.

Day Two

Today we have two videos because it was such a rich day. Video No. 1 covers our start with a great breakfast and enjoying each other’s company, going to the parish church of the Fatima children where we prayed and discussing their spiritual lives. We also saw the tombs of the family in the local cemetery.

Then we went to the village of Aljustrel where the children lived and we walked through their homes which have been preserved as they were 100 years ago. They even had sheep there for people to get a feel for these children as shepherds.

We had a great blessing meeting Lucia’s niece and we all got to pray with her and talk with her. We also saw the places where the angels appeared to the children.

Then we walked up into the mountain where the Blessed Virgin appeared to the children and asked them to pray and make sacrifices. A little beyond that we stopped at the place where the angel gave the children the Blessed Sacrament. It was a very moving time up on the side of the mountain to imagine 100 years ago an angel bringing the Body and Blood of Jesus to these little shepherd children.

Video No. 2 started with our tour of the Fatima shrine and Mass at the very place where 70,000 people saw the sun dance in 1917.

Then we went into the shrine church of Fatima to visit the tombs of the three children of Fatima. Even though the church is under construction and renovation we were able to see the tombs.

After that everyone has three hours free to pray, go to confession, shop, rest and to find a wonderful café or place to eat dinner. The seafood in Portugal is fantastic and there are a lot of nice restaurants in Fatima to choose from.

At 9:00 PM we re-gathered for the Fatima procession with the statue of our Lady. The Pilgrims processed around Fatima with candles and the Statue of our Lady of Fatima.

Day Three

This is the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila. We are now visiting all the sites in Spain related to her life and Carmelite spirituality. What a great day we had driving from Fatima in Portugal to Avila in Spain.

We had Mass along the way at Alba de Tormes, at the Carmelite Convent of the Annunciation – at the tomb of St. Teresa of Avila. We later prayed close to her bodily remains and were able to see up close the relics of her arm and heart. We Catholics are a morbid bunch 🙂 But, sports figures are enshrined in the sports Halls of Fames. And these heroes of our faith are enshrined in our Halls of Fame in the churches around the world. Enjoy the video for today and join us again as our very full bus tour Avila, Segovia and more…

Day Four

Today was your day! We followed St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross through their hometowns and places of ministry — all on Divine Mercy Sunday. We started our day with Mass at the Carmelite Convent where St. Teresa spent most of her life. We saw her cell, and celebrated Mass where she did for over 25 years. We knelt in the confessional where St. John of the Cross heard confessions there.

One of the themes you see throughout Spain is “St. James the Apostle, Slayer of the Muslims.” The reason is that Muslims conquered Spain in 7 years and it took 700 years for Spain to regain their country from the Moorish hordes that conquered the land and suppressed Christianity. You will see three different images that we saw just today in the castles and churches.

We also sent to Segovia Spain to visit the stunning castles and the cathedral which was dizzying. We visited and prayed at the Tomb of St. John of the Cross.

Day 5

I will let the videos speak for themselves – but it was a great day. The weather forecast was for rain but it was sunny and warm all day. We had planned to visit two nearby cities but I made an executive decision to cancel that so people had a free afternoon and evening in Avila. Good choice – everyone loved the day.

We had Mass planned for one place but by Divine Providence and quick action we secured a Mass at St. Teresa’s first convert and were even able to visit her cell and the original chapel. The nuns graciously gave us all Brown Scapulars which were all blessed. We were all given one after Mass. You can watch that video (Video 3).

The homily was excellent and I recorded it on video for your edification (Video 2). It was summarizing the life of St. Teresa. Fr. Alfonso Aquilar, from Spain himself. has been an excellent spiritual director along the way. Enjoy!




Day Six

Beautiful drive thru central Spain, driving around Madrid from Avila to Zaragosa in Spain. Enjoy the drive and the fun along the way.

We arrived at the spectacular Basilica of the Pillar on the Ebro River and right at our hotel. We had Mass here and saw the pillar of the 1st ever Apparition of Mary. After that we had free time and then a spectacular and authentic Spanish meal.

Great homily by Fr. Alfonso Aguilar who is from Spain. His homily at the Basilica of The Pillar was an exceptional explanation of St. James and the Blessed Mother. Enjoy and be edified!

Day Seven

We took a driving tour of spectacular Zaragosa Spain then took off north towards France, heading to Lourdes.

The Pyrenees Mountains separating Spain and France were stunning and beautiful – still covered with snow as we went through the waterfalls and rushing streams, tunnels and forests.

We arrived in the Lourdes with songs of praise and excitement. We had Mass in the crypt and then a wonderful dinner in our hotel which is the best hotel in all of Lourdes. Excited to take a walking tour tomorrow.

Here is Fr. Alfonso’s excellent homily introducing this Marian apparition and giving us a good sense of what happened here.

Day 8

Today was St. Bernadette’s feast day and everyone thought it pretty special to be here in Lourdes, touring the Shrine, having Mass and visiting all the historical sites related to her life.

I got some great shots and involvement with the evening procession with thousands of people from all over the world, all united in the Catholic Faith and love for the Church and the Blessed Mother. It gives me hope seeing this kind of universality of the Church and the dedication of her children.

Final Day

It was a great day today but sad as well. It is always sad to say Good-bye and leave each other after spending such a wonderful ten days together in such tremendously powerful spiritual sites.

Today we started with Mass at the Grotto where Our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette and revealed herself as the Immaculate Conception. We toured the museum and what has to be the largest underground church in the world!

Free afternoon then a delicious farewell dinner with a Cake of Thanks, blessing of the religious items, final farewells and comments. Enjoy!

Thanks again to our partner Corporate Travel for their wonderful services! They are the best travel agency we could imagine. Thanks to John Hale, Mark Slater, Suzanne Parran, Elizabeth Markey and Becca. Also thanks to Teresa Torres our local guide and to Teresa Tomeo our friend, partner and fellow pilgrim. Thanks to all the pilgrims on this trip who have traveled with us many times before and those who are already preparing to join us again.

Mass and the Days Activities

Farewell Dinner, Blessings, Comments and Departure