Dear Friends of Christ,
We are excited to announce that the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces of the Society of Jesus will be leading a pilgrimage to Portugal! In earlier centuries, the Portuguese were one of the greatest European powers. This is the home of Vasco de Gama who opened the empire’s trade routes to the spice treasures of India; and Magellan who led the first circumnavigation of the globe. The country’s cosmopolitan capital, Lisbon, on the broad estuary of the Tagus, is one of the most strikingly situated cities in the world.
Our pilgrimage starts in the spiritual epicenter of Portugal, the Marian Shrine of Fatima in its 102nd year of inspiration. Our itinerary gives us the chance to experience the rich tapestry of this diverse colorful country from the maritime gem of Porto to the deeply spiritual town of Santarem. We will taste Port at a local winery, visit the famed 14th century Santissimo Milagre Church that houses the Eucharistic Miracle of Santarem, learn about the centuries old art of artisanal tile making, cruise along the Duoro River, take in the bejeweled royal Pena Palace and much much more!!
There is a wealth of history and culture to be seen and felt in the places we will be visiting and we really look forward to the experience. Don’t miss this chance to travel with a group of people you will cherish as friends. In addition, a pilgrimage can also be a wonderful opportunity for spiritual renewal and prayer. As such, we will celebrate mass daily as a group.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Rodolfo Casals, SJ
|NEW YORK/ACROSS THE ATLANTIC|
Monday, October 21
Depart from New York today on board your overnight transatlantic jet flight. Enroute enjoy dinner followed by a full-length movie.
Tuesday, October 22
Arrive today in the capital city of Lisbon. In the 15th Century, Portugal was the first nation to begin exploration and trade far from the shores of the Mediterranean. Board your waiting motorcoach and continue to the village of Fatima, the world’s most famous Marian shrine. Here, on the thirteenth of each month between May and October in 1917, the Blessed Mother appeared to three young children and exhorted the world to pray for world peace. Our hotel awaits us for a well desired rest.
Wednesday, October 23
On your tour of Fatima today, visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima, site of Francisco and Jacinta’s graves, and the Little Chapel of Apparitions with the statue of “Our Lady of Fatima.” Time for devotion and worship.
Thursday, October 24
After breakfast depart for Santarém, known as Portugal’s bullfighting capital and one of Portugal’s most visited pilgrimage sites. See the 17th century Jesuit seminary that now serves as the town’s cathedral with gilded carved altars. Visit the 14th century Santissimo Milagre Church, which houses the famed Eucharistic Miracle of Santarém. Return to Fatima in the afternoon where the remainder of the day is at leisure.
Friday, October 25
Depart Fatima this morning and journey northwards through Portugal’s rustic countryside to the maritime city of Porto, formerly a major seafaring commercial hub within the Portuguese Empire and home to many of the world’s finest Port Wine producers. This afternoon enjoy a leisurely cruise down the Douro River followed by free time to explore the city. Later this evening enjoy dinner at a local restaurant with traditional cuisine.
Saturday, October 26
This morning we enjoy an orientation tour of the beautiful city of Porto with its stately bridges. Visit the opulent São Francisco Church that dates to the 14th Century. With magnificent gilt wood carvings, it appears to be bathed in gold. Tour the interior of the capacious Stock Exchange Palace with its grand Hall of Nations and the golden Arabian Hall. Afterwards, experience the tradition of port production with a tasting at a local winery. The balance of the day is at leisure to enjoy Porto. Perhaps you wish to shop for some traditional Portuguese hand painted ceramic goods or relax along the river at a café.
Sunday, October 27
Say goodbye to Porto as you travel south through the fishing harbor of Nazaré, a quaint and picturesque seaside village. Continue on to spectacular medieval city of Obidos with its spectacular gate and ancient walls that surround the city. We end our day in Lisbon and our hotel.
Monday, October 28
This morning you visit Jeronimos Monastery, a Manueline Renaissance masterpiece, where Vasco da Gama is buried. See the Tower of Belem, Castelo Sao Jorge, the Alfama district, the cobble-stoned streets of the Old Bairro Alto, the Lower Town (Baixa), the Praca do Rossio, arcaded buildings and fountains, and the tropical Estela gardens. Visit the Igreja de São Roque, the oldest Jesuit Church in Portugal and one of the earliest Jesuit churches ever built dating back to the 16th century and the founding of the Jesuit order. The Church served as the headquarters for the Jesuits in Portugal for over 200 years and at the time was considered one of the most ornate churches in Christendom. This afternoon is free for shopping. Specialties include ceramics, rugs, thick hand knit fisherman sweaters and cork products.
Tuesday, October 29
Head west to the picturesque town of Sintra. Here you will visit the royal Pena Palace. A whimsical complex commissioned by King Ferdinand II, the palace appears to have manifested from the pages of a fairytale and was built to rival Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. Its views of the surrounding town are unrivaled upon its rocky outcrop, where the structure is nestled into a verdant sea of trees. This 19th century Romanticism styled building is now deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site. Afterwards, venture to Cascais, where you will tour an authentic fish market before spending the rest of your afternoon relaxing in the scenic coastal town dubbed as the “Portuguese Riviera.” Time to explore the promenade and shop for Portuguese goods before returning to Lisbon for the evening.
Wednesday, October 30
This morning travel across the 25 de Abril Bridge, the largest suspension bridge in Europe, and drive south to the captivating town of Azeitao. Formed from a cluster of rural villages, Azeitao is surrounded by rural farm-lands where its world-famous cheese is made. Visit an artisan tile factory, where you will learn the elaborate process of manufacturing Portugal’s renowned hand-made tiles, or azulejos. Return to Lisbon in the after-noon, where the rest of your day is at leisure. Perhaps you wish to stroll through the quaint cobblestone alleys of the Alfama District, visit one of the many museums, or relax at a café and take in the sea breeze. Later this evening enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Thursday, October 31
Your pilgrimage is over as you drive to the airport in time for your return flight back to New York, arriving the same day.