Pilgrims to visit Marian shrines

Wednesday, February 06, 2019 - Updated: 1:23 pm

Pittsburgh Catholic Staff Report

The Marian shrines of Portugal, France and Spain will be the focus of a fall pilgrimage with Bishop David Zubik in celebration of the 175th anniversary of the Pittsburgh Catholic.

From Oct. 6-16, travelers will experience the rich history and extraordinary visual treasures of Fatima, Lourdes and Zaragoza, along with many other sites that spotlight the Virgin Mary’s role in our Catholic faith.

Unitours has assembled a grand 11-day itinerary that will include:

• Upon arrival, a tour of Lisbon, Portugal, and Mass at a church in Santarem that contains the Eucharistic miracle of a bleeding host from 1225.

• Participation in an international rosary procession in Fatima, along with a visit to the basilica and shrine of Our Lady of Fatima. The pilgrims will see the birthplaces of Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia, to whom Mary appeared for the first time on May 13, 1917. Mass will follow in the Chapel of the Apparitions.

• A brief stop in Coimbra, where Fatima visionary Lucia was a cloistered nun, before heading into Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and its cathedral honoring St. James the apostle, the destination of pilgrims worldwide for more than 1,000 years. The ancient route, the Camino de Santiago, was made famous by “The Way,” a 2010 film starring Martin Sheen.

• Departing from Santander, Spain, the day will include Mass in Limpias at the 16th-century Church of St. Peter, viewing the miraculous life-size crucifix that reportedly moved in 1914 and 1919.

• On the way to Lourdes, the group will stop at the Basilica of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Spanish Basque priest and theologian who founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).

• Time in Lourdes will be dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes, with Mass at the grotto, a visit to the shrine and free time for private devotions, including a dip in the healing waters of the miraculous spring. Group members will have opportunities to join a torchlight Marian procession.

• Heading back to Spain, the pilgrims will visit Zaragoza and celebrate a liturgy in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, the nation’s No. 1 Marian shrine. The site commemorates the appearance of Mary to St. James in 40 A.D.

• Next, arrival in Madrid will include a driving tour of the capital city and Mass at La Almudena Cathedral. A festive farewell dinner will feature flamenco dancing.

• The final full day of the trip will center around St. Teresa of Avila, a Doctor of the Church and founder of the Discalced Carmelites. Following Mass in Avila, the group will be free to explore more of Madrid.

Pope Francis spoke of the value of pilgrimage in June 2015: “Pilgrimage is a symbol of life. ... May the Lord bless you and Our Lady protect you.”

The pilgrimage includes round-trip airfare; air-conditioned motor coach; breakfasts and dinners, except where noted on the Unitours itinerary; hotel accommodations (double occupancy; single-room supplement of $524); and a full-time tour manager.

Overnight stays are scheduled for Fatima, Santiago de Compostela, Santander, Lourdes, Zaragoza and Madrid.

For information or to book a seat on this special pilgrimage, call Marianna Pisano with Unitours at 800-777-7432 or e-mail mpisano@unitours.com. View a detailed brochure at http://bit.ly/Marianpilgrimage19.

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