Fr. Melvin Castro
May 16, 2023
Belgium, France, Spain & Portugal
“Love Our Lady, and she will obtain abundant grace to help you conquer in your daily struggle.”
– Saint Josemaria Escriva
A journey to the Marian Shrines is a way to be closer to Mary, our Blessed Mother. Seeing the places where the Virgin Mary has appeared can help increase your faith and bring you closer to her Son, Jesus. Embark on a pilgrimage to the Great Marian Shrines of Europe (Belgium, France, Spain, and Portugal) with Fr. Melvin Castro on May 16-21, 2023.
Your pilgrimage begins with a visit to Brussels, Belgium, and then proceeds to Banneaux to visit the Shrine of the Virgin of the Poor. During Our Lady’s third apparition, she led Mariette Beco (the visionary) to a spring of water. There she revealed herself as the Virgin of the Poor and said, “This fountain is reserved for all the nations to bring comfort to the sick.” After the apparitions, many healing miracles associated with the spring at Banneux were reported.
Next stop is Beauraing to celebrate Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Beauraing, also known as the Virgin with the Golden Heart. At this place, Our Lady appeared 33 times to five children, to whom she promised conversion of sinners.
Journey on to the romantic city of Paris, France. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city, which includes a visit and Mass at the Church of the Miraculous Medal. From Paris, travel down south to Nevers and visit the St. Gildard Convent, where the incorrupt body of St. Bernadette lies. Head for Paray Le Monial, the hometown of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Leave for Ars to visit the Basilica of Ars, where you will find the reliquary containing the body of St. Jean Marie Vianney. Not to be missed is a visit to the beautiful Basilica of Our Lady of La Salette in La Salette, France.
En route to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, stop by the Shrine of Our Lady of Laus, where Mary revealed herself in Laus as the Reconciler and Refuge of Sinners. Arrive in Lourdes to catch the evening rosary and candlelight procession. In 1858, St. Bernadette Soubirous reported visions of the Blessed Mother and asked that a chapel be built there. Our Lady’s message was a request for prayers and penitence for the conversion of sinners. Make sure to spend time in quiet reflection at the Grotto of Massabielle, Our Lady of Lourdes’ apparition site. Find time to bathe in the Baths where numerous healings were reported and confirmed by the Catholic Church.
Next stop is Spain to visit Torreciudad, which houses an image of the Blessed Mother under the title of Our Lady of Torreciudad. Devotion to Our Lady of Torreciudad dates back to the eleventh century. A new shrine was built under the direction of St. Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei, and consecrated on July 7, 1975.
Still in Spain, travel to Burgos to celebrate Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Burgos, also known as Burgos Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its Gothic architecture.
Cap off your pilgrimage in Fatima, Portugal, and spend two nights at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima. Here, Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children — Lucia, and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta – between May and October 1917. Celebrate Mass at the Chapel of Apparitions, an open-air chapel built on the site of the appearances.
Find solace and comfort in the company of Our Blessed Mother. Heed her call to an experience with God. Join a 16-day pilgrimage to the Great Marian Shrines of Europe (Belgium, France, Spain, and Portugal) with Fr. Melvin Castro on May 16 – 31, 2023. May this pilgrimage bring you closer to Mary, who, like a mother, looks upon us, her children, with tenderness, mercy, and love.
Fatima is a town located 142 km (88 miles) North of Lisbon. Fatima is one of the most important catholic shrines in the world dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Fatima’s...Fatima
Fatima is a town located 142 km (88 miles) North of Lisbon. Fatima is one of the most important catholic shrines in the world dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Fatima’s Sanctuary welcomes millions of pilgrims and tourists from all over the world. Fatima’s fame is due to the Apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary that appeared to three shepherd children; Lucia dos Santos and her two younger cousins, Francisco and Jacinta. Between May and October of 1917, the three children witnessed several apparitions. The last one, on October 13th, was confirmed by a miracle witnessed by 60,000 people known in the catholic world as “the day the sun danced”.
Our Lady of Fatima is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary by those who believe that she appeared to three shepherd children at Fatima, Portugal on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on 13 May, the Fatima holiday. The title of Our Lady of the Rosary is also used in reference to the same apparition; the children related that the apparition specifically identified herself as “the Lady of the Rosary.” It is also common to see a combination of these titles, i.e., Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima (Portuguese: ”Nossa Senhora do Rosario de Fatima”).
Burgos is a city in northern Spain and the historic capital of Castile. It is situated on the confluence of the Arlanzon river tributaries, at the edge of the Iberian...Burgos
Burgos is a city in northern Spain and the historic capital of Castile. It is situated on the confluence of the Arlanzon river tributaries, at the edge of the Iberian central plateau. It has about 180,000 inhabitants in the actual city and another 20,000 in the metropolitan area. It is the capital of the province of Burgos, in the autonomous community of Castile and Leon.
Castilian nobleman, military leader, and diplomat El Cid Campeador is a significant historical figure in the city, as he was born a couple of miles north of Burgos and was raised and educated here.
The city forms the principal crossroad of northern Spain along the Camino de Santiago, which runs parallel to the River Arlanzon.
Burgos has been selected as the Spanish Gastronomy Capital of 2013.
The Sanctuary of Loyola or Shrine and Basilica of Loyola consists of a series of edifices built in Churrigueresque Baroque style around the birthplace of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder...Loyola
The Sanctuary of Loyola or Shrine and Basilica of Loyola consists of a series of edifices built in Churrigueresque Baroque style around the birthplace of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the
Society of Jesus.
The sanctuary stands along the river Urola at the neighbourhood of Loyola (Loiola, a place-name meaning ‘foundry made in clad’, or possibly ‘hut made in clad’) in the municipality of Azpeitia, Basque Country, Spain.
Ignatius of Loyola, whose real name was Iñigo López de Loyola, was the son of the Lord of Loyola, Beltrán Ibáñez de Oñaz and Marina Sánchez de Licona, member of an important Biscayan family. He was born in 1491 in his family house in Loyola.
After he died his birthplace became a place of veneration. In the seventeenth century the house where he was born was given to the Society of Jesus. The Order built there, near the birthplace of its founder, the Sanctuary of Loyola.
Lourdes is a small town in the Hautes-Pyrenees departement in southwest France . It is the largest Catholic pilgrimage destination in France and one of the most popular Catholic shrines...Lourdes
Lourdes is a small town in the Hautes-Pyrenees departement in southwest France . It is the largest Catholic pilgrimage destination in France and one of the most popular Catholic shrines in the world.
On February 11, 1858, the Blessed Virgin Mary revealed herself to a poor shepherd girl, Bernadette Soubirous. Eighteen such apparitions were reported.
The most sacred site at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is the Grotto of Massabielle, also known as the Miraculous Cave or the Cave of Apparitions. The Grotto of Massabielle is the site of St. Bernadette’s vision of the Virgin Mary where she revealed herself as the Immaculate Concepcion. The Virgin Mary is said to have pointed out a previously undiscovered spring in the grotto and instructed St. Bernadette to “Go and drink at the spring and wash there.” The spring water from the grotto is believed to posses healing properties and to date, sixty seven cures have been officially recognized as miraculous by the Roman Catholic Church.
The whole pilgrimage is a new and fulfilling moment in my life. It’s a nice feeling being with the Lord in His important day. And also, gaining new friends and becoming my new extended family is something I will treasure. I hope that this is just the beginning and we’ll continue to get in touch with one another despite the distance.Brenda
It was indeed a wonderful Pilgrimage: very rich in history, a thanksgiving of blessings, a spiritual renewal and nourishment, and finally ending in a test of Faith.
Thank you so much Pilgrim Leader, Ging Igual, for standing beside us up to the last stretch of our 13-day journey - more particularly in the handling of an unexpected situation (cancelled flight in Mexico and re-direction of flights to make sure the 38 Pilgrims reach LA for their respective flight bookings). Ging, you were an angel to us so blessed with energy, passion, love and Milagrosa. We really felt the presence of Our Lady of Guadalupe fielding angels every step of the way.
The Pilgrimage to California Mission Churches and Our Lady of Guadalupe gives me personal inspiration for the work and activities of the next chapter of my lifetime: farming with promotion of agriculture for millennials (inspired by the scenic view of farms in California), tourism (which is a major industry in all places we visited), and support for a favourite major seminary in Tagaytay and a scholarship fund for deserving individuals (thru a non stock non profit institution).
Thank you to my Co-Pilgrims and prayer partners for the prayer support, sharing of life experiences and friendships; Fr. Tony, thank you for your spiritual reflections and service; Fr. Jerry Orbos for an overflowing spiritual reflections and enabling us to have the needed personal encounter with Jesus and Mama Mary (it was like a 12-day Holy Retreat); and the Executive Resources for making a very nice pilgrimage package a part of our lifetime.Ms. Emma
Lord, we cannot find words enough to say how grateful we are to You. Our pilgrimage made us realize that Your love for us is more than what we deserve.
To all our co-pilgrims, thank you for making us feel we belong to this new family. To Fr. Dante, thanks for your prayers and pieces of advice for our spiritual nourishment. To Sis Lea, for taking care of each one of us. To Sis Joy, thanks for the contagious joys and laughters.
To our prayer partners, Sis Maribel, Melvy and Didick and Bro Mon and Sis Jot, thank you for your prayers. We will pray for you, too!
To The Pilgrim’s Center - Executive Resources, thank you for accommodating us in this Eastern Europe Pilgrimage.
God bless us all always!Albert and Adee
Dear Pilgrims' Center:
My husband Aldo & I would like to praise & commend our Pilgrim Chaplain Fr. Dante Venus & our Tour Leader Bro. Monty for the very successful & memorable pilgrimage to Italy & the Holy Land we were very fortunate to join on March 26-April 8, 2018.
It was very hectic to be sure, but still they managed our time very well that we were able to visit more places than was promised in the itinerary, and we are very appreciative of that. Likewise, the solemnity of the whole pilgrimage experience was still observed despite many of us in the group, myself included, often forgetting that we were pilgrims & not tourists 😉😉, taking photos, selfies, etc. instead of, or before focusing on what the local guide was explaining or on the scripture readings. I cannot fault us pilgrims on this because for many of us seniors, and I speak for my husband & I, that trip might be our first & last time to visit those places, so we made sure they were properly documented. Nonetheless, it was a truly spiritually uplifting & life-changing experience for us. We continue to thank our Lord for making that experience of a lifetime possible. Indeed, nothing is impossible for God! Thank you very much to Fr. Dante, Bro. Monty & to each of us pilgrims in the group for the prayers, love, care & concern shown to each other. Let us continue to pray for and with each other. It is my hope that we meet each other again soon, to strengthen our bonds of friendships.
Most sincerely, Leclec CabusoraLeclec Cabusora
My husband and I just came back from a wonderful trip to Israel - with Franciscan Fr Reu Galoy. Thank you Pilgrim Center for the arrangements. We are so happy and satisfied with all that you have done for us. Kudos to Yanyan and Monty from Pilgrim Center, and Fr Reu and Ronin for your caring services. It was a spiritual journey and we felt the abiding presence of the Lord all throughout.Ann Arguelles Cortes
Our pilgrimage was worth all the hardships (I was having leg pains). We had an excellent leader in the person of Adrian, two priests Fathers Val and Ron, who gave us very nice pieces of advice and homilies, and of course the members of the group who were all very nice. Looking forward to join another pilgrimage.Emily Bautista
It was the most profound experience I had in my whole life....Walking with the Footsteps where Jesus walked made my life more grateful and humble....My faith become stronger as I express it...A growing faith is a sharing faith....TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!! SHALOM!Carmen Nierra
Vir & I would like to express our gratitude for a wonderful pilgrimage we had from Sept 5-18. From checking-in last Sept 5 & all during the tour, we felt the care from a family. No words can ever describe how thankful we are.
I almost cried last Sept 8, (my birthday) when we (2 of us have the same birthday) were given a surprise mini celebration when after our dinner, we were given a cake. I really felt the love of a family then.
All these things made possible because of your capable coordinator Ms. Ging Igual. She's such a wonderful leader. Kudos to her.
Rest assured that i will refer your company to all my friends who are planning to go on pilgrimage .
Good day & may God always guide & protect all of you in the Pilgrims' Center/ Executive Resources, Inc.Cora and Vir Franca
I am honored to be included in this pilgrimage. The Pilgrims' Center has very good itineraries worth remembering. No hours wasted. They took very good care of us in spite of our big number of 47 people. The daily mass and homilies of Fr. Manny Cruz held in different shrines and churches were very inspirational and transforming. Accommodations were nice most especially the one on top of the Mountain with an awesome view built in 1909. It's like travelling back in time. I definitely would want to do it again with Pilgrim Center.Peter Joseph Mapua
The Pilgrims' Center always gives you the best. They let you feel like an Executive in terms of personal service & attention especially during pilgrimage. Their choices of pilgrimages and pilgrim chaplains are outstanding. You go back home very fulfilled and immersed...Marlene Silvestre
with Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVDREAD MORE +
with Fr. Jowel GatusREAD MORE +
with Fr. Melvin CastroREAD MORE +
1) A non-refundable US$ 500.00 deposit is required upon reservations together with a photocopy of a passport (valid for 6 months from date of departure), Pilgrim’s Profile, and the visa fee (if applicable).
2) Full payment in U.S. dollars is required before ticketing but in no case shall it be later than one month before departure date.
3) The following cancellation charges will apply:
> 45 days before departure date – US$ 500.00
> 30 days before departure date – 50% of the Tour Cost
> 20 days prior to departure date – Full tour cost will be forfeited.
> US$300.00 Admin Fee for any visa denial
BASIC TOUR COST DOES NOT INCLUDE: Visa fees and documentation expenses, insurance, hospitalization and other medical expenses, tours and transportation during free periods, porterage of extra pieces of luggage in excess of maximum allocation, drinks and beverages taken during meals, items of personal nature such as laundry, telephone, fax, room service, and other expenses not mentioned in the itinerary terms and conditions.
EXECUTIVE RESOURCES, INC. has arranged for the various tour services to be performed under the responsibility of various contractors. Executive Resources, Inc., its employees or its sub-agents therefore only act as agents for the contractors providing the various services described in the tour and accept no responsibility or liability in connection with losses or accidental expenses due to delays of schedule, overbooking, defaults or “force majeure.” All tours and arrangements are subject to the general conditions specified by each contractor. Tour itineraries and prices are subject to change without prior notice. When making a tour booking, the passenger acknowledges and accepts the foregoing conditions. When making a tour booking, the passenger acknowledges and accepts the foregoing conditions.