Fr. Dan Bien
September 25, 2023
Portugal, Spain, France & Italy
“To succeed in your intentions, entrust yourselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary always, but especially in moments of difficulty and darkness. From Mary, we learn to surrender to God’s will in things. From Mary, we learn to trust even when all hope seems gone. From Mary, we learn to love Christ, her Son and the Son of God… Learn from her to be always faithful, to trust that God’s Word to you will be fulfilled, and that nothing is impossible with God.'”
– St. John Paul II
Deepen your devotion to the Blessed Mother and the saints. Join a 16-day communion with Mary and the Saints Marian Pilgrimage with Fr. Dan Bien on September 25 to October 10, 2023.
Your pilgrimage begins with a Mass at the Church of St. Anthony in Lisbon, Portugal. The Church of St. Anthony was built on the site where St. Anthony of Lisbon (also known as St. Anthony of Padua) was born in 1195. Travel onwards to Fatima, where you will spend two nights at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima. The fame of this place is the result of the apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary to three shepherd children – Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta.
From Fatima, head for Coimbra to visit the Chapel of the Carmelite Convent of St. Teresa, where Sister Lucia (one of the visionaries in Fatima) lived and died. Continue with a panoramic view of the city of Braga, the third largest city in Portugal. Visit the magnificent Shrine of Bom Jesus do Monte (Shrine of Good Jesus of the Mountain), well known for its intricate zigzag baroque-style staircase of about 600 steps that leads up to the main basilica. Leave Portugal for Spain for a visit to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the burial place of St. James the Great, one of the apostles of Jesus. The cathedral-basilica is at the end of a pilgrimage route known as the Way of St. James.
Still in Spain, stop by the awe-inspiring Covadonga, home to the Santa Cueva de Nuestra Senora de Covadonga, where Our Lady of the Covadonga is enshrined. Next stop is the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Arantzazu, where St. Ignatius of Loyola spent a night in vigil and made his vow of chastity. For Ignatius, it was a time of great grace to strengthen his resolve to follow Christ.
Proceed to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, an apparition site of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1858. Here, 18 apparitions were reported. Pray the rosary and spend time in quiet reflection at the Grotto of Massabielle, the Blessed Mother’s apparition site. Not to be missed is the evening rosary procession, where “Ave Maria” is sung in unison and the rosary is recited in different languages.
Head for Paris, the cosmopolitan capital of France and one of Europe’s largest cities. Paris has the well-deserved reputation of being the most beautiful and romantic of all cities. Enjoy a delightful tour of the city that includes a cruise on the River Seine. Celebrate Mass at the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Rue de Bac, an important place of prayer and pilgrimage that draws believers from all over the world who wish to prayerfully reflect and ask for the Virgin Mary’s protection. Enjoy a full-day excursion to the pilgrimage town of Lisieux, hometown of the endeared St. Therese of Lisieux, also known as St. Therese of the Child Jesus.
Wind down your pilgrimage in Italy by visiting San Giovanni Rotondo, where Padre Pio spent most of his life. And Rome, the heart and home of the Catholic Church.
We come to find Christ, and Mary always points the way to her Son. Join a 16-day communion with Mary and the saints’ Marian pilgrimage with Fr. Dan Bien on September 25 to October 10, 2023. And like Mary did with Jesus, may you treasure and ponder the memories of this holy journey in your hearts, allowing Jesus to unfold the graces received as pilgrims on the journey toward eternal life.
Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal. It is a port city, an economic center, a cultural powerhouse and a thriving mix of Portugal’s rich history and vivid contemporary culture....LISBON
Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal.
It is a port city, an economic center, a cultural powerhouse and a thriving mix of Portugal’s rich history and vivid contemporary culture.
Lisbon is the political center of the country, as seat of Government and residence of the Head of State.
Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, and the oldest city in Western Europe, predating other modern European capitals such as London, Paris and Rome by hundreds of years. Lisbon has two sites listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site: Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery.
Our Lady of Fatima revealed herself as Our Lady of the Rosary. Our Lady of Fatima appeared to three shepherd children – Lucia dos Santos (age 10) and her cousins...OUR LADY OF FATIMA
Our Lady of Fatima revealed herself as Our Lady of the Rosary.
Our Lady of Fatima appeared to three shepherd children – Lucia dos Santos (age 10) and her cousins Jacinta (age 7) and Francisco Marto (age 9) – on the 13th of each month from May to October 1917, in Fatima, Portugal.
She asked the children to pray the rosary for world peace, for sinners and for the conversion of Russia.
The children later said that her coming had been preceded by an “angel of peace” who appeared in 1916. Lucia described her vision of Mary as “more brilliant than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun.”
Mary exhorted the children to do penance to save sinners. More importantly, she asked them to say the Rosary every day. She emphasized many times that devotion to the Rosary was the key to personal and world peace. The Blessed Virgin also revealed the Three Secrets of Fatima to the children which consist of prophecies about the future.
Coimbra is the fourth largest urban center in Portugal. In terms of historic significance and romantic beauty, Coimbra is second only to Lisbon and Oporto. Its ancient buildings cling to...COIMBRA
Coimbra is the fourth largest urban center in Portugal.
In terms of historic significance and romantic beauty, Coimbra is second only to Lisbon and Oporto. Its ancient buildings cling to the side of the hill that rises above the curves of the river Mondego, the ornate buildings of the famous University of Coimbra are its crowning glory.
Coimbra is a university city with the establishment of the University of Coimbra in 1290, the oldest academic institution in Portugal and one of the oldest in Europe. Apart from attracting many European and international students, the university is visited by many tourists for its monuments and history. Its historical buildings were classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2013.
The Santuário Bom Jesús do Monte (“Shrine of Good Jesus of the Mountain”) is a hilltop Catholic pilgrimage site just a few miles from Braga. In 1722 the Archbishop of...SHRINE OF BOM JESU
The Santuário Bom Jesús do Monte (“Shrine of Good Jesus of the Mountain”) is a hilltop Catholic pilgrimage site just a few miles from Braga.
In 1722 the Archbishop of Braga commissioned the construction of a Sacred Way, so the faithful could walk the Stations of the Cross for penance and contemplation. It was completed in 1811.
The stairway leading to the top contains 17 landings adorned with symbolic fountains, allegoric statues and other Baroque style decoration along themes such as the Stations of the Cross, the Five Senses, the Virtues, Moses receiving the Commandments and, at the top, the eight biblical figures that contributed to the Condemnation of Jesus. Any visit must take in the view from the bottom of the Stairway. Looking upwards there are the ornate granite fountains on the various landings and the white, chalice-shaped outline on which the church itself “sits”.
Santiago de Compostela is a city is well known for the Shrine of St. James the Great. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia in northwestern Spain....SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
Santiago de Compostela is a city is well known for the Shrine of St. James the Great.
It is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia in northwestern Spain.
The city has its origin in the shrine of St. James the Great, now the city’s cathedral, as the destination of the Way of St. James, a leading Catholic pilgrimage route originated in the 9th century. The city’s Old Town was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
The cathedral borders the main plaza of the old and the well preserved city. Legend has it that the remains of the apostle James were brought to Galicia for burial. In 813, according to medieval legend, the light of a bright star guided a shepherd who was watching his flock at night to the burial site in Santiago de Compostela. To honor St. James, the cathedral was built on the spot where his remains were said to have been found.
Our Lady of Covadonga is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and a Marian shrine devoted to her at Covadonga in the province of Asturias in north west Spain....OUR LADY OF COVADONGA
Our Lady of Covadonga is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and a Marian shrine devoted to her at Covadonga in the province of Asturias in north west Spain.
The Spanish shrine rose to prominence following the Battle of Covadonga in 722, at which the Moorish invasion of Spain was first resisted. A statue of the Virgin Mary, secretly hidden in one of the caves, was believed to have miraculously aided the Christian victory. Our Lady of Covadonga is the patron of Asturias, and a basilica was built to house the current statue.
Santander is an elegant city which extends over a wide bay with views of the Cantabrian Sea. Its historic quarter includes a group of majestic buildings which are situated against...SANTANDER
Santander is an elegant city which extends over a wide bay with views of the Cantabrian Sea.
Its historic quarter includes a group of majestic buildings which are situated against an incredible natural backdrop of sea and mountains. Its marine and commercial tradition is linked to a century old history of tourism, which has its main attractions in the famous El Sardinero beach, the promenade and the La Magdalena peninsula.
The cultural wealth of the Cantabrian capital is enriched with the passage of the Pilgrim’s Road to Santiago de Compostela and the neighbouring Altamira Caves, both of which have been declared World Heritage.
Our Lady of Arantzazu is often referred to as Our Lady of the Thorns. St. Ignatius of Loyola spent the night in vigil at this shrine and made a vow...OUR LADY OF ARANTZAZU
Our Lady of Arantzazu is often referred to as Our Lady of the Thorns.
St. Ignatius of Loyola spent the night in vigil at this shrine and made a vow of chastity.
The Franciscan Sanctuary of Our Lady of Arantzazu is located in Onati, in the province of Guipuzcoa, Basque Country, Spain. The location enjoys the peaceful atmosphere of the Aizkorri mountain range.
At this site, according to very old legend, the Virgin Mary appeared to a shepherd, Rodrigo de Balanzategui in 1468. According to this legend, the figure of Mary was in a thorn bush, and Rodrigo cried out, “Arantzan zu?” (Thou, among the thorns?!). This gave rise to the place’s name. An explanation of the word origin is that it stems from a combination of arantza and zu, “place abounding in hawthorn.”
Our Lady of Lourdes revealed herself as the Immaculate Conception in Lourdes. Our Lady of Lourdes appeared to Bernadette Soubirous on February 11, 1858. Bernadette was led by Our Lady...OUR LADY OF LOURDES
Our Lady of Lourdes revealed herself as the Immaculate Conception in Lourdes.
Our Lady of Lourdes appeared to Bernadette Soubirous on February 11, 1858. Bernadette was led by Our Lady to a sacred spring of water, which still flows into this day. The Sanctuary of the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes remains to be one of the most popular Marian Shrines in the world.
In 1858, Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year old simple, peasant girl, saw a vision of “lady in white” who spoke to her in the cave of Massabielle (a mile from the town) while she was gathering firewood with her sister and a friend. There were 18 apparitions in all. The “Lady” identified herself as “I am the Immaculate Conception” and asked that the local priests build a chapel at the site of the vision. During the 9th apparition, “the Lady” asked Bernadette to scrape the ground, saying to her: “Go to the spring, drink of it and wash yourself there.” This previously undiscovered spring of water from the grotto is believed to possess healing properties because many people have claimed to have been cured by drinking or bathing in it.
The grandiose Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains in southwest France, is the largest Catholic pilgrimage destination in France and one of the most popular Catholic shrines in the world.
Later on, Bernadette Soubirous was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1933.
The first Marian apparition in history appeared to Saint James the Apostle, the brother of Saint John the Evangelist, on the bank of the river Ebro in Saragossa, Spain. Unlike...NUESTRO SENORA DEL PILAR
The first Marian apparition in history appeared to Saint James the Apostle, the brother of Saint John the Evangelist, on the bank of the river Ebro in Saragossa, Spain. Unlike every other recorded apparition, this one took place during the earthly life of the Mother of God.
According to tradition, she had promised Saint James that when he needed it most in his difficult mission to the pagans in today’s Spain, she would appear to him to encourage him.
In the year 40 A.D., while praying one night on the tobrt bank, the Virgin appeared with the Child Jesus standing on a pillar and asked Saint James and his eight disciples to build a church on the site, promising that “it will stand from that moment until the end of time in order that God may work miracles and wonders through my intercession for all those who place themselves under my patronage.”
The church of Our Lady of the Pilar in Zaragoza, is the first church dedicated to Mary in history and it remains standing to this day, having survived invasions and wars – in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939 three bombs were dropped on the church and none of them exploded.
Our Lady is also said to have given the small wooden statue of the apparition to Saint James which now stands on a pillar in the church.
Nuestra Señora del Pilar is the patron of Spain and all Hispanic peoples. October 12, 1492, the feast of the Virgin of the Pillar, is the day Christopher Colombus first sighted American land, and when the first Mass in the Americas was celebrated.
Our Lady of Montserrat or the Virgin of Montserrat is a Marian title associated with a venerated statue of the Madonna and Child venerated at the Santa Maria de Montserrat...OUR LADY OF MONTSERRAT
Our Lady of Montserrat or the Virgin of Montserrat is a Marian title associated with a venerated statue of the Madonna and Child venerated at the Santa Maria de Montserrat monastery on the Montserrat Mountain in Catalonia, Spain.
She is the Patron Saint of Catalonia, an honor she shares with St. George.
The image is one of the Black Madonnas of Europe, hence its familiar Catalan name, La Moreneta (“the little dark-skinned one” or “the little dark one”).
Believed by some to have been carved in Jerusalem in the early days of the Church, it is more likely a Romanesque sculpture in wood from the late 12th century.
Barcelona is the capital and largest city of Catalonia, and Spain’s second largest city. This city, located directly on the north-eastern Mediterranean coast of Spain, has a rich history, having...BARCELONA
Barcelona is the capital and largest city of Catalonia, and Spain’s second largest city.
This city, located directly on the north-eastern Mediterranean coast of Spain, has a rich history, having been under Roman, then Frank law before declaring its independence.
In 1992, Barcelona gained international recognition by hosting the Olympic games which brought a massive upturn in its tourism industry.
This beautiful city is full of what European cities are known for (outdoor markets, restaurants, shops, museums and churches) and is fantastic for walking with an extensive and reliable Metro system for more far-flung destinations. The core centre of town, focused around the Ciutat Vella (“Old City”) provides days of enjoyment for those looking to experience the life of Barcelona while the beaches the city was built upon providing sun and relaxation during the long periods of agreeable warm weather.
Rome, the Eternal City, is the capital and largest city of Italy. It is the famed city of the Roman Empire, the Seven Hills, La Dolce Vita (the sweet life),...ROME
Rome, the Eternal City, is the capital and largest city of Italy.
It is the famed city of the Roman Empire, the Seven Hills, La Dolce Vita (the sweet life), the Vatican City and Three Coins in the Fountain.
Rome, as a millennium-long center of power, culture and religion, has exerted a huge influence over the world in its roughly 2,800 years of existence. The historic center of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rome has an immensely rich historical heritage and cosmopolitan atmosphere, making it one of Europe’s and the world’s most visited, famous, influential and beautiful capitals. Today, Rome has a growing nightlife scene and is also seen as a shopping heaven, being regarded as one of the fashion capitals of the world. With so many sights and things to do, Rome can truly be classified a “global city.”
The Vatican City is a walled enclave within the city of Rome. It is the temporal seat of the Pope, the head of the worldwide Catholic Church. It is also the world’s smallest state.
The Sanctuary of St. Padre Pio is located at San Giovanni Rotondo in southern Italy. The shrine centers on the tomb of St. Padre Pio, a Capuchin friar, priest and...SANCTUARY OF ST. PADRE PIO
The Sanctuary of St. Padre Pio is located at San Giovanni Rotondo in southern Italy.
The shrine centers on the tomb of St. Padre Pio, a Capuchin friar, priest and mystic known for his devotion to God, care for the sick and supernatural gifts. He was declared a saint in 2002.
The Shrine of Padre Pio receives 7 million pilgrims each year. The large and ultramodern Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church was built in devotion to the saint and to accommodate the increasing throngs of pilgrims that visit the place.
Loreto is home to one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Italy. It is an important hill town to the south of Anacona. It is inland from the Adriatic...LORETO
Loreto is home to one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Italy.
It is an important hill town to the south of Anacona. It is inland from the Adriatic coast in the Marches region of central Italy.
The main attraction for visitors to Loreto – pilgrims or otherwise – is the imposing basilica and fortress complex which also includes the museum and the Holy House of the Virgin Mary.
The Holy House of Loreto is one of the most revered Marian shrines in the world. Since medieval times, the Holy House has been believed to be the very home in which the Virgin Mary lived, conceived and raised the young Jesus.
A large basilica has been built around the small shrine, and the sacred site attracts as many as 4 million Catholic pilgrims and visitors each year.
Bologna is the capital and largest city of Emilia-Romagna Region in Northern Italy. Famous for its towers, churches and lengthy porticoes, Bologna has a well-preserved historical centre, thanks to a...BOLOGNA
Bologna is the capital and largest city of Emilia-Romagna Region in Northern Italy.
Famous for its towers, churches and lengthy porticoes, Bologna has a well-preserved historical centre, thanks to a careful restoration and conservation policy which began at the end of the 1970s. Home to the oldest university in the world, the University of Bologna, established in AD 1078, the city has a large student population that gives it a cosmopolitan character. In 2000 it was declared European capital of culture and in 2006, a UNESCO “city of music.”
Bologna is one of the wealthiest cities in Italy
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
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