Fr. Melvin Castro
September 25, 2019
Portugal, Spain and France
The Blessed Mother and the Saints are a gift of God to the world. They inspire the faithful by their life examples and intercession in heaven. Get closer to Jesus through Mary and the Saints. Join a 16-day Marian Pilgrimage to Portugal, Spain and France with Fr. Melvin Castro leaving on September 25, 2019.
Begin your pilgrimage with a Mass at the Almudena Cathedral in Madrid, which houses a 16th century image of the “Virgen de la Almudena.” Enjoy a panoramic tour of this bustling city which includes a visit to Madrid’s top attractions such as the Plaza Mayor, Cibeles, Neptuno Fountains, Puerta del Sol, Parque del Oeste, and others. Next stop is Avila, the birthplace of St. Teresa of Jesus, one of the great mystics of the Roman Catholic Church. The Convent of St. Teresa is a 17th century convent built over the house where St. Teresa was born. It contains her relics, along with her friend St. John of the Cross, in a small museum.
Head for Portugal where you will spend two nights in Fatima, one of the most famous Marian shrines in the world. Spend time in prayer at the Chapel of the Apparitions, an open-air chapel built on the site of the Marian apparitions. Not to be missed is a moving evening Rosary and Candlelight procession.
En route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, stop at Braga, the third largest city of Portugal. Visit the magnificent Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte (Shrine of Good Jesus of the Mountain) in Braga, well known for its intricate zigzag Baroque style staircase, about 600 steps, that lead up to the main Basilica.
Visit the awe inspiring Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, the place where St. James is buried. The church marks the end of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. Stop by the awe inspiring Covadonga, home to the Holy Cave where Our Lady of Covadonga is enshrined. Next stop is the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Arantzazu, one of the most avant-garde religious buildings in the world. The sanctuary was built in the place where the Blessed Mother is believed to have appeared before a shepherd in 1469. St. Ignatius visited the shrine of Our Lady of Arantzazu while on his way to Montserrat. It was during his overnight vigil in this place where he said he received spiritual graces and made his vow of chastity.
Proceed to France to spend two nights at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, an apparition site of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1858. The most sacred site in Lourdes is the Grotto of Massabielle, the site of St. Bernadette’s visions of the Blessed Mother. The spring water from the grotto is believed to possess healing properties and the Roman Catholic Church has officially proclaimed 70 miraculous healings.
Cap off your pilgrimage in the beautiful City of Paris. Visit the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, where Our Lady appeared before St. Catherine of Laboure and instructed her to have a medal made and all who wear it will receive great graces.
Have this once in a lifetime journey. Join a 16-day Marian Pilgrimage to Portugal, Spain and France with Fr. Melvin Castro leaving on September 25, 2019. Be inspired and spiritually uplifted as you dwell in the places where the Blessed Mother has appeared and great Saints have lived.
Lisbon is the capital of Portugal. It is situated on seven hills at the wide mouth of the river Tagus (Tejo) where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. A port city,...LISBON
Lisbon is the capital of Portugal.
It is situated on seven hills at the wide mouth of the river Tagus (Tejo) where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. A port city, an economic centre, a cultural powerhouse and a thriving mix of Portugal’s rich history and vivid contemporary culture, Lisbon enchants travellers with its white bleached limestone buildings, intimate alleyways, and an easy going charm that makes it a popular year round destination.
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 consists 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...SHRINE OF BOM JESUS
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.
Lugo is the only city in the world to be surrounded by completely intact Roman walls. Lugo is a city in northwestern Spain in the autonomous community of Galicia. Lugo...LUGO
Lugo is the only city in the world to be surrounded by completely intact Roman walls.
Lugo is a city in northwestern Spain in the autonomous community of Galicia.
Lugo is the only city in the world to be surrounded by completely intact Roman walls, which reach a height of 10 to 15 meters (33 to 49 feet) along a 2,117 meter (6,946 ft) circuit ringed with 71 towers. The walk along the top is continuous round the circuit, and features ten gates. The 3rd century walls are protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The bridge over the Minho is essentially of Roman date, though many repairs over the centuries have effaced its Roman character. It is along the Camino Primitivo path of the Camino de Santiago.
The Roman Bridge is the symbol of Cangas de Onis. Canga de Onis is a municipality in the eastern part of the province and autonomous community of Asturias in the...CANGAS DE ONIS
The Roman Bridge is the symbol of Cangas de Onis.
Canga de Onis is a municipality in the eastern part of the province and autonomous community of Asturias in the northwest of Spain.
The Roman Bridge is the symbol of Cangas de Onis and probably one of the best known sites in Asturias. It’s beautiful in its simplicity and provides a beautiful foreground to the lovely countryside in which it resides. The Roman Bridge has been declared to be a Historic – Artistic site in 1931.
Cangas has long since been a backwater for more than a thousand years now, but it was a charming introduction to Spain’s most stunning natural wonder, the Picos de Europas mountain range.
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.
One of the most beautiful viewpoints of Asturias is the Mirador del Fito. Located in the Sierra del Sueva, in the Picu Pienzu, you can see magnificent views of the...MIRADOR DEL FITO
One of the most beautiful viewpoints of Asturias is the Mirador del Fito.
Located in the Sierra del Sueva, in the Picu Pienzu, you can see magnificent views of the eastern coast of Asturias and the Picos De Europa.
Limpias is a municipality located in the autonomous community of Cantabria, Spain. The city has a population of 1,497 inhabitants The 16th century Church of St. Peter (Iglesia san Pedro)...LIMPIAS
Limpias is a municipality located in the autonomous community of Cantabria, Spain. The city has a population of 1,497 inhabitants
The 16th century Church of St. Peter (Iglesia san Pedro) at Limpias, houses a life-size crucifix that has a fascinating history. In In 1914, a monk of the Order of Pauline Fathers was cleaning the face of Our Lord on the crucifix when he was astonished to see that the eyes open and then close.
Another apparition took place soon after, when it was reported by a girl in the confessional that she saw the same thing. At first the priest hearing the confession dismissed this as the girl’s imagination, until several other penitents reported the same thing. After leaving the confessional the parish priest began to pray in front of the crucifix, but by now many of the parishioners reported that the figure of Our Lord was also perspiring.
Again on Palm Sunday in 1919 Our Lord manifested himself to two of Limpias’ prominent citizens who had come to refute these claims, attributing them to mass hysteria. One of them, upon gazing at the crucifix, immediately fell to his knees proclaiming his belief in the miracle. The following Sunday (Easter) a group of nuns who ran a girl’s school in Limpias observed the eyes and lips of Our Lord on the crucifix move.
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 (IMMACULATE CONCEPTION)
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.
Paris, city and capital of France, has the reputation of being the most romantic of all cities. Located in the north of France on the river Seine, the city is...PARIS
Paris, city and capital of France, has the reputation of being the most romantic of all cities.
Located in the north of France on the river Seine, the city is brimming with historic associations and remaining vastly influential in the realms of art, fashion, food and design. It is one of the most beautiful cities on earth.
Dubbed as the City of Light, a large part of the city, including the River Seine, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city has the second highest number of Michelin-restaurants in the world (after Tokyo) and contains numerous iconic landmarks, such as the world’s most visited tourist site, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum, Moulin Rouge, etc. making it the most popular tourist destination in the world with 45 million tourists annually.
“O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.” The Miraculous Medal was created in response to a request from the Blessed Virgin Mary, who entrusted...OUR LADY OF THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL
“O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.”
The Miraculous Medal was created in response to a request from the Blessed Virgin Mary, who entrusted us with our mission. It was given by the Blessed Virgin Mary herself! No wonder, then, that it gives such extraordinary graces to those who wear it and pray for Mary’s intercession and help. Our Lady manifested the Medal to St. Catherine Labouré on November 27, 1830, in the Motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac, in Paris.
Catherine saw Our Lady standing on a globe, with dazzling rays of light streaming from her outstretched hands. Framing the figure was an inscription: “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” Then Mary spoke to Catherine: “Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around the neck.”
The vision then seemed to turn to show the reverse of the Medal: the letter M surmounted by a cross with a bar at its base; below this monogram, the Sacred Heart of Jesus crowned with thorns, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary pierced with a sword.
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. Vatican City was built over the tomb of St. Peter. It is the temporal seat of the...VATICAN CITY
The Vatican City is a walled enclave within the city of Rome.
Vatican City was built over the tomb of St. Peter. It is the temporal seat of the Pope, the head of the worldwide Catholic Church. It is also the world’s smallest state.
Inside the Vatican City we can find 11 Vatican Museums with the restored Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Gardens. Vatican radio station broadcasts all over the world in 29 languages, it has it’s television station, the daily newspaper, post office with Vatican stamps, shops, offices and publishing house. All signposted, in highly-sophisticated system of organization.
More than a thousand residents are responsible for the smooth, day-to-day running of this nerve centre of official Christianity, with of course the Pope at its head, all guarded by the Swiss guard.
The Sanctuary of St. Padre Pio is located in 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 in 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.
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 CortesAnn 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 Franca PilgrimCora 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 a Pilgrimage ChaplainREAD MORE +
VISA FEE: Php 8,000.00 *
* Subject to change without prior notice!
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.
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