Fr. Melvin Castro
October 8, 2018
In 1776, the Spaniards established a presidio, or military post, and a Franciscan mission on the end of the beautiful peninsula. Mission San Francisco de Asis or Mission Dolores is the oldest surviving structure in San Francisco and the 7th mission as part of the California chain of missions.
San Francisco is the 4th largest city in California. It is located in the northern part of the state between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay on a narrow arm of land that embraces San Francisco Bay, the largest landlocked harbors in the world.
Mission San Juan Bautista, the 15th mission, is founded by Father Fermin Lasuen of the Franciscan Order in 1797 in San Benito County, California. It is the largest California mission church and the only one with three aisles. Musical arts were taught her by Fr. Tapis as he taught the Indians to read music as well as play it. The San Juan Bautista Mission is nicknamed, “the Mission of Music.”
Mission Carmel or San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, is the 2nd mission built by Franciscan missionaries in Upper California. Founded by St. Junipero Serra, this mission is considered his favorite, and both he and Fr. Lasuen are buried here. It served as the ecclesiastical capital of California and the headquarters of St. Junipero Serra for administrative duties as president of the missions. Set against the sea and mountains 115 miles south of San Francisco, this beautiful mission presents the complete quadrangle courtyard typical of mission architecture. The architecture is Moorish in design. It also has a beautiful garden.
San Luis Obispo de Tolosa is the 5th mission founded in 1772 by St. Junipero Serra. It was the first mission to use tiles extensively on the roof due to repeated attacks by Indians who used flaming arrows to ignite the original thatched roof. Situated in the fertile, well-watered Valley of Bears, the mission produced an abundance of crops, and two water-powered grist mills processed food normally ground by hand. Now, its museum features a rare collection of early California photographs, authentic Serra relics and specimens of Chumash Indian craftsmanship.
Mission Santa Ines, the 19th mission, is in the present-day city of Solvang, California and named after St. Agnes of Rome. It was founded in September 17, 1804 by Fr. Estevan Tapis as a midway point between Mission Santa Barbara ad Mission La Purisima Concepcion, and was designated to relieve overcrowding at those two missions and to serve the Indians living east of the Coast Range. Nowadays, its museum contains a notable collection of vestments, church records and missals, and the church displays some of the original decorations on a wall behind the altar.
Founded in 1786, the 10th mission, Santa Barbara Mission is known as the “Queen of the Missions” for its graceful beauty. This was the first mission to be christened by Fr. Lasuen, and has continuously served as a parish church for the local population since its founding. Mission Santa Barbara is notable for its complex irrigation systems of aqueducts and reservoirs, and also the Lavanderia and fountain in front of the main building.
San Buenaventura Mission is the 9th mission founded by St. Junipero Serra in 1782. The mission is located in the historic downtown of Ventura and it was the last mission to be established by Fr. Serra. Restored in 1957, the facade exhibits an unusual triangular design which opens into the gardens. A museum exhibits artifacts that include two old wooden bells, the only ones of their type known in California. Situated three blocks from the ocean, the mission fronts on the main street of Ventura.
Founded in 1771 by St. Junipero Serra, the 4th mission is San Gabriel Arcangel. Located nine miles east of downtown Los Angeles, the fortress-like structure of strong Moorish architectural influence was patterned after the cathedral at Cordova, Spain. With slender capped buttresses and six-belled wall campanario, its design is unique among the missions of the California chain.
The City of Los Angeles is the second largest city in the United States after New York City and the most populous city in the state of California. Situated in Southern California, Los Angeles is well known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, sprawling metropolis, and as a major center of the American entertainment industry.
Mexico city is the capital of Mexico, and the largest city in the North America by population.
Attractions in Mexico City focus less on lazing on the beach and more on exploring the culture and urban culture of Mexico. Downtown Mexico City has been an urban area since the pre-Columbian 12th century, and the city is filled with historical buildings and landmarks from every epoch since then. It is also known as the City of Palaces, because of the large number of stately buildings, especially in the Centro. In addition, Mexico is the city with the largest number of museums in the world (without taking into account art galleries), with New York as no. 2, London as no. 3 and Toronto as no. 4.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Spanish: Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe) is a Roman Catholic church,basilica and National shrine of Mexico in the north of Mexico City. The shrine was built near the hill of Tepeyac where Our Lady of Guadalupe is believed to have appeared to Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin. This site is also known as La Villa de Guadalupe or, in a more popular sense, simply La Villa, as it has several churches and related buildings.
The new Basilica houses the original tilma (or cloak) of Juan Diego, which holds the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. One of the most important pilgrimage sites of Catholicism, the basilica is visited by several million people every year, especially around 12 December, Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Feast day.
Tlaxcala, officially Tlaxcala de Xicohtencatl is the capital city of the Mexican state of Tlaxcala. The city center is compact defined by grand government buildings, imposing churches and one of the country’s more stunning central plazas. Most of these buildings are centered on the main square called the Plaza de la Constitucion. In the center of this square is the Santa Cruz Fountain which was donated to the city by Philip IV in 1646.
The apparitions at Ocotlan: About 80 miles outside of Mexico City lies one of the most beautiful sanctuaries in the country. The apparitions of Ocotlan began on February 27, 1541 when Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego Bernardino (no relation to Juan Diego of Guadalupe). Our Lady showed Juan a spring of water and said: “Not only your relatives and friends will be healed, but also all of those who drink this. Drink as much water as you desire. Know that upon drinking just one drop, the sick will not only be cured, but they will receive perfect health!”
The next morning, Juan and the Franciscan monks from the monastery where he worked, found a burning tree that contained a statue of Our Lady. Today, the statue is kept in the Basilica at Ocotlan.
Puebla is one of the oldest Mexican cities and any monumental ruins can be found throughout the state. The historical center of Puebla is UNESCO World Heritage site. Puebla is also known for its Talavera ceramics, which are crafted using the same techniques introduced by the Spaniards in the 16th century. Puebla is likewise the home of Mole Poblano, a traditional Mexican dish.
Puebla is sometimes called City of Street Lights due to the numerous decorative street lamps crafted by the French. The French legacy can also be seen in the city’s elaborate wrought iron balconies and the fine crystal chandeliers adorning historic buildings.
The Spanish missions that dot the coast of California are some of the oldest remaining structures in the state. The missions possess historic, cultural and religious significance that has been inspirational in California since the time of its existence. Join us on a 14-day Pilgrimage through California’s Mission Churches plus a visit to Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico with Fr. Melvin Castro leaving on October 8, 2018. Pray before the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico. And trace the footprints of the Spanish friars that blazed a trail along the California coast.
Please note that an 8-day Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe and Mexico only is also available. Kindly contact us for more details.
Begin your pilgrimage at the Mission of San Francisco de Asis, situated in the heart of San Francisco, California. Considered as the oldest building in the city, much of the original church interior is still intact. Next stop is the Mission of San Juan Bautista, the 15th of the Spanish missions. Fr. Tapis’ choir of Native American boys used to perform for many visitors, earning the San Juan Bautista Mission the nickname “the Mission of Music.” Head for Monterey to visit San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission, well known to be St. Junipero Serra’s favorite. Proceed to Mission San Antonio de Padua. Founded by St. Junipero Serra, it was here where the first Christian marriage in California took place.
Enjoy a delightful drive to San Luis Obispo to visit Mission San Miguel Archangel. The 16th Mission is famed for the original paintings by the Indians that still adorn the walls and ceilings of the place. Next, is a visit to the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. The mission is the halfway point in the chain and is referred to as the “Prince of Missions.”
Onwards to Solvang to visit the Mission Sta. Ines, known as the “hidden gem of the missions”. Head off to the Santa Barbara Mission, dubbed as the “Queen of the Missions.” En route to Los Angeles, stop in Ventura to visit the San Buenaventura Mission. This was the final mission to be built during the lifetime of St. Junipero Serra. It is the only mission in California that contains wooden bells. Arriving in Los Angeles, visit the Mission San Gabriel Archangel. Founded by St. Junipero Serra, its fortress-like structure distinguishes it from any other mission.
Take a flight from Los Angeles to Mexico City to continue your pilgrimage. Enjoy a leisurely tour of the important sites of Mexico city. Not to be missed is a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary after she appeared to St. Juan Diego in the village of Guadalupe by Tepeyac Hill in Mexico. This encounter brought about the miracle: the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary imprinted on the tilma (cloak) of St. Juan Diego. See the original sacrosanct tilma enshrined at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe and offer your prayers before her miraculous image.
Take this 14-day Journey through California’s Mission Churches plus a visit to Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico with Fr. Melvin Castro leaving on October 8, 2018. Discover California’s Spanish roots with a visit to some of the fascinating and beautiful Missions plus a visit to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, one of the most visited Catholic shrines in the world.
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
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
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. Val PinlacREAD MORE +
with Fr. Melvin CastroREAD MORE +
1) A US$ 500.00 non-refundable deposit is required upon reservation together with a photocopy of a passport (valid for 6 months fromdate of departure) and Pilgrim’s Profile with a passport-size photo plus the visa fee and travel insurance payment.
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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.