The Shrines and Cathedrals of France

March 8 – 18, 1999

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Monday, March 8 – Day 1

We depart JFK International Airport today for our overnight flight, arriving in Paris the next day. We will be served complementary beverages, in-flight movies, dinner and breakfast aloft.

Tuesday, March 9 – Day 2

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This morning we arrive in Paris. After settling in at our hotel, we celebrate Mass at the Miraculous Medal Shrine where Mary appeared to St. Catherine Laboure. We view the remains of St. Catherine Laboure and of St. Louise de Marillac who, together with St. Vincent de Paul, founded the Daughters of Charity. We visit the Vincentian Fathers and Brothers Church nearby and then tour the sites of Paris, including Saint-Germain-des-Pres, the oldest church in Paris, on the left bank of the Seine. We visit the most enduring symbol of Paris, the Notre Dame Cathedral. We-pass by La Sorbonne, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower and travel down the famous Champs-Elysees. We will stop on the Ile de la Cité, and visit Sainte Chapelle, believed to hold relics, including nails and pieces of wood from the Cross of Calvary. Dinner and overnight at our hotel. We will gather this evening for introductions of old and new friends.

Wednesday, March 10 – Day 3

Today we venture out of Paris to Lisieux, the home of St. Therese the Little Flower, where we will celebrate Mass in the Carmel convent. We visit the Basilica where pilgrims from the world over come to kneel in solemn prayer and Les Buissonnets, where St. Therese lived as a child. From Lisieux, we travel to Rouen and visit L’Eglise Jeanne d’Arc, the church built on the spot where St. Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431. We view the majestic Rouen Cathedral, painted innumerable times by Monet. Return to Paris for dinner and overnight.

Thursday, March 11 – Day 4

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Basilica of Sacré-Cœur

We celebrate Mass at the Church of St. Paul and St. Louis, a parish in Marais well-known for welcoming gay and lesbian Catholics. We stop at Pere Lachaise where Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Peter Abelard and Heloise are buried. We visit the Basilica of Sacre Coeur on Montmartre and the adjacent chapel where St. Ignatius Loyola and the first members of the Society of Rouen Cathedral Jesus professed their first vows. After a stop at the Church of the Madeleine we conclude our day with a visit to the Louvre, seeing the Mona Lisa, Michelangelo’s Pair of Slaves, and other art-treasures. Dinner and overnight at our hotel. We will gather this evening for sharing about the pilgrimage.

Friday, March 12-Day 5

Today we see the magnificent cathedral at Chartres where we will celebrate Mass. We drive to Versailles, visiting the Palace, gardens and fountains, and Petit and Grand Trianon. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Paris.

Saturday, March 13 – Day 6

We depart the City of Lights and travel to beautiful Nevers, where St. Bernadette of Lourdes spent the last 13 years of her life, and celebrate Mass in the Convent of St. Gildard. We depart Nevers for Paray le Monial, the site of the apparitions of Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1673. We will attend the healing service at the Visitation Convent where she received the 12 promises to increase the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Paray Le Monial. We will gather,this evening for prayer and reflection.

Sunday, March 14 – Day 7

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This morning we motor to Cluny, the center for the Cluniac Order, a medieval group of Benedictines. The Benedictine Abbey was founded in 910 and reached the height of its glory under Saint Hugh around 1100, when it was extremely influential throughout Europe. A work of remarkable genius, the abbey church, where we will celebrate Mass, was built between 1088 and 1130 and combined all that was most perfect in Romanesque architecture. We later continue to Taize, a community founded by Protestant monks in 1962 and famous for its ecumenical work. We may join the community for a time of prayer and reflection. Return to Paray Le Avignon Monial for dinner and overnight.

Monday, March 15 – Day 8

We drive to Ars-sur-Formans, the home of St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney, better known as the Cure of Ars, the patron saint of parish priests. We will visit the basilica of Ars, where we will celebrate Mass, the saint’s home, and the shrine. We have lunch and tour Le Chambon, where villagers in World War II saved thousands of Jewish children and adults from the Nazi SS. We travel to Avignon for dinner and overnight at our hotel. We will gather this evening for prayer and reflection.

Tuesday, March 16 – Day 9

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Shrine of Lourdes

Inside the walled city of Avignon, we celebrate Mass and tour the Palais des Papes, where seven popes resided during the so-called Babylonian Captivity, 1309 to 1377. We continue to Lourdes for dinner and overnight.

Wednesday, March 17 – Day 10

Following Mass and a morning orientation visit to the Shrine of Lourdes, we will experience a walking tour of Lourdes, visiting Boly Mill, where St. Bernadette was born; the Cachot, formerly used as a jail, where she lived during the apparitions; the parish church, where Bernadette was baptized; and the Hogpital Chapel, where she made her First Holy Communion. This afternoon will be free for private devotions or the Shrine of Lourdes legendary, healing waters of the miraculous Lourdes spring. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Lourdes. We will gather this evening for sharing about the pilgrimage.

Thursday, March 18 – Day 11

This we depart Lourdes by coach to Pau, where we board our flight to Paris and to New York. We arrive at JFK later today.