Spain, Portugal and France are all on the itinerary next March, when Msgr. David Slubecky, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Buffalo, will lead a group of local Catholics on a pilgrimage which will include the sight of a candlelight procession outside the Little Chapel of Apparitions in Fatima, Portugal. The trip falls within weeks of the 100th anniversary of when the Mother of God appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima.
"I'm really looking forward to that segment of it," said Msgr. Slubecky, who once studied in Italy but has never been to Fatima or Lourdes, France where pilgrims will be able to touch the miraculous waters of the baths and visit places associated with the life of St. Bernadette.
"I'm also looking forward to seeing the shrine of St. James," he said, referring to the stop in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
Santiago is one of the greatest pilgrimage centers in the world. The Buffalo group will visit the cathedral built in honor of St. James, who was given the task of spreading Christianity in distant Hispanic lands. In Avila, Spain, pilgrims can see the City of Kings and of Saints, completely encircled by 11th-century walls.
"You can see, in Avila, the theology of St. Theresa is very similar to the way St. Francis spoke as part of Assisi," said Msgr. Slubecky. "You automatically put them in that kind of mindset."
Pilgrims can attend Mass at the Convent of St. Theresa, where she was born. The trip, sponsored by the Diocese of Buffalo and the Western New York Catholic newspaper, will be March 16-28, 2017, and will also include stops in Barcelona and Madrid. The cost, based on double occupancy, is $3,495 per person.
"You have to actually look at what you're getting for that. Considering it's 13 days and you're getting almost all of your breakfast and dinners, tour guides, lodging, transportation," Msgr. Slubecky said, "it's a price that is pretty inclusive."
In March, the daytime high temperature is typically around 60 degrees in Portugal and Spain. Msgr. Slubecky feels this trip could have widespread appeal to those interested in traveling with a few dozen other Buffalonians.
"One group I think might be very strongly devoted to the Blessed Mother, and, if they have not had the opportunity, they would like to go to these places that are so central for devotion to her," said Msgr. Slubecky. "I think there's another group that would just enjoy the idea of visiting another country with people of the same faith, having some opportunity for prayer but realizing as well it's a time to enjoy and try different foods and try the port wine."Potential pilgrims can see the complete daily itinerary of the Buffalo-Fatima trip by visiting http://selectinternationaltours.com/product/fatima-lourdes-with-msgr-david-slubecky-march-16-28-2017/.
For more information contact Susan Prendergast at Select International Tours at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 800-842-4842.