Last October 3-19, 2016 we had a Eucharistic and Marian Pilgrimage to Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, and eight of us made an extension to Belgium and The Netherlands including myself from October 19-26, 2016. We visited important pilgrimage sites, cathedrals, shrines, and other significant structures, monuments and so on. Our pilgrimage began in Lisbon as our entry point from Manila via Dubai and ended in Rome, Italy. Rome, for many of us, was the exit point for Manila via Dubai. But the eight of us, who made a nine-day extension of the pilgrimage made Amsterdam as our exit point for Manila via Dubai again. In addition to seeing the important religious sites, throughout this pilgrimage we also had the opportunity to preside and attend Mass in many of these locations and to join the Rosary and candlelight processions especially in Fatima and Lourdes but we were not able to attend candlelight procession in San Giovanni Rotondo because we arrived late and also tired.
This pilgrimage featured visits to some of Europe’s most famous pilgrimage sites. We enjoyed and reflected this guided faith-filled sightseeing in Fatima, where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three young shepherds in 1917 to Blessed Francisco, Jacinta, and Sr. Lucia, as well as in Santiago de Compostela, one of the top pilgrimage destinations during the Middle Ages and even today. We priests (Frs. Joseph, Bonie, Estong, Joemer, and Rey) and Bishop Gutierrez concelebrated the Mass presided by an archbishop. It is in this cathedral of Santiago the Compostela where the relic of St. James the Great, one of the 12 Apostles, is kept. We also visited Lourdes, in France, home to one of the world’s most famous pilgrimage places, where we visited the grotto where the Virgin Mary appeared in 1858 to St. Bernadette Souberous. That is why we have now the title of the Virgin Mary as the Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine. We visited also St. Bernadette’s birthplace and family home.
These are just some of the many highlights of this faith-based Eucharistic and Marian pilgrimage featuring Europe’s Eucharistic and Marian Shrines. It was a pilgrimage full of inspiration and for me, left with memories of a lifetime.
I would like to narrate this journey of faith through this pilgrimage on a day-to-day basis.