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Day 1 Flight to Mexico City
We will leave our home towns today and catch our flights to Mexico City. Upon arrival in this city of 24 million, we are met by our local English-speaking guide and escorted through the airport to our luxury motor coach. We will go directly to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe where our priest will celebrate Mass and have some time to view the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the Tilma of Juan Diego.
Later in our tour we will be spending much more time here to pray and reflect on the treasures of our Catholic faith. From here we proceed to the Hotel Casablanca for dinner and overnight in Mexico City.
Day 2 Mexico City–Puebla
We will have breakfast at our hotel and then go to the Church of the Holy Family and the Shrine of Blessed Miguel Pro for our first Mass together as a group. For the December group this means that we will be celebrating Mass here on December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Those who wish may obtain second class relics from the Parish office for a small donation.
Next we will visit the Cathedral, on the main square of Mexico City. After stopping for lunch we will board our bus and set off to the old Colonial city of Puebla, about 60 miles outside of Mexico City. Set at an elevation of 7,000 feet in a wide valley between snow-capped volcanoes, Puebla has a mild climate year-round.
Why Puebla? Many tour companies choose to make Puebla a day trip from Mexico City, but we feel it is worthwhile to spend more time here to absorb the local culture and see something other than the bustling metropolis of Mexico City. Laid out in the colonial style of Spain, Puebla is considered to be the cradle of Mexican cuisine, having produced some of the country’s classic dishes such as the intricate mole sauce and chiles en nogada. It is also known for its vividly painted Talavera tile and colorful pottery. It has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It makes an excellent home base for exploring the nearby shrines so important to Catholic history in the New World. Above you can see a photograph of Puebla taken from a spot near our hotel.
We will enjoy dinner at a local restaurant this evening and then overnight at the San Leonardo Hotel. The San Leonardo Hotel is in itself an architectural treasure. We are only one block from the Cathedral and the lively town square (Zocolo). After dinner we may want to walk over to the Zocolo to see the sights or listen to the Mariachi music being played. Overnight in Puebla.
Day 3 Puebla
We will have breakfast at our hotel today, then we walk 4 blocks to the Rosary Chapel in the Church of Saint Dominic to celebrate Mass. Every square foot of this chapel is covered with sculpted, painted images trimmed in gold leaf. It is an incredible site. Next we visit the Church of Saint Francis where we will venerate the incorrupt body of Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio, a Franciscan monk who died in 1631 at the age of 90. Blessed Sebastian is also the patron saint of travelers due to his work in helping to build roads for the poor farmers and we can pray and leave our petitions here at his shrine.
Lunch today will be a festive occasion at a local restaurant (lunch is included).
This afternoon is free to do a bit of shopping or sightseeing. There are numerous Talavera tile factories in town that you can visit, a wonderful artists section and other attractions all within a few blocks of our hotel. Dinner will be on our own. Our guide will escort us to the town square (an easy walk from our hotel) where many restaurants are found and suggest several to choose from. Or there are several other family-style restaurants all within walking distance of our hotel, overnight in Puebla at San Leonardo Hotel.
Day 4 Puebla–Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel Tlaxcala–Ocotlan—-Puebla
This morning after breakfast we will travel to the nearby state of Tlaxcala. The smallest of Mexico’s provinces, Tlaxcala was the first place in the new world that the word of God was proclaimed. The first martyrs in what was called New Spain—three children–were beatified by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Guadalupe in May of 1990. While here we will visit the Shrine of San Miguel del Milagro (shrine of St. Michael). The Archangel Michael appeared in an interior vision to Diego Lazaro de San Francisco on April 25th, 1631, the feast of Saint Mark. He gave him a message: “know my son, that I am Saint Michael the Archangel” He then explained that it was God’s will and his that you tell the neighbors of this village and of its surroundings that in a ravine they would find a spring of miraculous water with exceptional healing and exorcistic powers. The water, which has continued to flow off and on over the years was recently dry. The Pastor of the Sanctuary explained to us: “When the people do penance, the well returns. When they fail to do penance, it dries up”. Our priest will celebrate Mass here this morning.
Later we go on to the nearby town of Ocotlan, famed for the Basilica of Ocotlan. The Basilica was constructed after a peasant, Juan Diego Bernardino (not the same Juan Diego as Our Lady of Guadalupe) received a visit from the Blessed Virgin Mary and instructed to look for a statue of Our Lady in a burning tree. This statue is now kept on display in the Basilica.
A special occasion this evening will be dinner at the Meson Sacristia—a boutique hotel famous for its cooking classes and the cuisine served in the restaurant. You can sample some of the local fare (mole, pipian, etc. will be served on the side for you to sample and decide if it suits your taste) in a beautiful setting.
A short walk takes us back to Hotel San Leonardo for overnight.
Day 5 Puebla—Pyramids of Teotihuacan—Mexico City
We bid farewell to Puebla this morning as our bus takes us to Mexico City. We will schedule Mass at the Jesuit Church located directly across from our hotel. Along the way we will stop at the Pyramids of Teotihuacan (don’t bother to try pronouncing it). Teotihuacan was the most important city in North America around 500 AD, with over 200,000 inhabitants. Unfortunately this pagan culture offered human sacrifices to the gods, but it does give us a glimpse of what this culture was like and what a tremendous conversion it was to go from this way of living to Christianity, almost overnight. We will also witness a demonstration of the Maguey plant (cactus family) from which the Tilma of Juan Diego was made.
Later this afternoon our bus will take us to the site of the Fifth Apparition of Our Lady. This is where Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego’s uncle and told him that he would be healed of his illness. This church also contains a healing well and we will have the opportunity to get some spring water.
Dinner and overnight at Hotel Casa Blanca in Mexico City.
Day 6 Mexico City
The highlight of our pilgrimage is a day spent at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Once this area was in the countryside but now is surrounded by this city of 24 million people. Although we visited here earlier we now have more time to truly appreciate the significance of this apparition and view the Tilma with it’s miraculous image. Despite its age and the fact that it was not protected for many centuries, the Tilma retains its original qualities. In 1921 a factory worker placed a bomb on the marble steps near the altar where the image was displayed, and despite the fact that it bent a metal crucifix (on display) and blew out windows nearby, the image remained intact.
It is impossible to over-state the significance of this appearance of Our Lady. Within a short time almost an entire country was converted from paganism to Christianity. We will celebrate Mass here today. For those traveling in December, this is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Masses go on all day and we will attend the High Mass which is concelebrated by at least one Cardinal, a dozen or more Bishops and many priests. It is a wonderful, holy experience not to be missed.
You may wish to climb to the top of Mt. Tepeyac where our Lady first appeared, see the grave of Juan Diego and absorb the atmosphere of the shrine.
We will also visit the Plaza of the Three Cultures, which represents the three cultures of Mexico. On one side is the Church of Saint James. Built with the stones from Aztec temples it is better known as the Church where St. Juan Diego was baptized.
Day 7 Mexico City
This morning we will celebrate Mass at a nearby Church, have our buffet breakfast and then transfer to Mexico City’s airport for our flights back home.
Cost shown is per person, double occupancy. A few single rooms are available at an additional cost of $240. A $300 per person will hold your space, balance is due 60 days prior to departure. There is no extra charge for late registrations—call us any time! If there is room, we will get you on.