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Our Lady of Guadalupe Pilgrimage
Led by Fr Russell Pollitt SJ
6-19 June 2022
Join our special pilgrimage to Mexico in June 2022, led by Fr Russell Pollitt SJ). Our focus will be on Our Lady of Guadalupe, with an important visit to the tomb of the martyr Fr Miguel Pro, like Fr Russell a Jesuit. But we will also discover much about the history, culture and beauty of Mexico.
Built on the ruins of the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, Mexico City is one of the oldest and largest cities in the Americas. And it is the centre of the devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the world’s most popular site of Catholic pilgrimage! In December 1531, Our Lady appeared four times to a indigenous peasant named Juan Diego and once more to his uncle, Juan Bernardino, in Guadalupe, now a suburb of Mexico City. Miraculously, an image of Our Lady appeared on Juan Diego’s cloak, which is now enshrined within the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. The basilica is the most-visited Catholic shrine in the world.
Accommodation is in 3/4* hotels and includes breakfast and dinner. Hotels as listed in the itinerary or similar. Limited breakaways are possible (on a first-come basis).
Day 1 in Mexico:
At our arrival in Mexico City we transfer to our hotel, the 4-star Hotel Zócalo Central, located in the city’s historic centre near the Metropolitan Cathedral. We have time at leisure to explore famous sights such as the Templo Mayor and Palacio Nacional, all within a few minutes walk from our hotel. Overnight: Mexico City
Today we have a guided tour of the historical centre of Mexico City, visiting the Metropolitan Cathedral, the El Zócalo main square, National Palace and the Palace of Fine Arts. We drive along the Reforma Avenue to Chapultepec Park, to the residential area of Las Lomas de Chapultepec, to get a complete impression of the biggest city in the world. We see the great icon of Mexico City: the golden Angel of Independence. We visit the Castle of Chapultepec, now a museum, and in the afternoon the National Museum of Anthropology, which houses the Aztec Calendar Stone. Dinner will be at a local restaurant. Overnight: Mexico City
Today we visit the Basilica of Guadalupe in the north of Mexico City. The Old Basilica, known as the “Templo Expiatorio a Cristo Rey,” was constructed between 1531 and 1709. The New Basilica, which houses Juan Diego’s tilma, or cloak, with the miraculous image of Our Lady, was completed in 1974. We will have time to explore the world’s most-visited Catholic shrine and make use of the many spiritual treasures of this holy site.
In the afternoon we visit the tomb of the martyr St Miguel Pro in the beautiful Church of the Holy Family (Sagrada Familia). In the 1920s, during a time when the Catholic Church was brutally persecuted by a secularist government, the Jesuit Father Miguel was one of Mexico’s most-wanted fugitives. A master of disguise, he was a folk hero who secretly ministered to Catholics, eluding the authorities for years. One time he went into a police station to ask directions! But later he was captured and sentenced to face a firing squad on November 23, 1927. As the firing squad took aim, the priest held his rosary and exclaimed “Viva Cristo Rey!” (Long live Christ the King). Overnight: Mexico City
Today we visit the famous Pyramids of Teotihuacan for an expert-guided tour of the colossal Sun- and Moon pyramids. Teotihuacan was the largest city in the pre-colonial Americas. At this time, it may have had more than 200,000 inhabitants, placing it among the largest cities of the world in this period. At 225 meters across and 75 meters high, Pyramid of the Sun is the third-largest pyramid in the world.
We then continue to colonial San Miguel de Allende where we stay in the Hotel Real de Minas. Our hotel has 500 m² of beautiful gardens and a swimming pool. Overnight: San Miguel de Allende
Today we visit the famous the 17th-century Church of San Miguel which is unique in Mexico and the emblem of the town. The church, dedicated to the Archangel Michael, has a Neo-gothic facade with two tall towers that can be seen from most parts of town. It is one of the most photographed churches in Mexico. We then visit the Casa de Allende Museum, home of Mexican independence fighter Ignacio Allende. The structure was built in 1759. In the afternoon we have time at leisure. Overnight: San Miguel de Allende
After breakfast we drive to the village of Atononilco, in the state of Guanajuato. The Sanctuary of Jesus Nazareno was built in the 18th century by Father Luis Felipe Neri de Alfaro after he had a vision of Jesus with a crown of thorns on his head with blood on his face and carrying a cross. The World Heritage Site is known as the “Sistine Chapel of America”. Its church is adorned with many frescoes, sculptures, portraits and other works of art.
In the afternoon we return to San Miguel de Allende and visit the 18th-century Nuestra Señora de la Salud Church whose portal in the shape of a large seashell. One altar contains an image of Christ, the Good Shepherd, defending his sheep from various dangers including a group of unicorns. The church originally served as the chapel of the adjacent St Francis de Sales College. Overnight: San Miguel de Allende
Today we move to the city of Guanajuato with its narrow and winding roads. The historic centre of the city is filled with colonial area mansions, churches and civil constructions built with pink or green sandstone and small plazas. We enjoy a city tour through historic centre. We then continue to Pátzcuaro where we stay at the colonial Don Vasco Hotel at the entrance to the magical town. It has its own swimming pool, own chapel and many other amenities. Overnight: Pátzcuaro
Pátzcuaro is a beautiful tranquil town founded in the 1320s and later taken over by the colonialists. Associated with Pátzcuaro are a number of islands, the best-known of which is Janitzio. Isla de Janitzio is the main island of Lake Pátzcuaro. The town of Janitzio, which means “where it rains”. A 40-metre high statue of independence hero José María Morelos stands on the island’s highest point. Visitors can climb to the top of the statue by way of a staircase that spirals up the inside. Through peepholes in Morelo’s huge raised fist one has views of the island, lake and surroundings. We enjoy dinner in local restaurant. Overnight: Pátzcuaro
After breakfast in our hotel, we visit the Volcano National Park Paricutín. On February 20, 1943 this volcano erupted and spat out gigantic lava masses for the next nine years. Over the years, the villages of San Juan Parangaricutiro and Paricutín were covered by ash rain and lava flows. The eruptions ended in 1952, leaving a final scoria cone with a height of 424m from the valley floor. Even today, a church spire still sticks out of the black lava masses, and the partially destroyed high altar is still adorned with flowers. bizarre lava fields and reach the partially destroyed church. Overnight: Mexico City
We have breakfast in our hotel, and according to departure time, transfer to the airport to begin our journey home. We are expected to arrive in Johannesburg in the morning of June 19.
Est. Price: R51,724 (sharing, ex-Jhb; subject to currency, airport tax fluctuations. Calculated on 21+ passengers, at R15,25 to the dollar)
Includes: All flights ex-Johannesburg (incl. airport taxes), accommodation in 3/4-star hotels or better (sharing) with breakfast and dinner, transfers, travel insurance, travelling on air-conditioned luxury buses, English-speaking tour guides, entrance fees as per itinerary, boat tour to Island Janitzio, tips for bellboys & chamber maids.
Excludes: Tips (for guides and drivers. These are mandatory), visa/travel documents, personal expenses, travel to and from O.R. Tambo Airport/Jhb.
A deposit of R4,500 secures your place on this unforgettable pilgrimage. For account details and booking form, please download the illustrated itinerary.