St Mazenod Pilgrimage to France with Lourdes – October 2024

Join this special Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of St Eugene de Mazenod to France led by Fr Kapena OMI.



Led by Fr Kapena OMI • 19 – 28 October 2024

Join this special Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of St Eugene de Mazenod to France led by Fr Kapena OMI. It is dedicated to St Eugene de Mazenod (pictured right), the founder of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, with visits to Marseilles and Aix-en-Provence, where he founded the order. It is also dedicated to Our Lady, with a memorable visit to Lourdes.

Saturday, October 19:
We depart on our overnight flight to Paris.

Sunday, October 20:
After our arrival at Charles de Gaulle Airport we are met by our guide. We enjoy a panoramic tour of Paris to see famous landmarks as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysée, Notre-Dame Cathedral and so on. We visit the church of St Saint-Sulpice Church, where St Eugene de Mazenod studied for the priesthood and which now serves as the city’s quasi-cathedral while Notre-Dame is being rebuilt. We then walk to the nearby Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, one of Paris’ most beautiful churches. We visit the Miraculous Medal Chapel in Rue de Bac, where Our Lady appeared to St Catherine Labouré. We then visit the Lazarist church with the tomb of St Vincent de Paul. Overnight: Paris

Monday, October 21:
After breakfast we transfer to Montparnasse Station to take the express train to Lourdes, observing the beautiful countryside as we cross France from the country’s centre to the south. On arrival in Lourdes we check into our hotel, which is near the sanctuary, and then have Mass. After dinner in our hotel, we have an opportunity take part in the candlelight procession through the sanctuary. We can do so again tomorrow night. Overnight: Lourdes

Tuesday, October 22:
Today is our Lourdes day: We have a guided tour of the sanctuary as well as sites connected to St Bernadette, such as Boly Mill (where she was born), the Cachot (the converted jail where her family lived) and so on. In the afternoon we do the magnificent Stations of the Cross, and have ample time at leisure to explore the sanctuary. Overnight: Lourdes 

Sanctuary of Lourdes

Wednesday, October 23:
Today after Mass, we have a free day in Lourdes to explore the sanctuary, pray in its churches, access the holy waters, do some souvenir-hunting, and so on. Overnight: Lourdes

Thursday, October 24:
After breakfast we leave Lourdes to visit to Carcassone, a hilltop town which is famous for its medieval citadel and its ancient cathedral. We then drive on to Avignon. Overnight: Avignon

Friday, October 25:
After breakfast, we have an expertly guided tour of the papal palaces in Avignon. The popes resided there from 1309-77. We then proceed to Aix-en-Provence, where St Eugene de Mazenod was born in 1782 and where in 1816 he founded the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. We visit the De Mazenod International Centre, where we can see various relics from St Eugene’s life, including the table at which the order was founded, in the very room in which this happened. We see the house in which St Eugene grew up, and visit Aix’s Cathedral of St Saviour. Overnight: Aix-en-Provence

The desk, chair and quill of St Eugene de Mazenod, founder of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

Saturday, October 26:
Today we leave Aix for Marseilles. In France’s second-largest city we again encounter St Eugene de Mazenod, who was the city’s bishop from 1837-61. We visit the beautiful Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica which overlooks the city, built at the initiative of St Eugene. Overnight: Marseilles

Sunday, October 27:
Today we see Marseilles’ historic port from which so many missionaries set sail for Southern Africa, including Bl Joseph Gérard of Lesotho and other Oblates. We visit the Cathedral of St Mary Major at the port, which St Eugene de Mazenod commissioned, and where we pray at his tomb. We visit the ancient Abbey of St Victor, one of the oldest places of Christian worship in Europe whose roots go back to the 5th century. In the afternoon we make our way to Marseilles’ airport to begin our journey home.

Interior of Notre-Dame-de-Garde basilica in Marseilles.

Monday, October 28:
In the morning we arrive back home, spiritually renewed, with bags full of great memories and souvenirs, and our faith deepened forever.

• Masses will be reserved at holy shrines throughout the pilgrimage.

Est. Price: R53,720 (sharing, ex-Jhb; subject to currency, airport tax fluctuations. Based on 25+ travelling at R19,98 to the Euro)

Includes: All flights ex-Windhoek or ex-Johannesburg (incl. airport taxes), accommodation in 3/4-star hotels (sharing) with breakfast and dinner, hotel taxes, transfers, travel insurance, travelling on air-conditioned luxury buses, English-speaking guides, entrance fees as per itinerary.

Excludes: Tips, visa (Schengen), personal expenses, travel to and from departing airport.

A deposit of R5,500 secures your place on this unforgettable pilgrimage. Send proof of payment, completed booking form and a clear copy of your passport — and your place will be secured! Booking form and info in the detailed, illustrated itinerary.

Download Itinerary with booking form