GREEN BAY — Bishop David Ricken will lead a seven-day pilgrimage Oct. 19-25 to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, along with other locations that played important parts in the apparition story of the Blessed Mother and St. Juan Diego. The fall pilgrimage is sponsored by The Compass.
A tentative itinerary has been created by Mater Dei Tours, which is coordinating The Compass pilgrimage to Mexico. Pilgrims will depart from Chicago and fly to Mexico City. Upon arrival, they will travel by motor coach to their hotel in Puebla. After checking in, a Mass of thanksgiving will be celebrated at the Church of San Francisco, followed by a “welcome to Mexico” dinner and orientation at the hotel restaurant.
Following breakfast on Oct. 20, the group will depart for Cholula, where the world’s largest pyramid is found. Atop the pyramid sits the Church of Our Lady of the Good Remedy. The group will then depart for the Church of Tonantzintla and return to Puebla, the fourth largest city in Mexico. They will visit the Cathedral of Puebla, the second largest cathedral in the country, and then enjoy a lunch buffet. Bishop Ricken will celebrate Mass at Puebla’s historic Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary. Pilgrims will enjoy dinner on their own.
On Oct. 21, pilgrims will leave Puebla for the state of Tlaxcala to visit two famous churches. The first stop is at San Miguel del Milagro (St. Michael of the Miracle), where tradition holds that St. Michael the Archangel appeared three times to a local peasant. Later the group will visit Our Lady of Ocotlan, which is home to the image of the Blessed Mother, said to be miraculously carved, inside a tree in the year 1541.
The group then departs for Mexico City. That evening they will visit their hotel’s roof lounge and admire the city’s sunset while enjoying dinner at one of the hotel’s restaurants.
On Oct. 22, pilgrims will enjoy breakfast at their hotel and depart for the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe. A video introduction to the Guadalupe story will be viewed onboard to better understand the cultural background of Mary’s appearance to the humble Native American Juan Diego.
Upon arrival at the basilica, tour guides will give a brief presentation on the many details regarding St. Juan Diego. A stop at the Guadalupe gift shops will follow. The group then proceeds to the new basilica, where the original tilma or cloak of St. Juan Diego is prominently displayed. A moving platform underneath the tilma allows pilgrims a closer view of the garment with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This is followed by a visit to the famous “bent” cross of the altar and statue of Blessed John Paul II.
After a lunch buffet, pilgrims visit the pyramids and temples that make up the City of Teotihuacan. It is called the most important city in North America around 500 A.D. This visit gives the group a better idea of the culture and indigenous customs of St. Juan Diego’s ancestors. The final stop is at the home of St. Juan Diego, which is the fifth and last apparition site of Our Lady of Guadalupe. A church and well with spring water now stand at the site where Mary appeared and cured Juan Diego’s uncle. Visitors have an opportunity to collect spring water to bring home.
On Oct. 23, the group gets a panoramic tour of Mexico City, including a drive by the monument to Benito Juarez. They will visit the Zocalo, the second largest public square in the world, located in the center of the old Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. Next is a visit to the Forest of Chapultepec for a tour of the Museum of Anthropology. A buffet lunch will be served at the museum, followed by shopping stops at a Mercado and return to the hotel in Mexico City.
After a breakfast buffet on Oct. 24, the group returns for a full-day visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, with a guided visit to the remaining chapels and gardens. There is an opportunity to climb the “Cerrito de Tepeyac” (Tepeyac Hill) in a rosary procession up to the “Capilla del Cerrito” (Chapel of the Little Hill) that commemorates the place of the first apparition.
A farewell Mass will be celebrated here by Bishop Ricken, followed by a visit to the Old Basilica, where perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament takes place. The remainder of the day offers time for personal prayer, leisure and opportunity for the sacrament of penance. The group will then gather for a farewell dinner.
Before departing on Oct. 25, the group will enjoy a late breakfast and walk to the Church of the Holy Family. This church contains the remains of Blessed Padre Miguel Pro, the famous martyr priest of Mexico, whose death forced the government to allow the public practice of Catholicism. A farewell Mass will be celebrated here by Bishop Ricken and the group then departs for Benito Juarez International Airport.
Cost for the Mexico pilgrimage is $2,299 per person double occupancy. An optional round trip coach bus is available from Green Bay for an additional $60. For more details or to receive brochure with more details, contact Amy Kawula, (920) 272-8212 or [email protected] A brochure can also be downloaded at this link.