(SNR) – Father Daniel Rayer, chancellor of the Diocese of Lincoln, and Father Craig Doty, pastor of St. Wenceslaus Parish in Wilber and St. Joseph Parish in Tobias, will lead a pilgrimage Sept. 12-23 to visit the Marian Shrines of Fatima, Portugal and Lourdes, France and several other holy sites in Spain.
“Growing up, I was always inspired by the story of Mary’s appearance to the three children of Fatima,” Father Rayer said. “So, I have always had a desire to visit this great Marian Shrine. Last year was the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions at Fatima and during that year I felt a strong call that now was the time to make a visit to Fatima happen. I spoke with Father Doty about leading a pilgrimage together, and he agreed.”
The trip will also visit Lourdes, one of the great Marian Shrines of the world, where the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858 and identified herself as the Immaculate Conception. “I had the privilege of visiting Lourdes several years ago, and I remember it as being a very peaceful and prayerful place” Father Rayer continued, “and I always desired to make a return trip to experience the special atmosphere of this holy place.”
Pilgrims will also visit shrines in Spain associated with the two great Carmelite saints, St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, both Doctors of the Church. The tour will stop in St. Teresa’s hometown of Avila and visit the convent where she spent much of her life before traveling on to Segovia to celebrate Mass at the tomb of St. John.
Additional stops in Spain include Salamanca, Zaragoza, Montserrat, and the pilgrimage will conclude in Barcelona with a visit to the famed Sagrada Familia Basilica.
Father Rayer added, “A Catholic pilgrimage is an opportunity for a life-changing experience. In visiting the Marian Shrines, we hope to witness Mary’s loving message calling us to conversion to her son, Jesus. A pilgrimage is more than a vacation. It’s a journey on which we seek to encounter Christ and his love for us.”