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Spain: The Loyola Experience

July 4-14, 2019


A ten-day Retreat Pilgrimage into the Heart of Ignatius Loyola
with Frs. Thomas A. Kane, CSP and Julio Giulietti, SJ

In the Footsteps of Ignatius Loyola through Spain

We are delighted to invite you to on a pilgrimage tracing the life and spirituality of St. Ignatius Loyola across Spain’s beautiful cities and landscapes.

Dear Pilgrims,

Our life is a pilgrimage, a journey of faith to deeper communion with God and with one another. In many traditions, the faithful journey as pilgrims along the paths of the saints. Join Fr. Julio Giulietti, SJ, our retreat director, on this pilgrimage to Spain as we pray together, enjoy new sites, experience community, and deepen our awareness of God’s grace. As we trace the life and spirituality of St Ignatius Loyola, we also celebrate the common life we share with fine wines and regional foods. 

We begin in Bilbao with a visit to the Guggenheim Museum and continue to the town of Azpeita for a three-day retreat at the Hotel Arrupe near the Sanctuary of Loyola. We have retreat talks on the life of Ignatius of Loyola and special prayer opportunities at various pilgrimage sites nearby. We journey next to Pamplona, where Ignatius was wounded. As we make our way south, we visit the ancient monastery of Leyre. then on to Javier, the birthplace of St. Francis Xavier and its Castillo.

As we ascend Montserrat, we view the breathtaking vistas of the Catalan and enjoy the beauty of this Benedictine monastery. As we ride along the Cordoner River, we remember The Pilgrim at the cave of Manresa where Ignatius wrote the Spiritual Exercises. We conclude our pilgrimage in Barcelona with a festive Eucharist at Sagrada Familia, a special sightseeing program around the city, and a farewell lunch.

Come join us in discovering the richness of our vast spiritual tradition as we journey through these historic lands. This pilgrimage promises to broaden your faith and be one of the most memorable experiences of your life.


Thomas A. Kane, CSP
Paulist Pilgrimages

Julio Giulietti, SJ
Spiritual Director

Pilgrimage leaders

Thomas A. Kane, CSP
Paulist Pilgrimages

Thomas A. Kane, CSP is director of Paulist Pilgrimages and has led small groups to various parts of the world for twenty years, exploring the culture, history and spirituality of place. An internationally known ritual maker and videographer, his research interests include the area of arts, communication, liturgy and culture.  Dr. Kane studies contemporary worship and celebration and has written and lectured on liturgy, dance and creativity in the US and abroad.  He has recently retired from the faculty of the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry in Chestnut Hill, MA. At present, he oversees Paulist Reconciliation Ministries, which sponsors Landings, a lay-led program that welcomes home returning Catholics. He is a member of the Apostolateship of the Sea and enjoys his days at sea.

Julio Giulietti, SJ
Spiritual Director

Fr. Julio Giulietti, S.J. has guided many Loyola Experience pilgrimages with great success. He is a seasoned retreat director in Ignatian Spirituality and a Research Fellow at Georgetown University with a focus on Southeast Asia. He was the coordinator of the Myanmar Leadership Institute and founded the Loyola Vietnam Centre. He has previously served as president of Wheeling Jesuit University, as director of Boston College Center for Ignatian Spirituality, and as director of Georgetown University’s Center for Intercultural Education and Development. He brings a wealth of spiritual insight to our pilgrimage experience.


Wednesday 3rd July 2019: We each make our independent flight arrangements to Bilbao.

Thursday 4th July: Arrive Bilbao – Transfer to Hotel on own

Upon arrival of your flight in Bilbao, we recommend you take a taxi to the hotel. The afternoon is free to explore on our own. This evening, we gather in the hotel lobby to meet our fellow pilgrims, followed by a welcome dinner. D

Friday 5th July: Bilbao: Guggenheim Museum – Transfer to Loyola

After breakfast we visit the Guggenheim Museum. The museum was designed by Frank Gehry and opened to the public in 1997. It was immediately vaulted to prominence as one of the world’s most spectacular buildings. After our museum tour, we enjoy a light lunch and then board our motor coach for Azpeitia. Here, in 1941 Inigo Lopez de Loyola Onaz was born in the Castle of Loyola. After check-in at Hotel Arrupe, we have free time to explore the countryside. Before dinner, we gather for an Orientation meeting. After dinner we gather in the chapel for Evening Prayer and our first conference. B,L,D

Saturday 6th July: Loyola: Day of retreat

After breakfast, our day begins with morning prayer and a retreat conference in the hotel chapel. Late morning our self-guided audio tour explains the origins of the Loyola Castle and concludes  in the Chapel of Conversion, where Ignatius recovered and converted to Christ. We celebrate liturgy in this sacred place. After lunch, the afternoon is at leisure. We gather in the early evening for prayer and a retreat conference. Dinner is at our hotel. B,L,D

Sunday 7th July: Loyola: Day of retreat

After breakfast, we take a pilgrim walk to the Chapel of Olatz, a hermitage on the side of the hill, not far from Loyola where we celebrate our morning liturgy. During the day, we will have a personal quiet time and lunch. Later in the afternoon, we will take a pilgrim’s walk to the town of Azpetitia to visit the Hermitage of Mary Magdalen and the nearby hospital museum, where Ignatius was housed after his return from Paris in 1535. We have evening prayer and a retreat conference there before returning to the hotel for dinner. B,L,D

Monday 8th July: Loyola – Pamplona – Leyre – Sos del Rey Catolico

We begin the day with a morning liturgy in the Chapel. After breakfast, we board our motor coach for Pamplona, where Inigo was wounded near the fortifications. We see the commemorative plaque and enjoy sights and lunch (at our own expense) in the town famous for Hemingway and the running of the bulls. We continue our afternoon journey to the Monastery of San Salvador of Leyre, one of the most important ancient monasteries in Spain. The oldest records date from 842, with the monastery reaching its zenith in the 12th century. Several kings of Navarre are buried here. After a visit, we continue to Sos del Rey Catolico. We overnight at the hotel, immersed in the ancient feel of this remote hilltop town. Dinner is at our hotel. B,D

Tuesday 9th July: Sos del Rey Catolico – Excursion to Javier

After breakfast, we make our way to Javier where Francis Xavier was born in 1506. A fellow student of Ignatius at the University of Paris, Francis became one of the first members of the Society of Jesus and made his vows with Ignatius and five others on August 15th, 1534. He and Ignatius were ordained priests in 1537. Ignatius chose Francis for missionary work, and for eleven years he evangelized Asia and particularly India and Japan. We visit the medieval Castillo de Xavier, with a diorama that tells the story of St Francis and the museum that contains many fine art pieces. We celebrate liturgy at the Basilica near the Baptismal font of St Francis. After a light lunch at the Hotel Jabier, we return to Sos del Catolico for leisure time. Dinner is at our hotel.  B,L,D

Wednesday 10th July: Sos del Rey Catolico – Montserrat

After an early breakfast, we travel to Montserrat with morning prayer on the coach. We will take a short rest stop and then ascend the mountain to Montserrat, the spiritual heart of Catalonia. After check-in, lunch will be on our own with free time to explore the area. Montserrat is home to the dramatically set Benedictine Monastery. This Marian shrine has attracted pilgrims for over 700 years, much as it did Ignatius in March of 1522. We celebrate the evening liturgy in the Pilgrim Chapel with dinner at our hotel. B,D

Thursday 11th July: Montserrat – Excursion to Manresa – Barcelona

After breakfast, we board our motor coach to visit Manresa, a place of profound conversion for Ignatius. From the initial insights he received here, Ignatius went on to compose the Spiritual Exercises. Ignatius remained in Manresa for about a year and a half before continuing his journey to Barcelona. We visit the Chapel of Rapture, one of the many significant Ignatian sites in Manresa. It was in this chapel, then a place for the poor and the homeless to sleep, that Ignatius is reported to have been in rapture for eight days. After an audiovisual presentation, we visit the small museum and celebrate liturgy in the Chapel of the Cave. Afterward, we enjoy wine tasting and lunch at a local vineyard in the Catalonian countryside. After, we depart for Barcelona with the evening free. Dinner is on our own. B,L

Friday 12th July: Barcelona 

After breakfast, we have a morning walking tour of Gothic Quarter with liturgy in the Basilica of  Santa Maria del Mar where we meet the coach for a Panoramic tour of the city. We have lunch at Poble Espanyol and return to the hotel with the afternoon and evening free. Dinner is on our own. B,L

Saturday 13th July: Barcelona – Gaudí Day

After breakfast, we celebrate the final pilgrim liturgy at the Basilica of Sagrada Familia (Holy Family), Gaudí’s masterpiece, Europe’s most unconventional church. We have a tour of the Basilica with a local guide. We conclude with a farewell lunch at Asador de Aranda Restaurant on Tibidabo Hill. The rest of the day is at leisure. Dinner is on our own. B,L

Sunday 14th July: End of pilgrimage – return home

After breakfast, we bid adios to our fellow pilgrims as we transfer to the airport on our own. B


($2799.00  + $150 pilgrimage fees  & $150 gratuities)

Price includes: 10 nights accommodation with a twin-bedded room with private facilities:

  • 4th – 5th July, NH Hotel – Bilbao.
  • 5th – 8th July, Hotel Arrupe – Loyola.
  • 8th – 10th July, Hotel Parador – Sos del Rey Catolico.
  • 10th – 11th July, Hotel Abat Cisneros – Montserrat.
  • 11th – 14th July, Ayre Hotel Caspe – Barcelona. 

Meal Plan = 10 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners. Coach transfers as per the itinerary. Guided tours as per the itinerary. Entrance fees as per the itinerary. English-speaking Tour Manager to accompany the group whilst in Spain. ABTA financial protection. 

Single room supplement is $500 per person for 10 nights with limited availability.

Extras: Meals not included in the itinerary. Drinks with meals (other than those mentioned in the itinerary. 

Terms of Payment: A non-refundable deposit of $350 through online registration.

Final payment to be received by Pax Travel no later than 3rd April 2019. The tour price is guaranteed for bookings PAX Travel receives by 14th January 2019. Any bookings received after this date may be subject to a currency surcharge.


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