At Travel406 we are particularly proud of our wide selection of Holy Tours and there are certain times of the year that really remind us of the importance of spiritual journeys and what they mean to us.
The month of September has two very important dates which we always like to note; The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Feast Day of St Padre Pio:
The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Nativity (or Birthday) of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated on the 8th September.
A reason for joy
The birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary is considered to be a reason for great joy throughout the Christian world.
Pope John Paul VI referred to the occasion as ‘the dawn of our salvation’ in his document Marias Cultus that was published in 1972.
Saint Augustine believed that the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary had huge significance and was an important prelude to the birth of Jesus Christ:
‘She is the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious lily of the valley’
The celebration of this very holy day dates back to the 6th century. The symbolic date of the 8th September was probably selected because it is near the beginning of the month which marked the start of the calendar in Constantinople, symbolising salvation and a new beginning for the world.
The date is also 9 months after the other popular celebration of Mary’s Immaculate Conception on 8th December.
Early September also coincides with the harvest, so in France, where they call the day ‘Marymas’ it is also referred to as ‘Our Lady of the Grape Harvest’ amongst wine growers, who bring their grapes to church to be blessed.
Christians throughout the world mark and celebrate this day every year and a number of our holy tours visit amazing places that have a special significance for the Blessed Virgin Mary:
Probably the most famous shrine in the world can be found at Lourdes in France, where Bernadette Soubirous saw visions of the Virgin Mary in 1858. She was asked to drink from a sacred spring which is believed to have healing powers and people visit Lourdes every year for spiritual cures, to celebrate mass and take part in the famous candlelit processions.
The shrine at Medjugorge in Bosnia Herzegovina was established after visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to local children in 1981.
‘Our Lady of Medjugorge’ is celebrated in the church of St James – find out more about our tour to the shrine.
Fatima in Portugal
Children known as the ‘three shepherds’ saw visions of Mary in 1917 at Fatima in Portugal. Many travellers and pilgrims flock to Fatima every year to visit the Basilica of our Lady and the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary which stands at the precise spot where she appeared. Find out more about our holy tour to Fatima.
The Feast Day of St Padre Pio
23rd September is the Feast day of Saint Padre Pio who was born on 25th May 1887 and died on 23rd September 1968.
Padre Pio was born as Francesco Forgione into a devout Roman Catholic family in Italy. He joined the Capuchin order when he turned 15 and took the name Pio in honour of St Pius I.
Throughout his life Padre Pio received the stigmata (wounds of Christ) and also exhibited other miraculous powers including the power to heal and to ‘read souls’. Many pilgrims visited him during his lifetime and he was also venerated after his death. He was canonised by Pope John Paul II in 2002.
One of our most popular holy tours is to the shrine of St Padre Pio at the San Giovanni Rotondo on the East coast of Italy.
The shrine houses the body of St Padre Pio within the church of Our Lady of Grace and many Christians find this a wonderfully inspiring and spiritual place to visit. Around 7 million pilgrims make the journey every year.
Need more information?
For more information on any of our tours, please get in touch.
We look forward to travelling with you soon!