Fr. Patrick Klekas is a newly ordained priest for the Diocese of Reno, Nevada and serves as the parochial vicar at St. Albert the Great parish in northwest Reno. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree in History in Secondary Education and a Minor in Music from Boise State University. After pursuing sports and music, he decided to yield to the priestly call he had been hearing for some time. He attended Mount Angel Seminary in the Archdiocese of Portland and there obtained a Bachelor’s in Philosophy and a Bachelor’s in Religious Studies. He then attended St. Patrick’s Seminary in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, where he received a Master’s in Arts, a Master’s in Divinity, and Sacred Theology Baccalaureate. Fr. Klekas is the second oldest of 10 siblings and he is a talented musician who plays guitar, bass, ukulele, and piano. He earned a Spanish Endorsement from Camino Barcelona Spanish language school in Barcelona, Spain, and has traveled to several other countries, including France, Italy, and the Holy Land.
Day 1. Tuesday, September 22: Intercontinental flight
This morning fly to Mexico City. Upon arrival, meet your tour escort and board your private motor-coach to pray before the image of the Empress of the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe, of whom Pope Benedict XIV said “God has not done such with any other nation.” Afterwards, transfer to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (D)
Day 2. Wednesday, September 23: Mexico City
Journey northeast to Teotihuacan, one of the most impressive cities of the ancient world. On your way, stop in Tulpetlac, where Our Lady miraculously cured Juan Bernardino, uncle of St. Juan Diego. A church, Santa Maria de Tulpetlac, was built on top of Juan Bernardino’s house. There is a well under the altar that is said to be curative. Continue to Teotihuacan, founded before the Christian era. This colossal urban center once housed up to 125,000 people; the ceremonial center bears witness to the city’s splendor. On your return to Mexico City, have a sightseeing of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Within the complex, visit the original chapel built on the exact site of the apparitions to St. Juan Diego (Chapel of the Little Hill); the Old Basilica consecrated in 1709, where the miraculous image was kept during 262 years; the Baroque Chapel of the Pocito (Chapel of the Little Well) which was built in the 18th century where a miraculous source of water appeared (today it is dry); and the Chapel of the Indians, where in 1531, the first small chapel was built to honor Our Lady and where St. Juan Diego lived to take care of the Holy Image. Dinner and overnight in Mexico City. (BB, L, D)
Day 3. Thursday, September 24: Mexico City – Puebla
Today travel southeast to the beautiful city of Puebla, a state capital and university city that has preserved its rich heritage of colonial architecture. Enjoy a walking sightseeing of Puebla’s downtown. Your first visit is to the hidden convent of St. Monica, that protected nuns at time of persecution. Adjacent to the convent is a church that houses the miraculous image of Our Lord of Wonders, most venerated by the locals. Next, visit the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, where the incorrupt body of St. Sebastian of Aparicio can be venerated. Afterwards visit Puebla’s Cathedral dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, a treasure of colonial art. The spacious interior has a Latin cross plan, with a wide central nave flanked by two aisles on each side. There are 14 chapels throughout the cathedral, all decorated in the effusive Baroque style. Your last visit today is to the Church of St. Dominic to admire the Rosary Chapel built in 1690. This is an outstanding example of Mexican Baroque, with dazzling use of gilded stucco and onyx stonework. Dinner and overnight in Puebla. (BB, L, D)
Day 4. Friday, September 25: Puebla – Tlaxcala – Mexico City
Leave Puebla and travel north to a hill above the city of Tlaxcala to visit the twin-towered Basilica of Ocotlan, one of the most lavish Churrigueresque churches in Mexico. The miracle of Our Lady of Ocotlan took place in 1541 when Juan Diego Bernardino was graced by an apparition of the Blessed Mother, who provided him with some water that speedily restored the health of his relatives suffering from smallpox. Our Lady said her image would be found at the location of the miraculous spring from which the water had been taken; the wooden miraculous statue of Our Lady of Ocotlan was discovered within the trunk of a fire-damaged tree. Since then, Our Lady of Ocotlan has been a place of pilgrimage. A short drive will take you to Tlaxcala’s Cathedral. Built in the 16th century between 1530 and 1536; the church is a single nave, with wooden roofing, and the deck is adorned by a magnificent paneled wooden Mudejar style, very well preserved and in fact one of the last of its kind that still remain in the American continent. The relics of one of the Indian Martyrs are housed in the cathedral for veneration. Return to Mexico City for dinner and overnight. (BB, L, D)
Day 5. Saturday, September 26: Mexico City
Your sightseeing today includes a visit to the Church of the Holy Family and Blessed Father Pro Museum, a Jesuit priest devoted to the secret ministry of the Sacraments to Mexican Catholics during the Cristero war. Afterwards, visit San Angel, a neighborhood located in the southern part of the city, where Dominican and Carmelite friars chose to settle after the Spanish conquest. Here, visit the Museo del Carmen, a former monastery which houses fine religious paintings as well as furniture from the colonial era. Later, stroll along the colorful Saturday San Angel Market, where locals present their handcrafts for sale. Your last stop will be Coyoacan, a suburb of the city that still retains much of its colonial-era charm. Here visit the Church of St. John the Baptist, built in the 16th century. It houses the relics of Maria de la Luz Camacho, the first Mexican Martyr of Catholic Action, a true story of courage, Eucharistic devotion and genuine defense of the Catholic Faith and Church doctrine. She was killed in the atrium of the church; the last words uttered by her lips were “Viva Cristo Rey”. A short drive will take you back to the hotel for dinner and overnight. (BB, L, D)
Day 6. Sunday, September 27: Mexico City
This morning enjoy a walking tour of Mexico City center. Visit the Church of San Francisco; it is all that remains of the church and monastery complex. This complex was the headquarters of the first twelve Franciscan friars who came to Mexico to evangelize in New Spain. In the early colonial period, this was one of the largest and most influential monasteries in Mexico City. Next, visit is to the Church of San Felipe Neri, commonly known as “La Profesa”; it was established by the Society of Jesus late in the 16th century as the church of a community of professed Jesuits. Continue to the Plaza of Santo Domingo for a visit to the Church of Santo Domingo, the first church built by the Dominicans in 1576 and the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary, the first Rosary Shrine in Mexico. Afterwards, visit the largest church in Latin America, Mexico City’s Cathedral. Taking almost three centuries to complete, it has five main altars and 16 side chapels containing valuable collections of paintings, sculptures, and church furniture. One of these chapels enshrines the tomb of Archbishop Luis Maria Martinez (1881-1956). Dinner and overnight in Mexico City. (BB, L, D)
Day 7. Monday, September 28: Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine – Flight home
On the way to the airport, make a farewell visit to Our Lady of Guadalupe in her Basilica. (BB)
Buffet breakfast (BB); Lunch (L); Dinner (D)
* In case of unforeseen events, this itinerary is subject to change.
For questions or more information, please contact Kimberly Murin, Group Coordinator, at (916) 790-0723 or firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Catholic Heritage Tours.