Pilgrimage to Italy
Spiritual Director: Fr. John Amsberry
April 9 - 20, 2018
Optional Post Tour to Medjugorje | April 20 - 24, 2018
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Centrally located First Class Hotels: (or similar)
- ~ 3 nights | Apr 10 - 13: Eurostars International Palace
- ~ 2 nights | Apr 13 - 15: Art Hotel Grand Paradiso, Sorrento
- ~ 3 nights | Apr 15 - 18: Hotel Dal Moro, Assisi
- ~ 2 nights | Apr 18 - 20: Starhotels Tuscany, Florence
- Optional Post Tour to Medjugorje
- ~ 4 nights | Apr 20 - 24: Medjugorje, Modern Pansion with private baths
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Breakfast and Dinner daily, Wine with dinners
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Wireless headsets where needed
- Assistance of a professional local Catholic guide(s)
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Mass daily & Spiritual activities
- Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
- Lunches, Beverages unless mentioned, Tips to your guide & driver.
Mon, Apr 9, Depart for Rome
Make your way to your local airport, where you will board your overnight flight(s). Your meals will be served on board.
Tue, Apr 10, Arrive in Rome
Welcome to Rome, also known as, "The Eternal City." Upon arrival at Rome airport, collect your luggage in the baggage claim area, and continue to the arrival's hall, where you will be greeted by a tour escort and/or driver. You will make your way to the bus and transfer to your hotel. Following check-in, you will have free time to unpack and relax, or explore Rome on your own. Your tour escort may suggest places to visit. Later in the afternoon, your group will meet in the hotel lobby for a "Meet and Greet" with your fellow pilgrims and depart for Mass. Following Mass, you will attend a welcome dinner. After dinner, you will have the opportunity to walk to St. Peter's Square as a group, for the Rosary (optional).
Wed, Apr 11, Rome: Papal Audience - Basilica of St. John the Lateran - Holy Steps - Basilica of St. Mary Major
After a nice breakfast at your hotel, your sightseeing day in Rome starts! The tour begins with the Papal Audience in St. Peter's Square! The Audience is celebrated each Wednesday by His Holiness, Pope Francis (pending the papal schedule). Following the Audience, there will be free time for lunch, or shop, or mail a postcard from the Vatican Post Office. This afternoon you will visit the oldest of the four major basilicas in Rome, and the home to the relics of Peter and Paul, the Basilica of St. John the Lateran. This Basilica is where Pope Francis was installed as Bishop of Rome, and where he officiates as the Bishop of Rome. Next, we will cross the street to visit the Holy Staircase. Tradition states that this staircase is from Pontius Pilate's palace of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus. It is also said that this Staircase was brought to Rome by St. Helen in the 4th century. If time permits, you may climb the steps on your knees, in memory of Christ's agonizing Passion. To conclude your day, we will proceed to the Basilica of St. Mary Major. This Basilica contains a relic from the Manger of the Infant Jesus. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
*The Scala Santa is currently under restoration. Thus, the Vatican has displayed an image replicating the stairs in front of the entrance where you will walk in. There are several staircases just to the side of the Scala Santa that you may ascend on your knees. You will still be able to receive the same graces and indulgences by going up any of the alternative stairs.
Thu, Apr 12, Rome: St. Peter's Basilica - Vatican Museum - Trevi Fountain - Appian Way - Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls - Catacombs
This morning you will enjoy an early breakfast before making your way to the largest Christendom Church, St. Peter's Basilica. This Basilica was built on the site where St. Peter, the first Pope and Bishop of Rome, was martyred. Also, it was Our Holy Father, Pope Francis who was the first Pontiff to visit the necropolis since extensive archaeological excavations were conducted at the ancient site decades ago. It is here that you will view Michelangelo's Pieta. This stunning marble sculpture depicts the Virgin Mary holding Christ after His crucifixion, death, and removal off the cross before being placed in the tomb. Continue to proceed to the Vatican Museums. At the world-renowned museum, you will see the most impressive of edifices, galleries, and awe-inspiring relics. Additionally, you will observe the Tapestry Gallery, Raphael Rooms, Sistine Chapel, and Michelangelo's Masterpiece, the restored mural of the Last Judgment. The final stop on your Vatican tour is at the tomb of Saint John Paul II. Afterward, you will be transferred to the Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain), where you may enjoy some free time on your own for lunch. Continue on your short journey down the Appian Way, the earliest road of Ancient Rome. This road leads to the Domino Quo Vadis Chapel, the Baths of Caracalla, the Arch of Drusus, the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, and the catacombs of St. Callixtus. The day concludes with a visit to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. Originally founded by Emperor Constantine in the 4th Century, this Basilica is the burial places of Saint Paul the Apostle. We will make our way to a local restaurant for dinner. Following dinner, feel free to explore the streets of Rome, or return to the hotel for overnight.
Fri, Apr 13, Rome - Monte Cassino - Saint Philomena Sanctuary, Mugnano - Sorrento
Following breakfast, you will board your bus to enjoy the scenic route to Monte Cassino. Passing through the Roman countryside that is known for its villas and vineyards. During the bus ride, your tour escort will share interesting information regarding the spiritual, historical, and cultural aspects of Italy. Monte Cassino, the principle monastery of the Benedictine Order, was founded by Saint Benedict around 530 A.D. Following the tour, there will be an opportunity to visit the gift shop, before we board the bus to Mugnano del Cardinale for a visit of the Shrine of Saint Philomena. When her remains were brought to the village church at Mugnano from Rome, graces, favors and miracles began to occur among the village people. Miracles continued to occur year after year and in 1837, Philomena was elevated to Sainthood. Drive to Sorrento with its stunning panoramic views of the Bay of Naples, its picturesque narrow streets, parks, villa, and orange, lemon and olive groves. Enjoy some time to relax before dinner and overnight.
Sat, Apr 14, Sorrento - Amalfi Coast - Sorrento
Today you will tour the Amalfi Coast, widely considered one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world; deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site as an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape. We'll follow the 34 miles of winding roads. Making a quick stop to view the breathtaking panoramic view of Positano. Continue on through Praiano where you will drive by St. Gennaro Church, to Amalfi, one of the four maritime Republics of Italy, and view the beautiful Amalfi Cathedral consecrated to its patron, Saint Andrew. Some free time for lunch. Our last stop on the Amalfi coast will be Ravello. View its interesting Cathedral devoted to Saint Pantaleone, and the Villa Rufolo, a venue for many festivals thru the year and magnificent gardens. View the Gulf of Salerno and its beautiful coastline. Enjoy the landscape on your return to Sorrento, where you will enjoy dinner and overnight.
Sun, Apr 15, Sorrento – Assisi
Depart to Sorrento this morning after breakfast. Enjoy the views of Italy’s countryside as you approach Assisi. Dinner and overnight in Assisi.
Mon, Apr 16, Assisi (The Life of a Saint, that inspired a Holy Father)
Enjoy an early breakfast, followed by a full day of touring the hometown of St. Francis. St. Francis is the "Patron Saint of Animals and the Environment." Additionally, he is responsible for founding the Franciscan Order, and the inspiration for our Holy Father, Pope Francis. He chose his name in admiration of the Saint of Nature, and Servant to the Poor. Known for being a humble man himself, Pope Francis spent most of his life denying the luxuries of life. He preferred to live in simplicity and humility, while giving up all other worldly possessions, just as St. Francis did. As we visit the birthplace of St. Francis, you will become captivated as the atmosphere has not changed since St. Francis began his ministry, in the early 13th-century. We will start our tour at the St. Francis Basilica, visit his tomb of St. Francis, and have the opportunity to view a series of frescoes depicting his life, along with a few of the saint's possessions. From there, we will continue on a walking tour through this picturesque town, including the birthplace of St. Francis, and ending with a tour of the Church that honors St. Clare, the foundress of the Poor Clare Sisters. This Saint followed the teachings of St. Francis very closely by also living a life of poverty and humility. Enjoy some free time on your own - you may take this time for additional prayer, shop in the many gift shops or enjoy a nice lunch. After lunch, we will board the bus, which will take us outside of the walls of Assisi, to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. This is where St. Francis spent most of life. This Basilica is made up of two structures, both of which you will visit. The first structure, is the "Porziuncola", which is where St. Francis founded his order of the Friar Minor (Franciscans). The second, is the "Capella del Transito", which is the place of St. Francis' death. During your time here, you will have the opportunity to visit the beautiful Rose Garden where St. Francis and other friars lived, as well as the cave where the Saint retired to pray. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Tue, Apr 17, Assisi - Cascia - Assisi
After breakfast, we will drive through the beautiful Umbrian mountains, to Cascia, the hometown of St. Rita. Celebrate Mass at the Basilica of St. Rita of Cascia. After Mass we will visit the Basilica, which houses the bodies of St. Rita and St. Theresa Fasce. You will visit the convent, where the saintly cloistered sisters still live and view St. Rita's holy cell. You will have time for personal prayer and reflection, followed by a walk through the quaint streets of Cascia, full of small specialty shops back to our bus to return to Assisi. Enjoy a free afternoon , stroll through the streets of Assisi, or perhaps take some time for personal prayer and reflection at St. Francis Basilica. Dinner and overnight.
Wed, Apr 18, Assisi - Siena - Florence
Breakfast, followed by a scenic drive to the Tuscan city of Siena. This medieval city is the birthplace of St. Catherine "Doctor of the Church", and the Apostle of Italy, St. Bernardine. Visit of the Basilica of St. Catherine (which is also known as the Basilica of St. Domenico). St. Catherine passed a large part of her life inside the walls of this Basilica. It is here you will also view the incorrupt head of St. Catherine. After, we will visit the Shrine of St. Catherine, which occupies the site of her family home. Enjoy our walking tour through the Siena including a visit to its Cathedral (Duomo di Siena). We will conclude at one of Italy's finest squares, the Piazza Del Campo, where you will be given free time to spend at your own leisure. There are a number of restaurants surrounding the square to have lunch, as well as shops for gifts and souvenirs. Continue to Florence for dinner and overnight. Florence, Upon arrival in Florence, you will notice immediately that it is the land for art lovers. Some of the most world renowned artists are from Florence such as, Dante, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Donatello, and many others. Remainder of the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to explore the streets of Florence at leisure. In the evening gather for dinner, followed by an overnight.
Thu, Apr 19, Florence
In Florence, your day begins with breakfast, followed by a guided tour. The tour starts at the Church of the Holy Cross, the Santa Croce, where many nobles are buried, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli. Continue to walk by Piazza Signorina, Palazzo Vecchio, Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio, and Republic Square to the Santa Maria del Fiore. This Cathedral is an iconic piece of architecture of the city of Florence. It was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi in the 13th century. Followed by a visit to L'Accademia, the well-known art gallery. At this gallery, you will have the opportunity to view the work from artists such as Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Pontormo and the ever famous sculpture by Michelangelo, David. This afternoon you will have time to explore Florence on your own. Return to hotel for dinner and overnight.
Fri, Apr 20, Florence - Return Home
Prepare for your departure to the airport and your flights home!