Shrines of Italy Pilgrimage
Spiritual Director: Rev. Augustine Esposito, O.S.A.
Group Coordinator: Helen Holroyd
June 30 - July 9, 2019
*Optional Post Tour to Florence & Padua - July 9 - July 13, 2019
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare
- Airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Centrally located first class hotels as follows: (or similar)
- ~ 2 nights: July 04 - 06: Hotel Centro di Spiritualita Padre Pio, San Giovanni Rotondo
- ~ 3 nights: July 06 - 09: Hotel Giotto, Assisi
- Optional Post Tour to Florence & Venice:
- ~ 2 nights: July 09 - 11: Machiavelli Palace, Florence
- ~ 2 nights: July 11 - 13: Biri, Padua
- 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
- Luggage handling (1 piece per person)
- Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
- Lunches, Tips to Guide & Driver
Sun, June 30: Depart for Rome
Make your way to your local airport, where you will board your overnight flight(s) to Rome. Meals will be served on board.
Mon, July 1: Arrive 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).
Tues, July 2: Rome: St Peter's Basilica - Vatican Museum - Trevi Fountain - Appian Way - Basilica of St. Paul's 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. It is here that you will view Michelangelo's Pieta. Continue to proceed to the Vatican Museums. 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.
Wed, July 3: Rome: Papal Audience - Basilica of St. John Lateran - Holy Steps - Basilica of St. Mary Major
After a nice breakfast at your hotel, 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. . 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.
Thurs, July 4: Rome - Monte Cassino - San Giovanni Rotondo
Following breakfast, you will board your bus to enjoy the route to Monte Cassino. During the ride, your tour escort will share interesting information regarding the spiritual, historical, and cultural aspects of Italy. Monte Cassino 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 continue toward San Giovanni Rotondo, the hometown of Saint Padre Pio. Upon arrival in San Giovanni Rotondo, you will check-in, enjoy dinner in the restaurant, and overnight.
Fri, July 5: San Giovanni Rotondo (View Incorrupt Body of St. Padre Pio) - Monte Sant' Angel
After breakfast we will visit the Old Church and after Mass we will tour the sanctuary. It is here you will view the crucifix n front of which St. Pio received the stigmata. Visit the confessional where St. Pio spent innumerable hours listening to confessions. Next, we will board the bus and travel along the beautiful Gargano Peninsula to the Grotto of St. Michael the Archangel, At this grotto, St. Michael appeared to a Bishop to assure him that his diocese would not be annihilated as he feared. On the way back to San Giovanni Rotondo view breathtaking views of the ocean and surrounding countryside. Upon arrival you will have time for devotion and reflection. Dinner and overnight.
*Candlelight Procession - Between May and October attend the weekly Candlelight Procession at the Sanctuary of St. Pio after dinner, at 9:00 PM. These processions are lit by candlelight, and are guided by the Most Holy Rosary. Following this prayerful experience, you will return to your hotel for a restful overnight.
Sat, July 6: San Giovanni Rotondo - Lanciano - Loreto - Assisi
After breakfast, we will go to Lanciano, where we will celebrate Mass at the Church of St. Longinus. This Church is the site of the Eucharistic Miracle that occurred in the eighth century. There will be some free time to explore Lanciano before we continue toward the Adriatic coast to the Marian shrine of Loreto to visit the Holy House of Nazareth, and the beautiful Madonna of Loreto. More than 50 Popes have made a pilgrimage to the house transported by angels to this hill in central Italy. Tradition has it that this is the house in which Mary first prayed the Magnificat, in which Jesus grew to manhood, and in which the Holy Family lived. Continue on to Assisi, the hometown of St. Francis. Upon arrival in Assisi, you will enjoy dinner, before retiring to your room for a restful night's sleep.
Sun, July 7: Assisi
Enjoy an early breakfast, followed by a full day of touring the hometown of St. Francis. St. Francis is responsible for founding the Franciscan Order, and the inspiration for our Holy Father, Pope Francis. 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. 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 to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. 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. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Mon, July 8: Assisi - Cascia - Assisi
Enjoy an early breakfast, followed by a drive through the beautiful Umbrian mountains, to Cascia, the hometown of St. Rita. Celebrate Mass at the Basilica of St. Rita of Cascia. 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.
Tues, July 9: Assisi - Rome Airport - Home
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, transfer to Rome Fiumicino airport for return flights home.