YOUR TRIP INCLUDES: † Round Trip Airfare
*Depart from your local airport † All Airport Taxes and Fuel Surcharges † Centrally located First Class Hotels: (or similar)
~ 4 nights: Hotel Hotel Universo ~ 2 nights: Hotel Gran Paradiso, San Giovanni Rotondo*optional post tour ~ 3 nights: Hotel Giotto, Assisi*optional post tour † Transfers as per itinerary by air-conditioned motor coach † Breakfast and Dinner daily † Wine with Dinner † Mass of Thanksgiving with the Pope Francis † Attendance to Canonization † Rome City Tax † Assistance of a professional local Catholic guide(s) † Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary † Catholic Priest available for Spiritual Direction † Mass daily & Spiritual activities † Luggage handling (1 piece per person)
Day 1, April 24: Depart New York - Italy
Depart for your overnight flights to Rome. Dinner and breakfast will be served on board.
Day 2, April 25: Arrival in Rome
Upon arrival in Rome Airport you will find your luggage and exit the baggage claim into the arrivals hall where you will be greeted by your tour escort and/or driver. After a warm welcome to Italy, you will be escorted to your transportation to your hotel. Enjoy a free afternoon for rest, relaxation, or exploration. Your tour escort can suggest sights or walks for you to enjoy. Tonight we will enjoy a delicious Italian dinner!
Day 3, April 26: Full Day of touring Christian Rome
Following breakfast, we will depart for a sightseeing tour entitled "Christian Rome" which includes: the Basilica of St. Mary Major, the most important and the oldest church dedicated to Our Lady. St. Mary Major contains a relic from the manger of the infant Jesus. Next, the Basilica of St. John the Lateran, the Pope’s cathedral church where relics of both Peter and Paul remain under the main altar. It was here that Pope Francis was formally installed one year ago as Bishop of Rome. Next we cross the street to see the Holy Staircase which is believed to be a staircase from Pilate’s palace in Jerusalem and brought to Rome by St. Helen in the 4th century. Time permitting we may climb the steps on our knees in memory of Christ’s Passion. Stop for lunch, and then we will continue on to visit St Paul. Outside the Walls, here we celebrate Mass. Continue our tour via the Appian Way -- the oldest road from Roman times--plus the famous Domino Quo Vadis Chapel; see the ancient Baths of Caracalla, Arch of Drusus; Tomb of Celilia Metella, and the catacombs of St Callixtus where the early Christians hid themselves to escape persecution. We will conclude the day by visiting the famous, Trevi Fountain. Built in the 15th Century to mark the ending destination of the Aqua Virgo (a manmade channel erected in 19 B.C. to bring fresh water to Roman bathhouses.) The water comes from the Salone Springs, eight miles outside of the city. Legend has it, by tossing a coin into the fountain, it will guarantee a return trip to Rome. Dinner and overnight.
Day 4, April 27: St. Peter’s Square Canonization Ceremony of Blessed Pope John Paul II (subject to confirmation) It is with great joy and anticipation that we head over to Saint Peter’s Square this Divine Mercy Sunday morning for the Canonization of John Paul II You will be transferred to Vatican City to attend Holy Mass and the Canonization Ceremony celebrated by his Holiness Pope Francis. According to hotel location, transfer may not be required. Your tour escort will oversee arrangements. (Vatican Museum Tour following Canonization – Pending Hours of Operation). Dinner and overnight in Rome.
Day 5, April 28: St. Peter’s Square – Mass of Thanksgiving
Transfer to St Peter’s Square for the Celebratory Mass. Balance of day at leisure. Your tour escort will oversee arrangements. Dinner and overnight in Rome.
*If final announcement of Canonization is for an alternate date, full refund would apply if requested*
Post Tour to The Shrines of Italy
Private Room - Post Tour to The Shrines of Italy
Business Class Trans-Atlantic Upgrade (one-way)
Business Class Trans-Atlantic Upgrade (round trip)
First Class available
Children's discounts for children under 12
Optional Post Tour to The Shrines of Italy (April 29 - May 4 | $1,300 per person) *please note that Michael Brown is not leading the post tour
Day 6, April 29: Rome – Monte Cassino – San Giovanni Rotondo
Following breakfast, we will head south and cross through the Roman countryside with its villas and vineyards. During your drive, your tour escort will explain the spiritual, historical, and cultural overview of Italy, which will help to orient you to this beautiful country and prepare you for all that you will experience in the days to follow. We stop at Montecassino, a beautiful town founded by Saint Benedict in 529. Enjoy lunch and then continue through the countryside heading east to Padre Pio’s town, San Giovanni Rotondo, our base for the following two nights. Dinner and overnight. Mass at St. Mary Major
Day 7, April 30: San Giovanni Rotondo - Monte Sant’ Angel
After celebrating Mass at the tomb of Padre Pio, we tour the sanctuary, see the old church and the crucifix from which he received the stigmata in 1918. You will see the confessional where Padre Pio spent innumerable hours with a multitude of pilgrims, directing them on their journey toward God. Enjoy a breathtaking view of the Gargano Peninsula and a visit to the Grotto of Michael the Archangel. Six different popes, St Francis and at least four other saints have knelt in prayer at this grotto, seeking the protection of St Michael. Following lunch, take in the panoramic view of the ocean and the surrounding countryside awaits you at this most celebrated shrine of early Christianity, a shrine consecrated by St Michael himself in 490. Return to San Giovanni for devotions, reflection, and a restful overnight.
Day 8, May 1: San Giovanni Rotondo – Lanciano – Loreto – Assisi
We will have breakfast at our hotel before we make our way to Lanciano, and visit the Church of St. Longinus where we will see the Eucharistic Miracle and celebrate Mass. It was here, as they celebrated the Latin Rite, a Brazilian hieromonk was assigned to celebrate Mass. The monk had doubts about the real presence of Jesus Chris in the Holy Eucharist. With doubt in his voice, he said the “Words of Consecration” and the bread turned into living flesh, and the wine changed into live blood. The blood coagulated into five globules, corresponding to the wounds Christ suffered in each hand and foot on the cross, and the wound from the centurion’s spear. After free time for lunch, we will continue on toward the Adriatic coast to the great 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 in 1294. 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. Enjoy lunch before we make our way to Assisi, the hometown of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals and the environment, and the founder of the Franciscan Order. We arrive in time for dinner at our hotel.
Day 9, May 2: Assisi (The Life of a Saint, that inspired a Holy Father)
Today is a very special day, as we will spend a full day touring the home of the Saint that inspired our Holy Father. Pope Francis 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, and preferring to live in simplicity and humility. Following breakfast, we will begin a tour of Assisi. Visit the tomb of St Francis. Explore the quaint hilltop birthplace of St Francis that still retains something of the atmosphere of the early 1200s, the period when St Francis began his ministry. Contained within the huge 13th-century Basilica are many of the saint's possessions and a series of frescoes depicting his life. You may kneel before the crucifix from which Jesus spoke to St Francis, asking him to rebuild His church. It was in St Mary of the Angels Basilica where St Francis spent most of his life. Here we visit the Chapel, Portiuncola, the rose bush, and the cave where the saint retired for prayer. Stroll the medieval streets of the compact little town. You will have some free time to shop or eat lunch at an outdoor cafe with a view of an ancient Roman temple, we go to the Church of St. Clare to see the saint's incorrupt body. The foundress of the Order of Poor Clares followed the teachings of St Francis by living a life of poverty and humility. We will visit these two saints' tombs before dinner and retiring for the evening.
Day 10, May 3: Assisi – Siena - Assisi
After breakfast we will head south to Siena, the birthplace of Saints Catherine (DDecor of the Church, and one of the two patron Saints of Italy, with St. Francis of Assisi) and Bernardine (known as the “Apostle of Italy” for his efforts to revive the Catholic faith in the 15th century). Siena is also one of Italy’s loveliest medieval cities. Here we will stroll the Piazza Del Campo, one of Italy’s finest squares and visit the Cathedral and the Basilica of St. Francis, containing the miraculous consecrated hosts that remained intact since 1730. After lunch, we will continue on to view the incorrupt head of St. Catherine at the Basilica of St. Dominic (Her body is preserved in Rome in the Basilica St. Maria sopra Minerva). We travel back to Assisi for dinner and overnight.
Day 11, May 4: Assisi - Rome – USA
Following breakfast, we will board our bus that will bring us to Rome Airport for our return flights home. We will bid farewell to our new friends and to a Pilgrimage which will be in our memories and hearts for a long time to come. We depart for Rome Airport and fondly say, Arrivederci Italia!
ABOUT CANONIZATION & ROME: On Friday, July 5th, Pope Francis signed the decree to Canonize the late Blessed John Paul II and Pope John XXIII to become Saints! Rome has been one of history's most powerful and important cities, along with home to the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope, and the site of the Vatican City. First built in 337, St. Peter's Basilica lies over the tomb of St. Peter. Contained within is a vast array of the most beautiful artwork ever assembled, reflecting the immensity, beauty, vastness, majesty, glory and awesomeness of God.
Tomb of Blessed John Paul II, The Chapel of St. Sebastian, St. Peter's Basilica, Rome
Blessed John Paul II,
St. Peters Square,