American Friends of the Venerable English College
Group Leader: Lady Vicki Downey, DGCHS
Spiritual Leader: Monsignor Robert T. Ritchie
Special Pilgrimage Liaison: Monsignor Philip Whitmore
June 20 - 27, 2020
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Centrally located first class hotels: (or similar)
- ~ 6 nights: June 21 – 27: Le Meridien Visconti, Rome
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Breakfast and Dinner daily (Dinners at local restaurants and Hotel)
- Wine and Mineral Water with Dinners
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Assistance of a Guide throughout
- Sightseeing and Admissions Fees as per itinerary
- Special Mass at the English College and Private Tour
- Private and Exclusive Tours of the Vatican Gardens and Castel Gondolfo
- Luggage Handling (at Hotels – 1 piece per person)
- Tips to Hotel Staff, Restaurants, and Luggage Handlers
- Mass daily & Spiritual activities
- Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
- Lunches, Tips to your Guide & Driver.
Day 1, Saturday – June 20th: Depart for Italy
Make your way to your local airport, where you will board your overnight flight(s) to Rome. Your meals are served on board.
Day 2, Sunday – June 21st: Arrive in Rome
Welcome to Rome, also known as, "The Eternal City." Upon arrival at Rome airport, you will make your way through Passport Control, collect your luggage in the baggage claim area, and continue to the Arrivals Hall, where you will be greeted by a tour escort and/or driver. You will be escorted 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 a special banquet room for a "Meet and Greet" with your fellow pilgrims, and then depart for Mass. Following Mass, you will attend a special Welcome Dinner, followed by the opportunity to walk to St. Peter's Square as a group, for the Rosary (optional).
Day 3, Monday – June 22nd: Rome: Appian Way – Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls – Catacombs – Basilica of St. Mary Major – Basilica of St. John the Lateran – Holy Steps
Wake up in the Eternal City, one of the greatest centers of Western Civilization and the first truly cosmopolitan city on earth! It is also the spiritual capital for all the Catholics around the world. Today is truly a day we will have in our minds for many years to come. This morning, you will enjoy an early breakfast before making your way 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 of the Walls. Originally founded by Emperor Constantine in the 4th Century, this Basilica is the burial places of Saint Paul the Apostle. From there, we will make our way to lunch, followed by a visit to the Basilica of St. Mary Major. This Basilica contains a relic from the Manger of the Infant Jesus, and where we will celebrate Mass. Then continue on to 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, you 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 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, you will proceed to return to the hotel for dinner and an overnight.
Day 4, Tuesday – June 23rd: Rome: St. Peter’s Basilica – Vatican Gardens - Vatican Museum – Scavi Tour*
After breakfast, we will go 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. From there, we will gather out front and will be escorted through the gates – and into the Vatican Gardens. Over an impressive 57 acres – this property includes a Renaissance layout scattered with fountains, statues, and buildings dating back to the sixth century. At one time, the gardens were orchards and vineyards, but Pope Nicholas III move from the Basilica of St. John the Lateran, back to the Vatican. We will walk to an exact replica of the Grotto found in Lourdes – and with candles in hand, we will form a Procession and walk through the Gardens. From there, we will proceed to the Vatican Museum to explore this famous museum. In this 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. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
*Scavi Tour time is pending confirmation. Any enhancements to the Vatican Garden Tour is pending confirmation.
Day 5, Wednesday – June 24th: Rome – Papal Audience – Ancient Rome Tour
After a nice breakfast at your hotel, your first 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, you will make your way to the Vatican Headquarters of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre to enjoy a special Cocktail Reception. You will have some free time to yourself after, and then meet at the English College when you will be met by Monsignor Robert T. Ritchie who will take you on a Private Tour of the Grounds. It is here that you will celebrate an intimate Mass with the local Seminarians, before you return to your Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 6, Thursday – June 25th: Rome – Subiaco – Castel Gandolfo
After breakfast we leave on a journey of discovery to Subiaco, where we will see how Benedictine monks lived. Subiaco, is a small village surrounded by spectacular natural scenery. Visit the Monastery of Santa Scolastica and the Monastery of San Benedetto. Make a short stop at Abbazia di Santa Scolastica ("Abbot at Santa Scolastica"), where the first book in Italy was printed. A visit to the Benedictine Herbalist is a must. Santa Scolastica is the last existing monastery where the ancient method of cultivation, began by San Benedetto, and you may is still buy natural products that the monks have treasured since the beginning of time. From there, we will continue on to Castel Gandolfo, known as the Apostolic Palace and Papal Summer Residence. This Catholic complex is set on 135 acres, much larger than Vatican itself. Here we will see the Palace, made by Urban VIII in the 17th century, the Holy See’s treasures and the beautifully landscaped Barberini Gardens which have only been open to the public since 2016. Admire views of Lake Albano and relax over lunch by the papal gardens. Castel Gandolfo raises much of its own food and delivers it daily to the Vatican - including milk from their own cows, chickens, vegetables and produce from olive trees that are centuries old. We will enjoy a Private Tour of the Gardens, and then return to Rome for dinner and restful nights sleep.
Day 7, Friday – June 26th: Return Flights Home
This morning, you will have an early breakfast, and then you will gather in the Hotel Lobby, and your group will leave by motor coach and transfer to Rome airport for return flight(s) home.