St. Joseph Catholic Church

Rome & Assisi Pilgrimage

Spiritual Director: Fr. Matt Russick, T.O.R.

April 18 - 27, 2023


St. Joseph Catholic Church

Rome & Assisi Pilgrimage

Spiritual Director:
Fr. Matt Russick, T.O.R.

April 18 - 27, 2023



Assisi (St. Francis) · La Verna · Greccio · Rome · Vatican City (Papal Audience with the Holy Father) · Trevi Fountain · Basilica of St. John the Lateran · Holy Stairs · Basilica of St. Mary Major · St. Peter's Basilica · Vatican Museum · Appian Way · Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls · Catacombs ·

St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Herndon, Va in the Diocese of Arlington, VA is staffed by the Franciscan Friars TOR, the same community that founded and sponsors Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH. Fr. Matt Russick, TOR, will serve as chaplain on this pilgrimage. He is a parochial vicar from St. Joseph's and was a campus minister and theology instructor at FUS for 8 years. Fr. Matt loves Italy, the Franciscan sites and is familiar with them from his 9 semesters in Gaming, Austria with the FUS study abroad program.

Fr. Matt Russick, T.O.R.

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Your trip includes

Centrally located hotels or similar
Not included
  • Lunches, Beverages, Tips to your guide & driver.
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Day 1: Tue, April 18 - Depart for Rome

Make your way to your local airport, where you will board your overnight flight(s) to Rome. Your meals will be served on board.

Day 2: Wed, April 19 - Arrival in Rome and transfer to Assisi

Welcome to Italy! Upon arrival at Rome airport, 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 make your way to the bus and transfer to Assisi. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon and visit Rocca Maggiore, which offers incredible views of the city below and surrounding Umbria. Fr Matt will celebrate Mass at Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, then the group will enjoy a delicious Italian dinner and restful overnight.

Day 3: Thu, April 20 - In Assisi

As you 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. You will start your 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. Fr. Matt will celebrate Mass at St Francis tomb (pending confirmation). Following Mass will be a visit to the Santuario Della Spogliazione where Blessed Carlo Acutis' tomb is placed. Carlo is the first millennial to be declared Blessed who loved the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. From there, you will continue on a walking tour through this picturesque town, including the birthplace of St. Francis, and the Bishop's House. 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, you will board the bus, which will take you 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 and pray. Return to the hotel for dinner and an overnight.

Day 4: Fri, April 21 - In Assisi

Following breakfast group will visit Basilica of Santa Chiara and venerate Clare's tomb and the original San Damiano crucifix that spoke so powerfully to St. Francis. Kneeling before the cross, you will pray St Francis' words: Most high and glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me a correct faith, a certain hope, a perfect charity, sense, and knowledge so that I may carry out your holy and true command. Santa Chiara honors St. Clare, the foundress of the Poor Clare Sisters. This Saint followed first and foremost teaching of Christ as well as teachings of St. Francis very closely by also living a life of poverty and humility. Fr. Matt will celebrate Holy Mass in the side chapel of Santa Chiara or at church main alter (pending confirmation). You will continue to the Church of San Damiano where Francis prayed before the cross and wrote the "Canticle of Creation," and Clare lived for many years. You will also visit San Rufino. After lunch continue to the Hermitage of the Carceri, where Francis and his friars retreated from the world to pray and fast. In the glass-walled chapel that overlooks the valley, group will pause for prayer and reflections. After time for contemplation in the quiet of this hermitage, return to Assisi. Dinner and overnight in Assisi.

Day 5: Sat, April 22 - Day trip to La Verna

This morning group will depart for La Verna, stopping first at the little convent of Monte Casale, where St. Francis and his brothers worshipped. You will continue on to La Verna. Here group will visit the Sanctuary of San Francesco, a site of constant pilgrimage over the centuries and a religious centre known all over the world. Monte de La Verna was given by Count Orlando Cattani to St. Francis of Assisi in 1213 A.D. There he founded a small hermitage community and in 1224 he received from Christ the final seal of the stigmata. For the next decade, Francis himself would spend part of the year in quiet meditation in caves and huts on the mountaintop. Today, the sanctuary stands as a unique spiritual place, surrounded by rich woods, and is a reminder of the ancient relationship between man and nature. We visit the Stigmata Chapel as well as Sasso Spicco, the great overhanging rock under which Francis delighted to pray, and the beautiful Chapel of the Birds. Fr Matt will celebrate Mass for the group at La Verna which will be followed by group meal. After some time for prayer and reflection, return to Assisi for dinner and the evening.

Day 6: Sun, April 23 - Assisi - Greccio - Rome

This morning after breakfast group will depart Assisi for Rome. On the way to Rome you will stop at the medieval town of Greccio set on a beautiful mountaintop and famous for its cool summer climate and mineral springs. However, Greccio is even more renowned for its connections with St. Francis of Assisi and as the birthplace of the Christmas crib in the year 1223, three years before St Francis died. St Francis came there wanting to celebrate Christmas in a new way - a midnight Mass with a real ox and donkey and with townspeople gathered around witnessing this live Christmas creche. Christmas was the dearest of feasts because it revealed the profound humility of God in choosing to become a little baby, helpless and in need of us, just as we were when we were newborn babies. On this spot the Franciscan convent of Greccio was built, and the Chapel of The Crib was erected in 1228, the year St. Francis was canonized. You will have Sunday Mass in Greccio. Following this visit, group will continue to Rome where you will visit the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. Originally founded by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century this Basilica is the burial place of Saint Paul the Apostle. Next, make your way to your Hotel for check in and dinner. Following dinner, you will have time to explore the streets of Rome. (optional).

Day 7: Mon, April 24 - Rome: St. Peter's Basilica, Castel San Angelo, Piazza Navona, Pantheon, St. Louis of the French, Santa Monica, Church of the Gesu, and St. Philip Neri

This morning you will enjoy an early breakfast before making your way to one of 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 from the cross and before being placed in the tomb. Fr. Matt will concelebrate Mass in the Chapel of the Crucifixion of St. Peter. Following your visit to the Basilica, continue to Castel Sant'Angelo where you can visit the tomb of a Roman emperor, see Raphael-inspired art, check out the site of fierce centuries-old battles with leftover cannons and cannonballs, have a stunning view of Saint Peter's basilica, admire a piece of Michelangelo architecture and see where popes lived when they were hiding from their enemies, and walk around a real castle-moat. Continue to visit Piazza Navona and Pantheon and nestled between them, in the city center of Rome, the small Church of St. Louis of the French. This church is a true pearl of Baroque art, famous for housing important art works like the 3 absolute masterpieces by Caravaggio. Near Piazza Navona in the Church of St Augustine you will visit the relics of St Monica (St Augustine's mother) resting within the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. Conclude the day with visit of Church of Gesu which houses the body of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, and a fascinating relic of St. Francis Xavier's right arm with which he allegedly baptized 300,000 people. This is the first Jesuit church in Rome and one of the most striking examples of baroque Roman art. Continue to view St Philip Neri's relics preserved in an urn below the altar in the Chapel of St Philip Neri in the Chiesa Nuova.

Day 8: Tues, April 25 - Rome: St. John Lateran, Colosseum and Roman Forum, Basilica of St. Mary Major, Sts. Cosmas & Damian

After breakfast you will visit the Basilica of St. John Lateran. It is here that St. Francis persuaded Pope Innocent III to give permission to begin the Franciscan Order. The night before, the Pope had seen a man in a dream and the man was supporting the tottering building of St. John Lateran. The next day, when Francis appeared before Pope Innocent, His Holiness recognized the face from the dream and consented to Francis's request. From there continue to Colosseum and learn everything from the construction, to the gladiators who competed in the Colosseum's gory gladiatorial games. Its real name was the Flavian Amphitheater, after the emperors who built it in the first century after Christ. Colosseum refers to the "colossal" statue of Nero that at one time stood at the entrance. Continue with a tour of the Roman Forum in Ancient Rome and admire incredible ruins, like the Temple of Julius Caesar. We will continue to visit Basilica of St. Mary Major, dedicated to Our Blessed Mother. St. Mary Major is the only Basilica that reigns from its original structure and is an authentic jewel in the crown of Roman Churches. This Basilica contains a relic from the Manger of the Infant Jesus. Group will end the day with visit of the Basilica of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, which is the mother Church of the Third Order Franciscans where Fr. Matt will celebrate Mass (pending confirmation). You will enjoy some free time in the afternoon, followed by a dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight at your Rome hotel.

Day 9: Wed, April 26 - Rome: Papal Audience - Vatican Museums or Scavi (Optionals) - Trevi Fountain

After breakfast, we start the day 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 choose the visit between Vatican Museums and Scavi Tour. In the afternoon visit the Trevi Fountain, where you may enjoy some free time on your own for lunch. Later this afternoon, attend Mass at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, followed by a farewell dinner at local restaurant and overnight at your hotel.

Day 10: Thu, April 27 - Return Home

After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, your group will leave by motor coach and transfer to Rome airport for return flights home.

206 Tours Disclaimer: The itinerary should be considered as an indication, rather than a contract of places to be visited. Occasionally local religious holidays, national days, weather, traffic conditions and other events may necessitate changes in the sequence of visits or the missing of certain visits.

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Business Class Trans-Atlantic (Round-Trip) Upon Request

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About your trip

pilgrimage map
  • Rome (Papal Audience with the Holy Father)
  • Assisi (St. Francis)
  • La Verna
  • Loreto (Holy House)
  • Lanciano (Eucharistic Miracle)
  • San Giovanni Rotondo (St. Padre Pio)
  • Monte Sant' Angelo (St. Michael)
  • Pietrelcina
  • Monte Cassino
About Rome:

Rome has been one of the most powerful and influential cities throughout history, along with being 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 and contained within, is a vast array of the most beautiful artwork ever assembled, reflecting the immensity, beauty, vastness, majesty, and glory of God.

View More University of Steubenville Pilgrimages

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