A Special Diocesan Priest Retreat
Rome & Assisi
Spiritual Director: Most Rev. Nelson Perez, M.Div M.A. D.D.
Group Leader: Fr. Michael Hennelly
Retreat Director: Msgr. James McNamara
About Monsignor James McNamara
Msgr. James McNamara is a beloved priest to Catholics in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, and all over the world. He studied for the priesthood at the Immaculate Conception Seminary on Long Island in Huntington, NY, and has served the Church in many capacities since being ordained. He has been a Parish Priest, an Episcopal Vicar, and is currently using his expertise as a Counselor and Spiritual Director at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. Over the years, he has written for Catholic publications and appeared on a Telecare TV Series about St. Paul. Msgr. Jim understands the importance of pilgrimage in the spiritual life, and has led countless pilgrimages and Priest Retreats over the years. Assisi, in particular, holds a special place in his heart as an ideal location for encountering Christ. That is where your journey will begin, and where you will spend most of your time
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare from Philadelphia (PHL)
- Fuel Surcharges and Airport Taxes
- 9 Nights at centrally located Single/Private Room accommodations
- ~ 6 nights: Domus Laetitiae Guesthouse, Assisi
- ~ 3 nights: Casa Bonus Pastor, Rome
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Breakfast daily
- Six (6) Lunches (Italian Pranzos) in Assisi
- One (1) Farewell Dinner in Rome
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Mass daily & Spiritual Retreat activities
- Luggage handling in Rome Only (1 piece per person)
- Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
- Lunches / Dinners not mentioned, Beverages, and additional Sightseeing.
Day 1 | Depart for Italy
We will make our way to Philadelphia Airport, for our overnight flight to Rome. Meals will be served on board.
Day 2 | Arrive Rome - Assisi (Opening of the Conference)
Upon arrival in Rome, make your way to the baggage claim area and collect your luggage. Proceed to the Arrivals Hall, where you will be greeted by your Escort/Driver. From there, you will head north to Assisi, 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. Upon arrival, we will check-in to our accommodations for the next six (6) nights, at Domus Laetitiae, a Guest House run by the Capuchins. We will have lunch together, and then begin the Official "Opening" of the Retreat at 4:00 pm. From there, we will have Mass at the Chapel of Domus Laetitiae at 6:00 pm, led by Monsignor James McNamara. After, you will have the evening to have dinner on your own, and retire for the evening.
Note: Each day we will have lunch together at Domus Laetitiae. Each evening we will we will be free to go out for dinner in small groups. The entire city of Assisi becomes our retreat house. There will be ample time during the day for personal prayer and visiting sacred sites.
Day 3 | Assisi
We will begin the morning with Mass at the Tomb of St. Francis, led by Archbishop Nelson Perez. We will return to the Guesthouse for breakfast, and then start the day with a Conference. The topic today will be "Discipleship: Jonah's Experience of God". We will have lunch at Domus Laetitiae, followed by time for prayer. A second Conference will discuss "Francis, Repair My Church." You will have the remainder of the day free to spend at your own leisure, and dinner. Return to your room for a restful night’s sleep.
Day 4 | Assisi
We will begin the morning with breakfast, followed by Mass at Santa Maria Maggiore, led by Monsignor James McNamara. Then we will begin our Conference for the morning with the theme "This is what I want". We will have lunch at Domus Laetitiae, followed by time for prayer. Our evening Conference is entitled: "Companions begin to gather." You will have the remainder of the day free to spend at your own leisure, and dinner. Return to your room for a restful night’s sleep.
Day 5 | Assisi - La Verna - Assisi
We will begin the morning with breakfast, and then depart for La Verna, the place where St. Francis, over the years, had been seven times, the last time in 1224 where he received the stigmata. Here you will be able to pray in the Chapel of the Stigmata, the Basilica and the Chapel of Saint Mary of the Angels. You will also be able to admire the beautiful artworks of Andrea della Robbia. Upon arrival, we will have Mass, led by Monsignor James McNamara. We will have lunch in La Verna, and take part in a Procession to the Chapel of the Stigmata. After, we will return to Assisi where you will have free time to spend on your own, and overnight.
Day 6 | Assisi
After breakfast, then we will begin our Conference for the morning with the theme "Francis: A man of Asceticism and Penance.” There will be opportunities for Confession before we celebrate Mass at the Basilica of St. Clare, led by Monsignor James McNamara. We will have lunch at Domus Laetitiae, followed by time for prayer. Our Evening Conference is entitled: "Francis: A Man of Gentleness and Compassion." You will have the remainder of the day free to spend at your own leisure, and dinner. Return to your room for a restful night’s sleep.
Day 7 | Assisi
After breakfast, we will begin our Conference for the morning with the theme "St. Francis: A Man of Poverty and Humility". At noon, we will have Mass at San Stefano, led by Monsignor James McNamara. We will have lunch at Domus Laetitiae, followed by time for prayer. Our evening Conference is entitled: "Living a Life of Resurrection". You will have the remainder of the day free to spend at your own leisure, and dinner. Return to your room for a restful night’s sleep.
Day 8 | Assisi - Rome
We will begin the morning with Mass at Domus Laetitiae, led by Monsignor James McNamara. We will have breakfast, and then depart for the Eternal City. Upon arrival in Rome, you will check-in to Casa Bonus Pastor, a Franciscan Guesthouse near S. Peter’s Basilica. You will have free time for lunch on your own, and then make our 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. You could also take in the Vatican Museums. At 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. After, you can take in a local restaurant for dinner. Following dinner, explore the streets of Rome, or return to the hotel for overnight.
Day 9 | Rome
We will begin the morning with Mass at the Grotto at St. Peter's Basilica, led by Archbishop Nelson Perez We will return for breakfast, and then begin a full day tour. First, we 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. Next, you will cross the street to visit the Holy Stairs. These Holy Stairs are the very steps leading up to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem on which Jesus stepped on his way to trial during his Passion. The Stairs were brought to Rome by Saint Helena in the fourth century. Ascending these stairs on your knees, in memory of Christ's agonizing Passion. Then we head to the Basilica of St. Mary Major. This Church, dedicated to Our Blessed Mother, St. Mary Major, reigns as the only Basilica that has kept 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. Make a 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 Matella, 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. You will have the rest of the day free, and then can stop to have dinner on your own
Day 10 | Rome
We will begin with Mass at Casa Bonus Pastor, followed by breakfast. We will then make our way to 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, the remainder of the day is free for you to spend at your own leisure. We will gather together, on our last night, and have dinner together at Bonus Pastor. Retire for a restful night’s sleep.
Day 11 | Rome - Return Home
We will begin with Mass at Casa Bonus Pastor, followed by breakfast. From there, we will board our transfer back to Rome Airport for our return flights home.