~ 2 nights: Centro di Spiritualita Padre Pio, San Giovanni Rotondo ***
~ 3 nights: Hotel Giotto, Assisi **** † Transfers as per itinerary † Breakfast and Dinner daily † Wine with dinners † Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach † 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) † Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
*Special Clergy Discount
*Discount is offered to ordained clergy in the Roman Catholic Church: deacons, priests, or bishops belonging to the diaconate, the presbyterate, or the episcopate, respectively as well, as Catholic Sisters.
Sample Day-by-Day Itinerary: Day 1 - Depart USA Depart USA for your overnight flight to France. Dinner and breakfast will be served on board.
Day 2 - Lourdes Upon your arrival in Lourdes transfer to your hotel. Relax or explore before dinner, followed by a candlelight procession before retiring. Dinner and overnight.
Days 3 & 4 - Lourdes
Mass at the Grotto, enjoy a video presentation telling the story of Lourdes, and walk in the footsteps of St Bernadette. See Boly Mill where St. Bernadette was born and the "Cachot," an abandoned prison where Bernadette's impoverished family lived. Join your prayers with those of pilgrims from around the world as you pray for the sick, drink water from the miraculous spring or submerge yourself in the healing baths. Experience Christ's love as you walk the life-sized Stations of the Cross overlooking the holy Grotto. Kneel in the chapel built on the very rock of the Grotto, in obedience to the request of the "Immaculate Conception." Evenings are for Blessed Sacrament Procession before dinner. Your role in the universal church will have new meaning as you join the candlelight procession and group rosary. (candle light procession and group rosary April through October only).
Day 5 - Lourdes - Rome
After breakfast, leave on your flight(s) to Rome.
Upon arrival your escort will warmly greet you and welcome you to Italy. Transfer to your hotel and this afternoon our guide will introduce us to our fellow pilgrims and our priest who will be with us for the rest of the journey. We will make our way to Mass, followed by a welcome dinner with wine. This evening we will walk to St. Peter’s Square for Rosary (optional).
Day 6 - Rome: Papal Audience – Trevi Fountain / Piazza Navona – Basilica of St. John the Lateran and St. Mary Major – Holy Stairs
Following breakfast, we will make our way to St. Peter’s Square to attend the Papal Audience, led by His Holiness, Pope Francis. (Papal Audience: Is scheduled to take place every Wednesday, pending the schedule of Pope Francis.) Following the audience, we will make our way to the Trevi Fountain built in the 15th Century to mark the ending destination of the Aqua Virgo – a man-made channel erected in 19 B.C or Piazza Navona where at the center: Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi “Fountain of the Four Rivers. After free time for lunch we will visit 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 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. Continue to 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. We will celebrate Mass, and then make our way to dinner and overnight.
Day 7 - Rome: St. Peter's Basilica - Vatican Museum - Trevi Fountain - Appian Way - Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls - Catacombs
Following breakfast, we will depart to celebrate Mass in the largest church in Christendom, St Peter's Basilica, built on the site where St Peter was martyred. Unsurpassed in beauty, a monument to the long history of the Catholic Church, to which pilgrims come from around the world, St Peter's is the grandest of the world's churches. Marvel Pieta and Bernini's amazing bronze canopy. Following Mass, we will visit of the Vatican Museums, containing a group of the most impressive edifices with hundreds of galleries filled with art treasures. See awe-inspiring relics, and works of art donated throughout centuries as tributes of faith. We'll cover The Tapestry Gallery, The Raphael Rooms and the most overwhelming Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo's Masterpiece, restored mural of the Last Judgment. The tour ends as we make our way back into St. Peter’s Basilica. Pope Francis visited the tomb of St. Peter, following his elevation, for a visit of devotion that lasted 45 minutes. He is the first Pontiff to visit the necropolis since extensive archaeological excavations were conducted at the ancient site decades ago. We will also visit the tomb of Saint John Paul II located at the Vatican. There will be free time for lunch, and then we will continue on to visit St Paul. Outside the Walls. 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 our day and wonderful stay in Rome with dinner at a local restaurant in Rome.
Day 8 - 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.
Day 9 - San Giovanni Rotondo - Monte Sant’ Angel (View incorrupt body of Padre Pio)
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. (Beginning June 1st , 2013 - We will have the opportunity to view and pray before the incorrupt body of Padre Pio.) 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 10 – 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 Basilian hieromonk was assigned to celebrate Mass. The monk had doubts about the real presense of Jesus Christ 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 11 – 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 view the relics of St. Clare. 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 12 – Assisi – Siena - Assisi
After breakfast we will head south to Siena, the birthplace of Saints Catherine (Doctor 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 13 - 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!
Would you like to arrive earlier or stay later? Let us know at time of registration, we will reschedule your airline reservations pending availability at no additional fee. Let us know if you need assistance with pre or post stay at hotel.
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Private Room (Single Supplement)
Land with Inter-European Flights
one way (no international airfare or arrival/departure transfers are included)