"Pope Authorizes Official Pilgrimages to Medjugorje"
May 13, 2019
Jordan, The Holy Land & Medjugorje17 days
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare from your desired Airport
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Centrally Located First Class Hotels: (or similar)
- ~1 night: Le Grand Amman, Amman, Jordan
- ~1 night: Crowne Plaza Guesthouse, Petra, Jordan
- ~1 night: Le Grand Amman, Amman, Jordan
- ~1 night: Dan Panorama or Herod's, Tel Aviv, Israel
- ~2 nights: Leonardo Plaza Tiberias, Israel
- ~4 nights: Modern Pansion/Hotel, Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Breakfast & Dinner daily
- Wine & mineral water with dinners
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Free Wi-Fi on motor coach
- Whisper Headsets where needed
- Assistance guide(s) throughout
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Catholic Priest throughout for Confession and Spiritual Guidance
- Votive Masses daily
- Meeting with visionaries (pending availability)
- Visit to Community Cenacolo
- Free Wifi (in Medjugorje)
- Tips to hotel staff, restaurants, luggage handlers
- Luggage handling (1 piece per person)
- Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
*Renew Wedding Vows in Cana - Couples will have a special opportunity to renew their wedding vows during a ceremony led by their Spiritual Director on Day 3, (Each couple will receive a commemorative Certificate following the ceremony) Please note: It is NOT a Mass, but a ceremony.
- Lunches in Jordan and Medjugorje. Tips to your guide & driver
Depart for the Holy Land
Make your way to your local airport where you will board your overnight flight. Your meals will be served on board.
Arrive in Tel Aviv
Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, make your way to the baggage claim area and collect your luggage. Proceed to the Arrival's Hall, where you will be greeted by your tour guide and/or driver. Transfer to your hotel in Tel Aviv to check-in. Enjoy dinner at the hotel before retiring for the evening.
Tel Aviv - Ceaserea - Stella Maris (Haifa) - Nazareth - Cana - TiberiasTheme: The Annunciation
Depart Tel Aviv to Caesarea Marítima, one of the three largest ports in the Roman world, next to Alexandria and Piraeus “Athens”, which were built by Herod the Great between 21 B.C. and 9 B.C. It was in Caesarea where St. Peter baptized the first gentile convert Cornelius, and where St. Paul gave his defense of the church. From here, we will see the Roman Theater, Herod’s Palace, view the Hippodrome, and the harbor from where St. Paul sailed on his journeys. Continue north to Haifa, located on Mt Carmel, where we will visit the Carmelite Shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Mt Carmel, and pray at the cave which Elijah the prophet took refuge. Continue on to Nazareth for lunch, and then visit the Church of the Annunciation. Visit the museum and archaeological garden where we can see the remains of Nazareth at time of Christ, as well as St. Joseph’s workshop – which is now known as St. Joseph’s Church. Within the Church of the Annunciation, you will make our way down to the Grotto to see the remains of the house of the Blessed Mother, and where the Angel of the Lord announced the good news to Mary. Celebrate Mass in this Church, and then continue on to Cana. It was here that Jesus performed His first miracle, changing water into wine. During your visit at the Wedding Church, married couples will have the chance to take part in the ceremony and renew their wedding vows. From there, we continue on to Tiberias, located on Sea of Galilee, for dinner and overnight.
Tiberias: Sea of GalileeTheme: The Ministry of Christ in the Galilee
Today, begin with breakfast at the hotel, followed by a boat ride on the beautiful and scenic Sea of Galilee (Luke 5:1). Upon docking the boat, you will have the opportunity to view the remains of a boat that dates back to the time of Jesus. Following the Sea of Galilee, we continue to the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus proclaimed His great Sermon on the Mount (Luke 6:20-49). Near the Mount, is Tabgha, one of Jesus' miracle sites. At Tabgha, Jesus fed the crowd of 5,000 people from five loaves of bread and two fish (Luke 9:10-17). Also, in Tabgha is St. Peter's Primacy where Jesus bestowed church leadership upon Peter (John 21:9). Continue to visit the birthplace of Mary Magdalene in Magdala. During the time of Jesus, this village was a prosperous fishing village that exported fish and garum (a fish sauce reduction; popular in Roman cooking). Your day concludes at Capernaum, the launching place of Jesus' ministry. In Capernaum, see the Synagogue where Jesus taught (Mark 1:21-29) and gave His sermon on the Bread of Life. Return to the hotel for dinner and an overnight.
Jordan River - Mt. Tabor - Jericho - JerusalemTheme: The Transfiguration
After breakfast, drive to the site of the Transfiguration, Mount Tabor (Matthew 17:1-50). At this site, you will have some time to reflect on Christ's Humanity and Divinity. Celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the Transfiguration and then continue south towards the Jordan Valley, to the oldest inhabited city in the world, Jericho (Joshua 6:12-25). In Jericho, you view the exact location, the Mount of Temptation, where the Devil tempted Jesus during his forty-day fast (Luke 4:1). Following the visit to this mountain, continue to Jesus' baptismal site on the River Jordan (Matthew 3:13-17). After some time at the Jordan River, you will transfer to Jerusalem to check-in to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Jerusalem: Temple Model - Ein Karem - Bethlehem
Theme: The Visitation and Nativity
This morning, enjoy breakfast before we start our day in Jerusalem, which houses the temple to which Jesus was Presented (Luke 2:22). Visit a model of the Second Temple as it was in the time of Jesus. Following this visit, you will take a short drive to the village of Ein Karem, the birthplace of John the Baptist. It is known that there are two churches in Ein Karem, representing the two homes of Zechariah and Elizabeth. The first is in a valley where the birth of St. John the Baptist is commemorated (Luke 1:39-80) in the Church of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. The second is on a hill where Elizabeth spent five months in seclusion (Luke 1:24) at the Church of the Visitation. You will have a chance to visit both of these churches and have the opportunity to pray the Mystery of the Rosary as you walk up the hill to the Church of the Visitation. In the afternoon, transfer to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. In Bethlehem, you will have the opportunity to view the Shepherd's Fields (Luke 2:8). In the caves of these fields, you are still able to see the soot marks of fires that shepherds lit to keep warm. The tour concludes at the Manger Square, which stands in front of the Church of the Nativity. As you enter the Church, you will proceed down to the Grotto of the Nativity which marks the spot of Our Savior's birth (Matthew 2:1-18). Beneath the altar, there is a silver star and a Latin inscription that states: HIC DE VIRGINE MARIA JESUS CHRISTUS NATUS (Here Jesus Christ was born to the Virgin Mary). Following Mass in this Sacred space, return to the hotel for dinner and an overnight.
Bethany - Dead Sea
Theme: Early Years in Jerusalem & the Wilderness.
Following breakfast at your hotel, you will travel down the Jordan Valley to Qumran. Qumran is made up of 2,000 year old ruins from the days of the Second Temple and also the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were written and discovered (Ezekial 47:8-10). These writings have helped further the understanding of Jewish background in Christianity. Time and weather permitting, you will have the opportunity to take a float in the Dead Sea, the lowest and saltiest spot on Earth. Continue as you travel through the Judean wilderness, the site where Jesus spent His 40 days of fasting. The day of touring culminates with a transfer to Bethany. Bethany is the site where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead which foreshadows His own Resurrection (John 11:38-44). Return to the hotel for dinner and an overnight.
Jerusalem: Mt. Of Olives - Gethsemane - Mt. Zion (Upper Room) - Western Wall
Theme: Palm Sunday and the Agony in the Garden
After breakfast, you will make your way to the Mount of Olives, where you will be able to take in the beautiful, panoramic view of Jerusalem. Historically, the Mount of Olives was a mandatory transit point for Jesus during many iconic moments. Visit the Pater Noster Shrine where Jesus taught His disciples the Lord's Prayer (Pater Noster) (Luke 11:1-4). You will have the opportunity to stop at Dominus Flevit which is a Church that commemorates where Jesus wept for Jerusalem (Luke 19:41). Continue on to Gethsemane, a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives. Jesus brought His disciples here to pray the night before He was crucified (Luke 22:29-53). The Garden still contains trees with roots that date back to the time of Jesus. Your next stop, the Church of All Nations, is built over the "Rock of Agony". This is where Jesus prayed alone on the night of His arrest. Throughout this time, you are invited to remain in prayer and to reflect on Christ's agony that He experienced. You will have the opportunity to visit the Western Wall, which is the last remnant of the Jewish Temple after it was destroyed in 70 A.D. Continue with a visit to the house of the High Priest Caiaphas (Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu). This Church commemorates where Jesus was examined and eventually imprisoned before the Council in Jerusalem. It also commemorates Peter's Denial of Christ (John 18:15-18), Peters' repentance, and Jesus' forgiveness of Peter. You will also visit the Upper Room on Mt. Zion. The Upper Room is where Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Last Supper (Matthew 26:17-30) and where Jesus appeared to His disciples after His Death and Resurrection (Mark 16:14). In addition, visit the nearby Benedictine Church of the Dormition. Tradition tells us that this Church is where Mary, the Mother of Jesus, "fell asleep." At the end of this prayerful day, return to your hotel for dinner and an overnight.
Jerusalem: Via Dolorosa - Holy Sepulchre
Theme: The Way of the Cross, The Crucifixion, The Resurrection
This morning you will have a very early wake-up to begin the Via Dolorosa (The Way of the Cross) at the Antonia Fortress. This is the spot where Jesus was condemned to death by Pontius Pilate (John 18:28-19:16). Following His condemnation, He was taken (on the Road to Calvary) to His place of Crucifixion. Reflect upon the Stations of the Cross as you travel through the markets of the Old City to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (Luke 23:26-33). This sacred destination is the site of Calvary (Jesus' crucifixion place) and His tomb (Luke 23: 50-55). Celebrate Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Following Mass, we will return to the hotel to enjoy breakfast. You will continue your day with a visit to the Church of St. Anne's, the home of Jesus' maternal grandparents (Anne and Joachim); and the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed the crippled man (John 5:1-9). This afternoon, enjoy a revisit to the Old City. Following this visit return to the hotel to enjoy dinner and an overnight at your hotel..
Tel Aviv - Lisbon
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, transfer to the Tel Aviv airport for your flight(s) to Lisbon. Upon landing at Lisbon Airport, and after claiming your baggage, proceed to the arrival's hall, where you will be greeted by your tour guide and/or driver. This afternoon we will enjoy Panoramic tour of Lisbon, which will include St. Jerome's Monastery, built to give thanks to the Virgin Mary, we will drive by the Belem Tower and many landmarks including the 25th of April Bridge, Basilica of the Star, and the Marquee of Pombal Square. Our last stop will be St. Anthony's Church. Patron Saint of lost things is best known as St. Anthony of Padua (Italy), but he was born and baptized here in Lisbon, Portugal. The Church where we will celebrate Mass is built upon St. Anthony's birth. Welcome dinner and overnight in Lisbon.
Lisbon - Santarem - Fatima
Theme: Palm Sunday and the Agony in the Garden
Today, we will head to Fatima, on the way will stop in town of Santarem for Mass at St. Stephens Church, and to venerate the 13th century Eucharistic Miracle. Continue to Fatima, a Hamlet of Aljustrel, the birthplace and home of the three shepherd children. Dinner and overnight in Fatima.
Today will surely be a memorable experience, as you pray and meditate upon one of Our Blessed Mother's apparition sites. Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children; Lucia (age 10), Jacinta (age 7), and Francisco (age 9). These apparitions occurred monthly from May until October of 1917. Historically, as the entire world was in true turmoil, Our Lady's most prominent message during this time was to pray for world peace. The destruction of the world at that point in history was also mentioned by Our Lady in her messages of Fatima, and more specifically, in her second secret to the children. Our profoundly reflective day begins with a visit to the Little Chapel of the Apparitions. This simple, yet modern, chapel is the site where the Virgin Mary first appeared on May 13, 1917. Continue with a visit to the stunning neoclassical church, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary. This Sacred space contains the tombs of St. Francisco, St. Jacinta, and Sister Lucia. View the monument that commemorates the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in the square. Due to Our Lady's consistency in Her messages to pray the Rosary, this Basilica also features fifteen altars, dedicated to the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary. While in the Basilica, you will be able to feel, through the Love of Our Lord and Lady, the many graces that were received here. Visit the Museum with the exhibition: Fatima: Light and Peace. Continue with a visit to the Holy Trinity Basilica. After free time for lunch, we will experience Christ's unconditional love by participating in the Stations of the Cross along the Via Sacra. The "Sacred Way" marks the path taken by the shepherd children of Fatima to their first apparition with Our Lady. It is composed of fifteen small chapels in commemoration of the Passion of Our Lord. The fifteenth station, the Resurrection, can be found close to the Chapel of Calvary, dedicated to St. Stephen, King of Hungary. The day ends with a visit to Valinhos, the site of Our Lady's August 1917 apparition and the first and third apparition of the Angel. Your night will conclude with private devotions, and a candlelight procession, requested by Our Lady (1917). Enjoy dinner and a comfortable night's rest in Fatima.
Fatima - Salamanca
Depart Fatima and head to Salamanca, following a full breakfast at the hotel. Salamanca is a city in the Castilla y Leon region, and is known for its large University, the oldest in Spain that is still active, along with its prominent culture. Our walking tour will bring us by the most noteworthy sites such as; the grand Plaza Mayor, an iconic square filled with food, shopping and city events; La Clerecia, a church and college of the Jesuit Order that was constructed in the seventeenth century; La Casa de las Conchas, currently a public library but also, a monument noted and decorated by shells, which symbolizes the ever-famous pilgrimage to Santiago (El Camino); the University of Salamanca, the oldest University in Spain and the third oldest in Europe; the Roman Bridge, extends along the River Tormes, is a national monument and among one of Salamanca's sturdiest bridges; La Iglesia de San Marcos, constructed in the Romanesque style and contains breathtaking paintings that portray many scenes of Our Lady's life; La Iglesia de San Martin, a church devoted to St. Martin de Porres, who is the patron saint of mixed-race people and all those seeking interracial harmony. Visit the inside of the two joint Salamanca Cathedrals (old and new), one of which is a Romanesque style and the other a Gothic style. Following this eventful day, you will return to your hotel for a delicious meal with your group and an overnight at your hotel in Salamanca.
Salamanca - Alba de Tormes - Avila - Burgos
This morning, after breakfast, you will board the bus and enjoy a short transfer to the village of Alba de Tormes. This town is home to the Carmelite Monastery that Saint Teresa founded in 1571. Upon arrival in Alba de Tormes, your group will celebrate Mass at this Monastery where the saint died and was buried. Following Mass, you will have the opportunity to visit the museum dedicated to St. Teresa of Avila, which also holds her incorrupt heart and left arm. Your group will enjoy free time for lunch on your own, before continuing to the medieval city of Avila. Upon arrival in Avila, you will immediately notice the perfectly preserved eleventh-century walls that surround the old town. The conservation of architecture in this city, to which St. Teresa was born, deems its shrines, convents and churches necessary to visit on any Catholic pilgrimage. The Cathedral de Avila encompasses the Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance styles of its time, within its artwork and architecture. La Basilica de San Vicente in Avila, stands on the site of the martyrdom of St. Vincent. Visit the Incarnation Convent, where St. Teresa became a nun. Saint Therese convinced Saint John of the Cross to reform the male Carmelite order, the reform she started when she met Saint John in Medina del Campo. After walking in the footsteps of St. Teresa, continue your journey to Burgos. Upon arrival in the historic capital of Old Castile, enjoy dinner. Following dinner, you will have the opportunity to explore the city of Burgos, and admire its magnificent limestone, gothic-style Cathedral. Late this evening, you will return to your hotel for a restful overnight.
Burgos - Loyola - Lourdes
Following breakfast, transfer from Burgos to Loyola to visit the birthplace of St. Ignatius, founder of the Jesuit Order. St. Ignatius dedicated himself to becoming a soldier of the Christian faith, and as a result of many tribulations, he wrote the ever-famous Spiritual Exercises. In Loyola, you will see the 17th century Basilica that is dedicated to this remarkable Saint. The Basilica is part of a series of buildings that surrounds the "Holy House," the birthplace of St. Ignatius. When you visit these Holy places, you will also have the opportunity to pray at the most venerated room, where St. Ignatius prayed and began his conversion. After meditating on the life of this founder of the Jesuit Order, you will enjoy free time for lunch and board the bus for the next destination. We will continue to Lourdes with a spectacular view of the Pyrenees Mountains. Upon arrival in Lourdes, you will check-in to your hotel and enjoy a splendid dinner and peaceful overnight.
Over the next two days, you will wake up in a small town that is nestled within the Pyrenees Mountains. During your time in Lourdes, you will pray and meditate in yet another site of Our Lady's apparitions. Our Lady first appeared to Bernadette in 1858, and announced herself as "The Immaculate Conception", near the Grotto of Massabielle. During the first two apparitions, little Bernadette prayed the Rosary with Our Lady and left without any exchange of words. During the following apparitions, Our Lady emphasized God's love for us, penance and the necessity of performing acts of penance for sinners. Throughout your time in Lourdes, you will have the opportunity to attend Mass at the Grotto, where Our Lady appeared to Bernadette; watch a video presentation that explains, in detail, the story of Lourdes; drink water from the miraculous spring that has healed many; and submerge yourself in the healing baths. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to experience Christ's unconditional love, as you meditate upon the "life size" Stations of the Cross that overlook the Grotto of Massabielle. Also, while in Lourdes, you will walk in and meditate upon the footsteps of St. Bernadette. Your group will have the opportunity to see Boly Mill, the birthplace of St. Bernadette, and the "Cachot," an abandoned prison where Bernadette's impoverished family lived. Each evening following dinner, you will have an opportunity to attend the candlelight procession and the Rosary before a restful overnight.
Lourdes - Paris - Lisieux (St. Therese - The Little Flower)
Today, you will enjoy breakfast before departing for Pau or Lourdes airport for your short flight to Paris. Upon arrival in Paris, visit and attend Mass at the magnificent, Sacre Coeur Basilica that stands atop Montmartre Hill. The Basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, was originally built in 1914, as an act of penance for infidelity that France was experiencing during that time. While on your visit, in addition to the extraordinary artwork and architecture that forms the Basilica, you will see the beautiful mosaic of the Risen Christ, and the remarkable Grand Organ. Celebrate Mass at the Crypt that contains the Tombs of many notable Cardinals. Time permitting, you may have the opportunity during your free time to ascend a staircase to the Dome, where you will take in a breathtaking panoramic view the city of Paris. Following this visit, you will enjoy lunch on own and depart for Lisieux. According to Pope Pius X, St. Therese of Lisieux was the "greatest saint of modern times." Her extraordinary love for God and service to humanity will come alive, as you walk in the great Saint's footsteps. During your visit, you will see the beautiful Basilica of St. Therese, and the magnificent mosaics and stained glass that are contained within. Dinner and an overnight at your hotel, in Lisieux.
Lisieux - Landing Beaches - American Cemetery
Upon waking up in Lisieux and enjoying breakfast, you will pray and reflect upon the life of the beloved Saint, as well as celebrate Mass. After Mass and a visit to the Basilica, you will have the opportunity to view relics, clothing and personal objects of St. Therese when you visit her family home, Les Buissonets. Additionally, you will tour the Carmelite Convent, where she entered in 1888, and is currently entombed in with her parents. This afternoon, transfer to Normandy Landing beaches. The Normandy landings were the landing operations on Tuesday, June 6, 1944 (termed D-Day) of the Allies’ invasion of Normandy during World War II. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the liberation of German-occupied Northwestern Europe from Nazi control, and contributed to the Allies’ victory on the Western Front. Continue on to visit the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, a World War II memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, that honors American troops who died in Europe during World War II. Many of the brave American soldiers of World War II are buried here, and it is encouraged to say a prayer in thanksgiving for their courage. Return to Lisieux for dinner and an overnight.
Lisieux - Chartres - Paris
This morning, your day begins with an early breakfast, before we depart for Chartres, known worldwide for its massive Cathedral Notre Dame, and its incredible stained-glass windows from the 12th and 13th century. The World Heritage site, UNESCO, calls the Cathedral "the high point of French Gothic art" and a "masterpiece". You will have some free time for lunch in the quaint town of Chartres. After lunch, we will continue to Paris for check in at your hotel, followed by some free time before a delicious dinner and an overnight.
Today, you will enjoy a full sightseeing tour of Paris. After breakfast, you will visit and celebrate Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, where you will view the incorrupt body of St. Catherine Laboure. The Saint's guardian angel led her to the chapel, where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her. During apparitions, Our Lady repeatedly instructed the making and purpose of the Miraculous Medal, as well as the green scapular. According to the Blessed Virgin Mary, those who wear the Miraculous Medal and scapular will receive special protection and abundant graces. Following your prayerful and reflective experience at this elegant chapel, you will begin your sightseeing tour of Paris. After Mass, we will walk to Saint Vicent de Paul Church. Your day continues with a visit of the Notre Dame Cathedral, a perfect example of Gothic art. Our panoramic sightseeing tour, via motor coach, continues on to the most recognizable symbol of the city of Paris, the Eiffel Tower. Historically, the Tower's original intent was to commemorate the centenary of the French Revolution, but, later assisted in advancements in meteorology, telegraphy during World War I, radio, and television. Pass by the L'Arch de Triomphe, a monument that symbolizes gratitude for those who fought for France. This monument stands at the West end of the Champ-Elysees, one of the world's most famous boulevards and another one of our stops on the sightseeing tour. You will also pass by the ever famous, Louvre Museum.* This Museum is one of the finest in the world and contains a number of pieces that truly emanate not only French art, but also, European culture. Your fun-filled, busy day ends with a lovely meal and a very comfortable overnight.
Paris - Rome
Following breakfast at your hotel, your group will transfer to the Charles de Gaulle Airport and board your short flight to Rome. Upon arrival at Rome airport, collect your luggage in the baggage claim area, and continue to the arrival's hall, where you will be greeted by a tour escort and/or driver. You will make your way 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 the hotel lobby for a "Meet and Greet" with your fellow pilgrims and depart for Mass. Following Mass, you will attend a welcome dinner. After dinner, you will have the opportunity to walk to St. Peter's Square as a group, for the Rosary (optional), before retiring for the evening.
Rome: Papal Audience - Trevi Fountain - Basilica of St. John the Lateran – Holy Stairs - Basilica of St. Mary Major
FAfter 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, there will be free time for lunch, or shop, or mail a postcard from the Vatican Post Office. This afternoon you 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, and where he officiates as the Bishop of Rome. Next, we 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 that 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, we will proceed to the Basilica of St. Mary Major. This Basilica contains a relic from the Manger of the Infant Jesus. Return to the hotel for dinner and an overnight.
Rome: St. Peter's Basilica - Vatican Museum - Appian Way - Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls - Catacombs
This morning you will enjoy an early breakfast before making your 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. Continue to proceed to the Vatican Museums. At the 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. Afterward, you will be transferred to the Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain), where you may enjoy some free time on your own for lunch. Continue on your 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 Metella, 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. We will make our way to a local restaurant for dinner. Following dinner, feel free to explore the streets of Rome, or return to the hotel for an overnight.
Rome - Monte Cassino - San Giovanni Rotondo
Following breakfast, you will board your bus to enjoy the scenic route to Monte Cassino, passing through the Roman countryside, known for its villas and vineyards. During the bus ride, your tour escort will share interesting information regarding the spiritual, historical, and cultural aspects of Italy. Monte Cassino, the principle monastery of the Benedictine Order, was founded by Saint Benedict around 530 A.D. Following the tour, there will be an opportunity to visit the gift shop, before we board the bus to continue toward San Giovanni Rotondo, the hometown of Saint Padre Pio. Upon arrival in San Giovanni Rotondo, you will check-in, enjoy dinner in a restaurant, and an overnight.
San Giovanni Rotondo - Monte Sant' Angelo
This morning, after breakfast we will visit the Old Church. After Mass we will tour the sanctuary, it is here you will view the crucifix, in front of which St. Pio received the stigmata. Visit the confessional from where St. Pio spent an innumerable amount of hours listening to confessions. Next, we will board the bus and travel along the beautiful Gargano Peninsula to the Grotto of St. Michael the Archangel, a shrine consecrated by St. Michael. At this grotto, St. Michael appeared to a Bishop to assure him that his diocese would not be annihilated as he feared. Following the visit to the grotto, enjoy free time. On the way back to San Giovanni Rotondo, view breathtaking views of the ocean and surrounding countryside. Upon arrival you will have time for devotion and reflection. Dinner and an overnight.
*Candlelight Procession - Between May and October attend the weekly Candlelight Procession at the Sanctuary of St. Pio after dinner, at 9:00 PM. These processions are lit by candlelight, and are guided by the Most Holy Rosary. Following this prayerful experience, you will return to your hotel for a restful overnight.
San Giovanni Rotondo - Lanciano - Loreto - Assisi
After breakfast, head to Lanciano. Upon arrival in Lanciano, you will celebrate Mass at the Church of St. Longinus. This Church is the site of the Eucharistic Miracle that occurred in the eighth century. At the time of the Miracle, there was a Basilian monk who struggled with the belief in the real presence of The Lord Jesus in the Eucharist. During the time of Mass, the monk, with doubt in his voice, said the "Words of Consecration" and the bread turned into living flesh, and the wine transformed into live blood. There will be some free time to explore Lanciano, before continue 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 Pope’s 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 Mary first prayed the Magnificat, where Jesus grew to manhood, and where the Holy Family lived. Continue on to Assisi, the hometown of St. Francis. Upon arrival in Assisi, you will enjoy dinner, before retiring to your room for a restful night's sleep.
Assisi (The Life of a Saint that inspired a Holy Father)
As we 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. Start our tour at the St. Francis Basilica, visit the 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. From there, you will continue on a walking tour through this picturesque town, including the birthplace of St. Francis, and ending with a tour of the Church that honors St. Clare, the foundress of the Poor Clare Sisters. This Saint followed the teachings of St. Francis very closely by also living a life of poverty and humility. 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, we will board the bus, which will take us 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, as well as the cave where the Saint retired to pray. Return to the hotel for dinner and an overnight.
Assisi - Gubbio - La Verna - Assisi
After breakfast, you will drive through the beautiful Umbrian mountains to Gubbio. Enjoy this medieval town with a visit of St. Francis Church, where we will be celebrating Mass. After Mass, we will visit a town that seems painted onto the hill, a succession of backdrops against which towers and houses stand out, all embraced by walls. The town had been freed by St. Francis from a terrible and fierce wolf who afflicted it. After lunch on your own, we will continue to La Verna, the place where St. Francis, over the years, had been seven times, the last time being in 1224, when 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. Return to Assisi for dinner and an overnight.
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, transfer to Rome Fiumicino airport for your return flights home.