Day 1 - Friday, 20th September
This morning we will depart from Dublin to Naples airport. Upon arrival we will meet our tour escort and enjoy a drive through the wonderful countryside as we travel to the town of Pietrelcina, birthplace of St. Pio. After lunch in a local restaurant, we will have a walking tour of the quaint town visiting the home of the Forgione family where Padre Pio was born, the Church of Sant’Anna where he was baptised and the church where he celebrated his first Mass.
We will celebrate the opening Mass of our pilgrimage in nearby Piana Romana where today we will celebrate the anniversary of the young Padre Pio receiving the invisible stigmata in the year 1910. After Mass we will visit the small chapel dedicated to St. Francis of and have time for prayer before the tree beneath which Padre Pio received the invisible stigmata. After a visit to the humble farmhouse of the Forgione family we will leave Piana Romana and begin our drive to San Giovanni Rotondo, taking in the contrasting landscapes as we make our way to the remote town located in southern Italy which was home to St. Pio for over fifty years.
Day 2 – Saturday, 21st September Feast Day of St. Matthew the Apostle
After breakfast we will celebrate Mass in the ancient church of Our Lady of Grace where St. Pio celebrated Mass, heard confessions and received the gift of the stigmata. Afterwards we will meet with one of the capuchin friars where we will hear more of the life of St. Pio and receive a blessing with the glove and crucifix of the humble friar.
In the afternoon we will follow in the footsteps of the humble friar during his time in San Giovanni Rotondo. Despite experiencing great suffering in his own life, through his ministries and great work which saw the realisation of the hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo, he helped relieve the sick and troubled from their own individual sufferings. After visiting the capuchin friary and seeing the cell occupied by the capuchin friar, we will visit the Church of St. Pio of Pietrelcina and have time for private prayer before the mortal remains of this great saint of our time. This evening we will have the opportunity to participate in the Marian Torchlight procession as we honour the Madonna, for whom St. Pio had a great devotion.
Day 3 – Sunday, 22nd September
This morning we will celebrate Mass at the hospital, ‘Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza’ and afterwards have a tour of the hospital which is considered Padre Pio’s greatest creation. We will walk the Way of the Cross, which allow us, as Christians, to pause and enter reflectively into those last moments of Jesus’s journey of love. This afternoon we will have the opportunity for the sacrament of reconciliation and some time for private prayer as we prepare for the vigil which will take place this evening as we join together to remember and celebrate the life of this great saint. After the celebration of the Eucharist our vigil ceremony will end at 2.30 am, the very hour of the passing to eternal life of the humble capuchin friar.
Day 4 – Monday, 23rd September Feast Day of St. Pio of Pietrelcina
This morning we will travel the short distance to the town of Monte Sant’Angelo and celebrate Mass at the Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel, for whom St. Pio had a great devotion. As we make our way back to San Giovanni Rotondo we will visit St. Matthew’s monastery where we will have the blessing with the relic of St. Matthew and Holy Oils.
In the afternoon we will return to the crypt of St. Pio and have time for private prayer and reflection. After dinner we will join with the capuchin community, fellow pilgrims and the local people of San Giovanni Rotondo as we walk together in procession through the town celebrating and giving thanks for the gift of such a wonderful saint.
Day 5 – Tuesday, 24th September
This morning we will depart San Giovanni Rotondo and make our way to Naples airport as we return to our homes, filled with a sense of tranquillity, rejuvenation and peace in our hearts.
*It is our intention to follow the itinerary as outlined above, however due to many factors like local holidays, traffic or weather conditions it may be necessary to make changes to the order of events or even the cancelation of certain events.