Day 1 – Thursday, 26th September.Our Lady of the Holy Rosary
We will depart in the morning from Dublin to Naples where upon arrival we will meet our tour escort, drive to nearby Pompeii and have lunch in a typical local restaurant.In the afternoon we will celebrate the opening Mass of our pilgrimage in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. Declared a Papal Basilica in 1901 by Pope Leon XIII, the basilica is home to the painting of the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. We will have the opportunity to venerate the painting and afterwards visit the Chapel of Bartolo Longo, founder of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary. This evening we will catch our first glimpse of the breathtaking Italian countryside as we drive to Castelpetrosa where we will stay for the first two nights of our pilgrimage.
Day 2 – Friday, 27th September.‘The little Italian Lourdes’
We will spend today at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sorrows in the majestic town of Castelpetrosa, perched on a hill and surrounded by nature. The Virgin Mary first appeared in March 1888. As two peasant girls were searching for a lost sheep one of them was suddenly distracted by a bright light coming from a nearby cave. In the glowing light, the peasant girl saw the Virgin Mary kneeling before the lifeless body of Jesus with his eyes to the sky and his arms wide open. This first appearance was followed by others and soon many pilgrims began to arrive. An extraordinary event was added to the apparitions when at the foot of the cliff a spring of water emerged, which immediately became miraculous. The sanctuary stands solemn with its seven chapels representing the seven sorrows of the Virgin Mary and is truly a magical place for the events that gave rise to it and for the spiritual feeling it radiates. We will celebrate morning Mass, followed by a tour of the sanctuary and in the afternoon walk the Way of the Cross.
Day 3 – Saturday, 28th September.Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima
This morning we will depart Castelpetrosa and travel to the town of San Vittorino. After the celebration of Mass at the sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima we will experience an authentically Marian spirituality through prayer of the rosary. In the afternoon we will enjoy the wonderful landscapes as we make our way to Rome where we will stay for the following two nights.
Day 4 – Sunday, 29th September.Sanctuary of Divine Love & Basilica of St. Mary Major
This morning we will celebrate Mass at the Sanctuary of Divine Love. According to tradition, in the spring of 1740 a pilgrim on his way to Rome passed near the abandoned castle tower and was attacked by a herd of wild dogs. At the point of being killed, turning to the image of the Blessed Virgin and Jesus on the tower, the man pleaded for help, immediately the vicious dogs withdrew, and the pilgrim was spared. This first miracle was the basis of the building of a shrine to the Virgin Mary and Divine Love at this place. From the year of the dedication of the church, the sanctuary has become a place of pilgrimage which in 1979 Pope John Paul II named it ‘Marian Shrine of Rome’. After lunch we will visit the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. Built under the orders of Pope Liberia’s, according to legend the Virgin appeared before the Pope instructing him to build a church. The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major) is the largest of the 26 churches in Rome dedicated to the Virgin Mary. After recitation of the holy rosary we will have a tour of the basilica. As we return to our hotel, we will enjoy a panoramic tour of Rome as we see the main attractions such as Piazza Venezia, the Roman Forum and world-famous Colosseum.
Day 5 – Monday, 30th September.Holy House of Nazareth, Loreto
After breakfast we will depart Rome and drive to Loreto, home to one of the most important Marian pilgrimage sites in Italy. This afternoon we will celebrate Mass in the Basilica of the Holy House of Nazareth, one of the most revered Marian shrines in the world. The large basilica is built around the Holy House which, ancient tradition tells is the same house where the Virgin Mary was born, grew up and received the angelic annunciation. After time at leisure we will check into our hotel where we will stay for the final night of our pilgrimage.
Day 6 – Tuesday, 1st October
After morning Mass, we will have time for private prayer and reflection before departing in the afternoon to Bologna airport for our return flight to Dublin.
*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.