We will depart in the afternoon from Dublin to Rome. Upon arrival we will be met by our tour escort and transfer to our hotel, ‘Casa Tra Noi’, where we will stay for two nights on a bed and breakfast basis.
This morning we will celebrate the opening Mass of our pilgrimage in the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, owing its existence to the Dominican friars, and afterwards venerate the remains of St. Catherine of Siena whose body is buried under the altar. We will visit the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the oldest church in the western world and cathedral of Rome - the official seat of the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis. After free time for lunch we will visit the 16th century Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia, now the Italian shrine of devotion to Divine Mercy, where we will recite the Divine Mercy Chaplet. We will have time for private prayer at the side chapel before the image of the Merciful Jesus and statue of St. Sister Faustina Kowalska with her reliquary donated by the Holy Father John Paul II after her canonization. We will end the first day of our pilgrimage with a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica where we will see Michelangelo’s delicate Pietá statue, the canopy altar where the Pope celebrates Mass and the crypt of the Popes.
This morning we will depart Rome and travel to Montecassino where we will celebrate Mass in the famous abbey, home to the sacred relics of St. Benedict, the patron saint of Europe and founder of western monasticism. After free time for lunch we will enjoy the wonderful views of the picturesque Italian countryside as we make our way to our destination of San Giovanni Rotondo where we will stay for the following four nights in the Hotel Colonne on a full board basis.
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 morning we will travel to the Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel and celebrate Mass at the sacred cave. After time at leisure in Monte Sant’Angelo and as we return to San Giovanni Rotondo we will visit the cemetery where the parents of Padre Pio, Mary Pyle, Fr. Alessio, Fr. Joseph and Fr. Ermelindo are buried. In the afternoon we will visit St. Matthew’s monastery where we will receive a blessing with the relic of St. Matthew and the holy oil. This evening we will participate in the Torchlight procession as we honour the Madonna, for whom St. Pio had a great devotion.
This morning we will celebrate Mass at the hospital, ‘Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza’ 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. We will have this afternoon at leisure for private prayer and reflection.
We will depart San Giovanni Rotondo this morning and drive to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Incoronata where according to tradition Our Lady appeared in April 1001. Here we will have time for prayer and later receive a blessing with the holy oil. We will continue on to Piana Romana where we will celebrate Mass and later visit the farmhouse of the Forgione family. After our picnic lunch we will enjoy a walking tour of nearby Pietrelcina, birthplace of St. Pio and afterwards drive onto Pompeii where we will stay for the remaining two nights of our pilgrimage.
We will begin our day with the celebration of Mass in the impressive Basilica of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, for whom St. Pio had a great devotion, and afterwards have time to venerate the miraculous image of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, today an object of deep veneration. We will have the afternoon at leisure with the opportunity to visit the ancient ruins of a town buried under volcanic ash following the famous eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD. (visit to ruins of Pompeii payable locally).
After breakfast we will drive to Naples airport as we return to Ireland, filled with a sense of tranquility, 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.