Sunday, 20th September
This morning we will depart from Dublin to Naples. Upon arrival in Naples we will meet our guide and drive to the Bel Sito le Due Torri where we will spend the first night of our pilgrimage.
We will check into our hotel and after lunch enjoy a scenic drive to the town of Pietrelcina, birthplace of St. Pio.
We will celebrate Mass in the Church of the Holy Family and afterwards will learn of the early years of Francesco Forgione and the difficulties he overcame to fulfil his dream of becoming “a monk with a beard.” We will visit the Forgione family home, the Church of Sant’Anna where baby Francesco was baptised and the parish church where the newly ordained Padre Pio celebrated his first Mass.
We will drive to nearby Piana Romana where we will see the farmhouse of the Forgione family. We will visit the Chapel of St. Francis and see the tree beneath which Padre Pio received the first signs of the stigmata. After time for private prayer, we will return to our hotel for evening meal.
Monday, 21st September
This morning we will depart Avellino and enjoy the contrasting landscapes as we travel through the countryside to the town of Foggia. We will celebrate Mass in the capuchin Church of Sant’Anna and later visit the cell occupied by Padre Pio during his period based in the monastery in Foggia. Afterwards we will drive the short distance to San Giovanni Rotondo, home to Padre Pio for over fifty years.
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. We will visit the English Office where we will meet with one of the capuchin friars and hear more of the life of St. Pio and receive a blessing with the glove and crucifix used by the humble friar.
We will have a guided tour of the capuchin friary where Padre Pio lived and see the cell where he died on the 23rd of September 1968. Our tour will end in the choir loft of the old Church of Our Lady of Grace where we will have time for prayer before the crucifix of the stigmata.
Tuesday, 22nd September
This morning we will enjoy a guided tour of the sanctuary. We will visit the sanctuary of Our Lady of Grace where we will see the confessional used each day by Padre Pio – the Apostle of the Confessional, the altar where he celebrated his final Mass and the tomb where his remains rested for over forty years.
Our morning will end with a visit to the Church of St. Pio of Pietrelcina where we will have time for prayer before the mortal remains of the great saint of our time.
After lunch we will travel to the Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel and celebrate Mass in the sacred cave. Afterwards we will have time at leisure to explore the town of Monte Sant’Angelo with its white-washed houses and quaint cobbled streets.
We will return to our hotel and prepare for the vigil which will take place this evening as the faithful join together to remember and celebrate the life of St. Pio of Pietrelcina. After the celebration of the Eucharist the vigil ceremony will end at 2.30 am, the very hour of the passing to eternal life of the humble capuchin friar.
Wednesday, 23rd September
In 1956 Padre Pio presented to the world his greatest gift, “Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza” which today is now one of the most important hospitals in Europe. This morning we will celebrate Mass in the hospital and afterwards enjoy a tour, learning more of the history behind this wonderful 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 or to 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.
Thursday, 24th September
After breakfast we will check out of our hotel and drive to Naples airport for our return flight to Dublin, filled with a sense of gratitude, joy 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.