DAY 1 – Friday, 9th October
We will depart from Dublin to Lourdes with Ryanair. Following our arrival at Tarbes airport we will meet our guide and drive to the town of Lourdes. We will check-in to the Hotel Ibis where we will stay for two nights on a full board basis.
This afternoon we will celebrate the opening Mass of our pilgrimage. Over the coming days all our intentions, the intentions we carry from friends and family will be offered up at each Mass. After dinner this evening we will take a short walk down to the sanctuary to observe the candlelight procession and to pray the Rosary.
DAY 2 – Saturday, 10th October
This morning after Mass we will make our way to the sanctuary area where we will have a detailed orientation tour and visit the baths.
After lunch we will have a walking tour, following in the footsteps of St Bernadette. We begin at the cemetery where her parents are buried and walk back in time to visit the Boly Mill, the birthplace of St. Bernadette and the “Cachot” an abandoned prison where she and her impoverish family lived. During our afternoon we will get the sense of how the apparitions had such an impact on the family and this small village of Lourdes. After dinner we will participate in the Candlelight procession where all nations from the world unite in prayer.
DAY 3 – Sunday, 11th October
We will celebrate morning Mass and the opportunity to return to the sanctuary with free time for private prayer.
After light lunch we will enjoy a scenic drive as we travel to Toulouse airport for our flight to Naples. Upon arrival in Naples we will meet our guide and get our first glimpse of the picturesque Italian countryside as we transfer to Benevento. We will check into the four-star Grand Hotel Italiano and have our evening meal.
DAY 4 – Monday, 12th October
After breakfast we will celebrate Mass in the Duomo in Benevento where Padre Pio realised his childhood dream when he was ordained on the 10th of August 1910. We will drive to his native town of Pietrelcina and begin to learn of the early years of Francesco Forgione, how he overcame many obstacles and fulfilled 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.
After free time for lunch 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 and after time for private prayer, we will drive to San Giovanni Rotondo, enjoying the magical landscape of Puglia with its century-old olive trees. We will check into the four-star San Giovanni Rotondo Palace Hotel and after dinner, have the evening at leisure.
DAY 5 – Tuesday, 13th October
This morning we will begin to learn of the life of Padre Pio during his years in San Giovanni Rotondo. We will celebrate Mass in the ancient church where he spent many hours each day hearing the confessions of the faithful and during our visit to the English Office, we will receive a blessing with the glove and crucifix used by the humble friar.
In the afternoon we will continue in the footsteps of the saint, visiting the friary where he lived and died and in the choir loft of the Church of Our Lady of Grace, we will have the opportunity to venerate the crucifix of the stigmata.
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. We will have an afternoon tour of the hospital and learn of the history behind this wonderful creation. Our day will culminate with a visit to the Church of St. Pio of Pietrelcina and crypt where we will have time for private prayer before the mortal remains of this great saint of our time.
DAY 6 – Wednesday, 14th October
After breakfast we will drive to the town of Monte Sant’Angelo, home to the Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel. We will celebrate Mass in the sacred cave – a true place of pardon and prayer and afterwards have time to wander the cobbled streets of the unique town with its quaint white-washed houses. As we return to San Giovanni Rotondo we will visit the cemetery where the remains of Padre Pio’s parents and Mary Pyle rest.
After lunch 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 the remainder of the afternoon at leisure.
DAY 7 – Thursday, 15th October
This morning we will depart San Giovanni Rotondo and will enjoy the contrasting landscapes of the Italian countryside as we drive towards Naples.
We will celebrate the closing Mass of our pilgrimage at the Shrine of St. Philomena - the young Greek princess who was martyred at just 13 years of age. We will learn of the brief life of Philomena, her martyrdom and the many miracles that have been reported through her intercession. After a blessing with the relic of St. Philomena and time for prayer we will continue our drive to Naples airport as we return to our homes filled 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.