This morning we will depart from Dublin to Naples with Aer lingus. Upon arrival we will meet our guide and enjoy our first glimpse of the Italian countryside as we drive to the town of Benevento,
After lunch we will visit the town of Pietrelcina, birthplace of St. Pio, where we will celebrate the opening Mass of our pilgrimage in the Church of the Holy Family.
Afterwards we will have a walking tour of the quaint town, learning more of the early years of Francesco Forgione and how he overcame many obstacles in order to fulfil his dream of becoming “a monk with a beard.” We will visit the Forgione family home where baby Francesco was born and the Church of Sant ‘Anna where he was baptised. The first day of our pilgrimage will end in nearby Piana Romana where we will see the farmhouse of the Forgione family and in the Chapel of St. Francis have time for prayer before the tree beneath which Padre Pio received the first signs of the stigmata.
This morning we will continue in the footsteps of Padre Pio with a visit to the capuchin friary in nearby Morcone, where Padre Pio entered in January 1903 to begin his novitiate. After the celebration of Mass, we will enjoy a tour of the friary, visiting the cell once occupied by the young friar.
In the afternoon we will visit and have a tour of the cathedral in Benevento where Padre Pio fulfilled his dream on the 10th of August 1910 when he was ordained a priest by Monsignor Paolo Schinosi.
After breakfast we will check out of our hotel and enjoy the contrasting landscapes as we drive to the town of Foggia where we will celebrate Mass in the Church of Sant ’Anna. Afterwards we will see the cell occupied by Padre Pio during his brief period spent in Foggia as he attempted to return to monastery life. We will drive the short distance to our destination of San Giovanni Rotondo, home to St. Pio for over fifty years.
After lunch we will meet one of the capuchin friars during our visit to the English Office and after a cup of “Irish tea” will receive a blessing with the glove and crucifix used by the humble friar.
DAY 4 - DAY 6
Over the coming days we will learn of the life of Padre Pio during his time in San Giovanni Rotondo. With visits to the following places we will learn about Padre Pio, the humble friar who became the first priest in the history of the catholic church to receive the wounds of Christ.
Ancient Church of Our Lady of Grace
The heart of the sanctuary, in this ancient church Padre Pio celebrated Mass, heard confessions and received the gift of the stigmata.
Here we will see the cell where Padre Pio lived and died and the window from which he blessed the faithful.
“Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza”
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. During our tour of the hospital we will hear more of the history behind this wonderful creation.
House of Mary Pyle
The story of Padre Pio would not be complete without mention of this great lady. “L’Americana” as she was known gave up her wealthy lifestyle to come to San Giovanni Rotondo. She opened her home to the many pilgrims who travelled from near and far and cared for both parents of Padre Pio.
Church of St. Pio of Pietrelcina
The culmination of any pilgrimage to San Giovanni Rotondo is a visit to the Church of St. Pio of Pietrelcina where we will admire the wonderful mosaics depicting the lives of St. Pio and St. Francis of Assisi before arriving at the crypt where we will venerate the remains of the great saint of our time.
Marian Torchlight Procession
We will have the opportunity to participate in the Marian Torchlight Procession as we honour the Madonna, for whom Padre Pio had a great devotion
During our stay in San Giovanni Rotondo we will have the opportunity to visit some wonderful nearby shrines:
Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel
The oldest shrine in Western Europe dedicated to the Archangel Michael, we will celebrate Mass in the sacred cave and afterwards enjoy a stroll through the quaint town with its unique white-washed houses.
St. Matthew’s monastery
In the ancient monastery in the nearby town of San Marco in Lamis we will have the opportunity to receive a blessing with the relic of St. Matthew and holy oil.
This morning we will leave San Giovanni Rotondo and drive to the Pompeii. After free time for lunch we will celebrate Mass in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. Afterwards we will venerate the painting of our Lady of the Holy Rosary, for whom Padre Pio had a great devotion.
We will have time at leisure this afternoon to explore this ancient town with the opportunity to visit the excavations, the remains of the ancient city that was destroyed during an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD.
This morning we will check out of our hotel and drive the short distance to Naples airport for our flight to Dublin, as we return to our homes filled with a sense of 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.