We will depart in the morning from Dublin to Naples with Aer lingus. Upon arrival we will transfer to Pompeii where we will stay for two nights in the four-star Hotel Maiuri.
Today we will have lunch in the hotel and later check into our rooms. We will celebrate the opening Mass of our pilgrimage in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary and afterwards enjoy a tour of the basilica, learning more of its history and the Blessed Bartolo Longo.
This morning we will travel to the town of Pagani, home to the sanctuary of St. Alphonsus Liguori. The founder of the congregation of Missionaries, today known as the Redemptorists, St. Alphonsus Liguori died at Pagani in 1787. After the celebration of Mass we will have time to venerate the relics of the saint and later visit the museum, inaugurated by Pope John Paul II in 1990, where we will see some of the wide artistic, cultural and religious heritage related to Saint Alphonsus Liguori.
We will return to Pompeii and have the option to visit the ancient ruins of Pompeii (payable locally) or to simply enjoy some time at leisure.
This morning we will depart Pompeii and enjoy our first glimpse of the picturesque Italian countryside as we drive to the town of Pietrelcina, birthplace of Padre Pio. We will celebrate Mass in the Church of the Holy Family and afterwards enjoy a walking tour of the town, learning how the young Francesco Forgione, despite many obstacles, succeeded in fulfilling his dream of becoming a “monk with a beard”.
After free time for lunch we will drive to nearby Piana Romana and after visiting the farmhouse of the Forgione family will have time for prayer before the tree beneath which Padre Pio received the first signs of the stigmata. Afterwards we will continue our drive to our destination of San Giovanni Rotondo, home to Padre Pio for over fifty years.
This morning we will celebrate Mass in the old Church of Our Lady of Grace where Padre Pio celebrated Mass, heard confessions and received the gift of the stigmata. Afterwards in the English Office we will meet with one of the capuchin friars and receive a blessing with the glove and crucifix used by St. Pio.
In the afternoon we will follow in the footsteps of the humble friar during his time in San Giovanni Rotondo with a guided tour of the capuchin friary. We will see the cell where Padre Pio lived and died and the choir loft of the old Church of Our Lady of Grace where Padre Pio received the gift of the stigmata. Our day 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.
This morning 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 surrounding town of Monte Sant’Angelo with its white-washed houses and quaint cobbled streets.
After lunch we will drive to St. Matthew’s monastery in the nearby town of San Marco in Lamis and after a tour of the monastery we will have a blessing with the relic of St. Matthew and holy oils.
This evening, after dinner, 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.
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 “Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza” and afterwards enjoy a tour of the hospital where we will hear more of the history behind this wonderful creation.
In the afternoon 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.
After morning Mass, we will experience the unique and magical atmosphere of the town of San Giovanni Rotondo, with a stroll through the historical centre with its century-old churches, narrow cobbled streets and beautiful gardens. We will have time at leisure before returning to our hotel for lunch.
In the afternoon we will visit the house of Mary Pyle, the wonderful lady gave up her wealthy lifestyle and came to San Giovanni Rotondo where she opened her door to the many pilgrims and cared for both Padre Pio’s parents in their final days. We will have the remainder of the afternoon free with opportunity to return to the crypt of St. Pio for private prayer.
After breakfast we will check out of our hotel and drive to Naples airport for our return flight to Dublin as we return to our homes, filled with a sense of peace, tranquillity and joy 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.