Wednesday, 14th October
This afternoon we will depart from Dublin to Naples with Ryanair. Upon arrival in Naples we will meet our guide and drive to the four-star Bel Sito Hotel le Due Torri in Avellino where we will spend the first night of our pilgrimage.
Thursday, 15th October
This morning we will catch our first glimpse of the picturesque countryside as we drive to the hilltop town of Pietrelcina, birthplace of St. Pio.
We will celebrate the opening Mass of our pilgrimage in the Church of the Holy Family and afterwards visit the museum that has still preserved items associated with the years St. Pio spent as a child and a newly ordained priest in his native Pietrelcina. We will have a walking tour of the town, learning of the early years of Francesco Forgione and how he overcame many difficulties in order to fulfil his dream of becoming “a monk with a beard.” Our tour will include a visit to the Forgione family home where baby Francesco was born and the Church of Sant ‘Anna where he was baptised.
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. After time for private prayer, we will enjoy the beauty of the contrasting landscapes as we drive to the town of Foggia.
We will visit the capuchin Church of Sant ‘Anna and later see the cell occupied by Padre Pio during his period based in the monastery in Foggia. Afterwards we will continue onto our destination of San Giovanni Rotondo, home to Padre Pio for over fifty years.
Friday, 16th 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 of Our Lady of Grace where he spent many hours each day hearing confessions and afterwards in the English Office will receive a blessing with the glove and crucifix used by the humble friar.
In the afternoon we will continue in the footsteps of Padre Pio with a guided tour of the friary where we will visit the cell where Padre Pio lived and died and have time for prayer before the crucifix of the stigmata. Our day will culminate with a visit to the Church of St. Pio of Pietrelcina where we will have time for private prayer before the mortal remains of the great saint of our time.
Saturday, 17th October
After breakfast 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 San Giovanni Rotondo and have the afternoon at leisure for personal sightseeing and private prayer.
This evening we will participate in the Marian Torchlight procession as we honour the Madonna, for whom Padre Pio had a great devotion.
Sunday, 18th October
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 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.
Monday, 19th October
After breakfast we will check out of our hotel and travel to Materdomini, located in the mountains and home to the Shrine of St. Gerard Majella, patron saint of mothers and children. We will celebrate Mass and enjoy a tour of the sanctuary.
After free time for lunch we will enjoy views of the picturesque countryside as we drive to the Shrine of St. Philomena. St. Philomena was a Greek princess and virgin martyr who died at the age of 13 years. After her remains were discovered at the catacombs of St. Priscilla in Rome and three years later transferred to the Church of Our Lady of Grace, the town of Mugnano del Cardinale was transformed to a place of pilgrimage which attracts devotees from the world over who come to pray at the altar of St. Philomena. After our blessing with the relic of St. Philomena and time for private prayer, we will drive to our hotel in Avellino where we will spend the final night of our pilgrimage.
Tuesday, 20th October
This morning 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.