This morning we will depart from Dublin to Naples. In the arrivals hall we will be greeted by our Marian Pilgrimages guide and driver who will remain with us for the duration of our pilgrimage. As we drive to our hotel in Avellino, our guide will give us an insight into the local customs of this wonderful country and talk us through our plans for the days ahead. Arriving at our hotel in Avellino, we will check into our rooms and have lunch.
In the afternoon we will drive to the Shrine of St. Philomena, the Greek Princess and Virgin Martyr who died at just 13 years of age. After celebrating the opening Mass of our pilgrimage, we will enjoy a tour of the museum which reveals details of the series of events which led to the untimely death of the young Philomena and of the many miracles that have occurred since the translation of her remains to this beautiful sanctuary. After a blessing with the relic of St. Philomena we will have time for private prayer before returning to our hotel for evening meal.
Our morning will begin with wonderful views of the picturesque countryside as we drive to the town of Pietrelcina, birthplace of St. Pio.
We will Mass and afterwards begin to learn of the early years of Francesco Forgione (the future Padre Pio) with a guided tour of the town, visiting the home of the Forgione family where baby Francesco was born and the Church of Sant ‘Anna where he was baptised. In nearby Piana Romana we will see the farmhouse of the family and have time for prayer before the tree beneath which Padre Pio received the first signs of the stigmata. As we continue our drive towards San Giovanni Rotondo, the diversity of this stunning country will become evident by its breath-taking and contrasting landscapes.
Arriving at our hotel, located just a five-minute walk from the sanctuary, we will check into our rooms and come together for evening meal.
This morning we will celebrate Mass in the ancient Church of Our Lady of Grace where Padre Pio 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 capuchin friar.
After lunch, we will walk in the footsteps of Padre Pio during his time in San Giovanni Rotondo. Visiting the capuchin friary will allow us to learn more about the “poor friar who prays” as he often described himself. Here we will have the opportunity to see the cell once occupied by the humble friar and the crucifix before which he received 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. An important part in the story of Padre Pio, we will learn of the history behind what is regarded as Padre Pio’s greatest miracle.
Our day will conclude 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.
After breakfast we will drive to the town of Monte Sant’Angelo, home to the Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel. In the sacred cave we will celebrate Mass and afterwards have time to stroll through the cobbled streets of this unique town with its quaint white-washed houses. Before returning to San Giovanni Rotondo for lunch, we will visit the nearby St. Matthew’s monastery where we will receive a blessing with the relic of St. Matthew and Holy Oil.
Walking the Way of the Cross in the afternoon will 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 for confessions and to return to the crypt of St. Pio.
This morning we will depart San Giovanni Rotondo and enjoy fine views of the Adriatic Coast as we drive to the town of Lanciano. We will celebrate Mass in the Church of San Francesco and venerate the relics of the first Eucharistic Miracle in the history of the Catholic Church which dates back to the 8th century.
Our afternoon drive will take us through the “Green Heart of Italy”, to the medieval town of Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis and St. Clare. Upon arriving at our hotel and checking into our rooms there will be some time to unpack and relax before evening meal.
After morning Mass in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, we will visit the Chapel of the Porziuncola, where Francis understood his true calling and received Claire into the order - a fitting place from which to begin our pilgrimage in Assisi. We will have time for prayer and afterwards see the Chapel of the Transito where St. Francis died and the famous Rose Garden.
The story of St. Francis is an impressive story that has touched the hearts of many through the centuries and continues to do so. No more is this evident than in the recently beatified Carlo Acutis. Just like Francis, Carlo liked nothing more than to help the poor and less fortunate than himself. Such was Carlo’s love for St. Francis and the town of Assisi that he requested to be buried in the birthplace of the great saint.
After free time for lunch, we will visit the Sanctuary of Spoliation and will have time for prayer before the remains of Blessed Carlo Acutis. During our walking tour of the medieval town of Assisi we will learn how the young Francis and Clare gave up their lavish lifestyles in favour of a life of prayer. We will visit both the basilicas dedicated to the great saints and have time for private prayer and sightseeing.
This morning we will celebrate the final mass of our pilgrimage at the Church of San Damiano. Located in a beautiful setting just outside the walls of Assisi, the church and convent is the place where Francis received his miraculous calling in 1205 and where Clare died in 1253 – an important stop on a pilgrimage to the Franciscan Holy City. After a tour of the convent, we will have time at leisure for lunch and in the afternoon drive to Rome 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.