We will depart in the morning from Dublin to Rome. 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.
Visiting the places of worship over the coming days will allow us to learn about the history of the Catholic church. Our first stop will be the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, built by Constantine I over the burial place of St. Paul. After a tour of this impressive basilica, we will have time for private prayer.
In the afternoon we will celebrate Mass in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the “Mother Church of all churches” and seat of the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis. Next to the basilica are the “Holy Stairs” - the steps which led up to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem on which Jesus Christ climbed on his way to trial during his Passion. The Stairs were brought to Rome by Saint Helena in the fourth century and for centuries have attracted pilgrims who wish to honour the Passion of Jesus Christ. In this historic spot there will be the opportunity to climb the steps in the traditional manner.
As we drive to our hotel, we will have our first opportunity to see some of the ancient monuments, evidence that Rome has a history and an appeal like no other city in the world. We will check into our hotel and have the evening at leisure.
This morning we will enjoy a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the holiest temples of Christendom, where we will see impressive works of art such as Bernini’s baldachin, Michelangelo’s famous Pietŕ statue and the statue of St. Peter on his throne. We will have time for prayer before the tombs of St. Pope John Paul II and St. Pope John XXIII and afterwards will soak up the atmosphere of the surroundings with free time for lunch near St. Peter’s Square.
In the afternoon we will drive to St. Isidore’s College. Founded in 1625 by Irish Franciscan Luke Wadding. St Isidore’s not only became an important location for the training of young Irish Franciscans, but also the leading European centre for Scholastic studies. After the celebration of Mass, a guided tour of the church will reveal to us its history and the life of the famous Luke Wadding.
We will walk to the nearby Spanish Steps and after free time for lunch will have the afternoon at leisure for shopping and personal sightseeing.
A guided walking tour this morning will take us to some of the famous tourist sites that Rome has to offer. Beginning in the elegant Piazza Navona, we will walk through the quaint cobbled narrow streets that will lead us to the famous Pantheon and Trevi Fountain. After time at leisure for lunch and before we leave, we will be sure to throw a coin in the fountain, ensuring our return to the Eternal City!
In the afternoon we will visit one of the most beautiful corners of Rome, the slopes of the Janiculum Hill which boasts a wonderful panorama of ancient Rome. We will celebrate Mass at the Church of San Pietro in Montorio which has a special connection with one of the most important chapters in the history of Ireland, the Fight of the Earls in 1607 when Earl Hugh O'Neill of Tyrone (1540-1616), Rory O'Donnell of Tyrconnell and their ninety followers went into exile from Ulster in Ireland and eventually ended up in Rome. Today we will see the tombstones that commemorate Rory O’Donnell and his brother Caffar, who died in 1608 and that of Hugh O’Neill.
This morning after breakfast we will bid “Arrivederci” to Rome and drive to the airport for our return flight, filled with a sense of joy at our discoveries 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.