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 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 time to relax and unpack.
This afternoon we will celebrate Mass at the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli and later 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 visit to Assisi. We will have time for prayer and afterwards see the Chapel of the Transito where St. Francis died and the famous Rose Garden.
This morning we will celebrate Mass in the Basilica of St. Francis and afterwards have time for prayer at the tomb of the great saint. As we walk through the medieval town, we will learn more about Francis and Clare and how they gave up their lavish lifestyles in favour of a life of prayer. Our morning will conclude at the Basilica of St. Clare with time for private prayer and the opportunity to venerate the miraculous San Damiano cross.
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. 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. The remainder of the afternoon will have at leisure for shopping and private 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 for lunch and afterwards 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.