This morning we will depart from Dublin to Rome. Awaiting us in the arrival’s hall will be our Marian Pilgrimages guide and driver who will remain with us for the duration of our pilgrimage. We will catch our first glimpse of the picturesque Italian landscape as we drive through the countryside to the town of Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis and St. Clare.
After checking into our hotel there will be time to relax before embarking upon our pilgrimage to Assisi. We will celebrate our opening Mass in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, home to the Chapel of the Porziuncola where Francis realised his true calling and where on Palm Sunday of 1212, he accepted Clare into the Order - a fitting place from which to begin our Franciscan pilgrimage. We will have time for private prayer in this special place and afterwards see the Chapel of the Transito where Francis died and the famous Rose Garden where today grows the miraculous roses without thorns. We will return to our hotel and join together for our evening meal.
This morning we will drive to the town of Assisi and celebrate Mass in the Basilica of St. Clare – the resting place of the Founder of the Order of Poor Clares and home to some important relics that help one understand the decision of Clare relinquish her wealth in favour of a life of poverty. A guided tour of the medieval town of Assisi will reveal to us more of the life of both St. Francis and that of St. Clare. Our morning tour will end at the Basilica of St. Francis where we will have time for prayer at the tomb of the saint and later admire the wonderful frescoes and works of Giotto, Cimabue, and Simone Martini.
The name “Carlo Acutis” became known throughout the world when on the 12th of October 2020, in the presence of his parents and siblings, he was beatified in the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. The young Carlo was always impressed by the story of St. Francis of Assisi and the town of St. Francis was a place with which he had a deep affection. Carlo did great things in his short life and it was no surprise that he requested to be buried in the town of St. Francis. The remains of Carlo were transferred to the Sanctuary of Renunciation where today many pilgrims flock to pray before the remains of the teenager. We will have free time in the afternoon with the opportunity to visit the sanctuary and pray before the remains of Blessed Carlo Acutis.
After morning Mass in Assisi, we will drive to the “Eternal City”. 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 St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the holiest temples of Christendom. During our tour we will see impressive works of art such as Bernini’s baldachin, Michelangelo’s famous Pietà 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 of St. Peter’s Square before checking into our hotel where we will stay for the following two nights.
This morning 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 have time at leisure for lunch. Our guided walking tour in the afternoon will take us to such famous sights as the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain before arriving in the elegant Piazza Navona. After our day of sight-seeing, we will return to our hotel and have the evening at leisure.
As we drive to the Basilica of St. John Lateran this morning, we will have the 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 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.
This afternoon we will drive to 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 before returning to our hotel.
This morning 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.
We will have the afternoon at leisure for shopping and private sightseeing.
This morning after breakfast we will bid “Arrivederci” to Rome and drive to the airport for our return flight, bringing with us wonderful memories which will last a lifetime.
*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.