This afternoon 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, we will check into our rooms and later attend our “Welcome Dinner”.
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 celebrate the opening Mass of our pilgrimage 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 the afternoon, during our visit to 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 with 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 creation.
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 check out of our hotel and drive to Naples airport for our return flight to Dublin returning to our homes, filled with a sense of tranquillity, 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.