DAY 1 – Arrive Italy
This afternoon we will depart from Dublin to Bari. Upon arrival we will be met by our tour escort and transfer to the Hotel Appia Antica Corato where we will stay for three nights on a half board basis.
DAY 2 – Sanctuary of Luisa Piccarreta
This morning we will celebrate the opening Mass of our pilgrimage in the Church of Santa Maria Greca. We will hear of the life of Luisa Piccarreta and afterwards have time for prayer at the tomb of the ‘little Daughter of the Divine Will’.
In the afternoon we will visit the house of Luisa Piccarreta. Luisa was a mystic and victim soul confined to her bed with an illness that no doctor could identify and who lived on the Eucharist and the Divine Will for over 60 years. With the permission of Pope Leo XIII, Mass was celebrated in her bedroom daily. We will see some of the lacework of Luisa and copies of some of her writings, many of which have been published.
DAY 3 – Church of Santa Maria Greca & House of Divine Will
This morning we will celebrate Mass at the Church of Santa Maria Greca and afterwards visit the House of the Divine Will. Inaugurated on the 7th of October in the presence of a good number of faithful, the birth of the house testifies to us the spirituality of the Divine Will. We will visit the “Garden of the Sun” where Luisa was invested and kissed by “Sister Light”, as she wrote in her diary on April 7th, 1929 (volume 26). An afternoon at leisure will allow time for private prayer and reflection in this special place.
DAY 4 – Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel
This morning we will depart Corato and as we drive through the countryside to the town of Monte Sant’Angelo, we will hear of the apparitions of St. Michael the Archangel, dating back to the 4th century. 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. Afterwards we will drive the short distance to the town of San Giovanni Rotondo, home to Padre Pio for over 50 years.
We will check into the Hotel Colonne and after lunch begin to 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.
DAY 5 – Capuchin friary & Church of St. Pio of Pietrelcina
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 we will receive a blessing with the glove and crucifix used by the capuchin friar.
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.
DAY 6 – Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano
This morning we will enjoy a drive along the Adriatic Coast to the town of Lanciano. We will celebrate Mass in the Church of St. Francis and venerate the relics of the first Eucharistic Miracle in the history of the Catholic Church.
After time at leisure for lunch we will drive through the countryside to the “Green Heart of Italy” to the town of Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis and St. Clare. After checking into our hotel, we will have time to relax before dinner.
DAY 7 – Town of Assisi & Tomb of Blessed Carlo Acutis
This morning we will celebrate Mass in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli and have time for prayer in the Chapel of the Porziuncola, birthplace of the Franciscan Order. Afterwards we will 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. As we drive towards the town of Assisi we will hear of the life of the recently beatified Blessed Carlo Acutis. Just like Francis, Carlo liked nothing more than to help the poor and less fortunate than himself. Assisi became for Carlo one of his favourite places of pilgrimage. Today we will visit the Sanctuary of the Renunciation and have time for prayer before the remains of Blessed Carlo Acutis.
In the afternoon we will enjoy a guided 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. Our tour will include visits to the Basilica of St. Francis and Basilica of St. Clare where we will have time for private prayer at the tombs of the great Franciscan saints.
DAY 8 – Convent of San Damiano
Outside the walls of Assisi lies the Convent of San Damiano, where St. Francis received his calling in 1209 and the home to St. Clare and the Order of the Poor Clares. In this tranquil setting we will celebrate morning Mass and enjoy a tour of the church and convent, where Clare lived and died. We will have time at leisure for private shopping and sightseeing in Assisi and in the afternoon drive to Rome for our return flight to Dublin, returning to our homes, filled with a sense of tranquillity, rejuvenation, 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.