DAY 1 - Arrive Italy
This afternoon we will depart from Cork 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. After checking into our hotel, we will have time to relax before dinner.
DAY 2 - Sanctuary of St. Gerard Majella & Abbey of Montevergine
After breakfast we will drive to the Abbey of Montevergine. For almost nine centuries, the abbey of Montevergine has been one of the most venerated Marian shrines of Campania. The beautiful sacred site imparts silence and a sense of peace with its stunning views and interesting history. After a tour of the sanctuary, we will have time at leisure for lunch.
In the afternoon we will drive to the Sanctuary of St. Gerard Majella. We will have a tour of the sanctuary visiting the ‘Room of the bows’ surrounded by a collection of photos of young babies, evidence of St. Gerard Majella’s powerful intercession: overcoming infertility, receiving the gift of motherhood, getting through a difficult pregnancy, a safe delivery, a healthy baby, to name but a few. We will have time for private prayer in this special sanctuary before returning to our hotel for dinner.
DAY 3 - Pietrelcina, Piana Romana & Church of Sant' Anna, Foggia
Our morning will begin with wonderful views of the picturesque countryside as we drive to the town of Pietrelcina, birthplace of Padre Pio.
During our guided tour of the town, we will begin to learn of the early years of Francesco Forgione (the future Padre Pio) as we visit the home of the Forgione family where baby Francesco was born and the Church of Sant ‘Anna where he was baptised. In 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.
During the drive to our next stop of Foggia, the diversity of this picturesque country will become evident with the breath-taking and contrasting landscapes. We will stop at the convent of Sant’Anna and visit the cell once occupied by Padre Pio.
Continuing in the footsteps of Padre Pio, will take us to our destination of San Giovanni Rotondo, home to the capuchin friar for over fifty years. We will check into our hotel, located just five minutes from the sanctuary and afterwards have dinner.
DAY 4 - English Office, 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 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.
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 - Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel & Way of the Cross
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.
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 or to return to the crypt of St. Pio.
DAY 6 - St. Matthew's Monastery
This morning we will celebrate Mass in St. Matthew’s monastery. Located along the “Pilgrims Path”, the monastery is a place rich in history, art, culture and above all, faith, and spirituality.? After Mass we will receive a blessing with the relic of St. Matthew and Holy Oil.
Before returning to San Giovanni Rotondo, we will visit Masseria Calderoso. Located in the picturesque countryside, surrounded by century old olive trees, the farm was donated to Padre Pio during the 1950’s and now provides the hospital with some wonderful fresh produce.
We will have the afternoon at leisure with time for private prayer.
DAY 7 - Monastery of the Resurrection
This morning we will celebrate Mass in the Monastery of the Resurrection of the Capuchin Poor Clare Sisters in San Giovanni Rotondo. Overlooking the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Grace, the monastery is a true place of prayer.
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. After Mass we will learn of the history behind what is regarded as Padre Pio’s greatest miracle.
We will enjoy time at leisure this afternoon with the opportunity for private sightseeing.
DAY 8 - Return home
This morning we will check out of our hotel and drive to Naples airport for our return flight to Cork, 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.