DAY 1 – Arrive Assisi
This afternoon we will depart 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. As we drive to Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis and St. Clare, we will hear of the two great Franciscan saints. We will arrive at the Hotel Domus Pacis where we will stay for the first two nights of our pilgrimage.
DAY 2 – Tour of Assisi & Tomb of Blessed Carlo Acutis
The Chapel of the Porziuncola, where Francis understood his true calling and received Claire into the order, is a fitting place from which to begin our pilgrimage in Assisi. This morning we will celebrate the opening Mass of our pilgrimage in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli and afterwards have time for prayer in the Chapel of the Porziuncola, the birthplace of the Franciscan Order.
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. We will enjoy a tour of the church and convent, where Clare lived and died will spend time in this tranquil setting.
Our afternoon walking tour of Assisi will begin at the Basilica of St. Clare where we will venerate the original cross of San Damiano. We will visit the nearby Sanctuary of the Renunciation and have time for prayer before the tomb of the recently beatified, Blessed Carlo Acutis. As we walk through the town, we will learn how the young Francis and Clare gave up their lavish lifestyles in favour of a life of prayer. Our tour will conclude at the Basilica of St. Francis with time for private prayer at the tomb of the founder of the Franciscan Order. The remainder of the afternoon will be at leisure for personal sightseeing.
DAY 3 - Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano
Today we will be dazzled by the scenery as we depart Assisi in the “Green Heart of Italy” and drive along the Adriatic Coast to the town of Lanciano. We will celebrate Mass in the Church of San Francesco and venerate the relics of the first Eucharistic Miracle in the history of the Catholic Church which dates back to the 8th century.
Driving towards San Giovanni Rotondo we will begin to learn of the early years of Padre Pio and how he fulfilled his dream to follow St. Francis and join the Capuchin Franciscan Order. As we arrive at our hotel, located just a five-minute walk from the sanctuary, we will check into our rooms and have evening meal.
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. 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 - Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel & St. Matthew's Monastery
Today we will follow the path taken by pilgrims through the centuries. St. Francis of Assisi, St. Pio of Pietrelcina and Blessed Carlo Acutis are amongst many pilgrims who have visited the Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel to pray in the sacred cave. As we drive to the town of Monte Sant’Angelo we will hear of the apparitions of the Archangel Michael before we celebrate Mass later have time for private prayer. Afterwards we will enjoy a stroll through this unique town with its cobbled streets and quaint, white-washed houses.
Before returning to San Giovanni Rotondo for lunch, we will visit the nearby St. Matthew’s monastery and receive a blessing with the relic of St. Matthew and Holy Oil. An afternoon at leisure in San Giovanni Rotondo will allow time for private prayer.
DAY 6 - Monastery of the Resurrection
This morning we will celebrate Mass at the monastery of the Resurrection and afterwards, as we walk the Way of the Cross, we will pause and enter reflectively into those last moments of Jesus’s journey of love. We will have the afternoon at leisure to return to the crypt of St. Pio for private prayer.
DAY 7 - Pietrelcina & Piana Romana
This morning we will depart San Giovanni Rotondo and drive to the town of Pietrelcina, birthplace of St. Pio. We will 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 nearby Piana Romana, we will celebrate Mass and afterwards have time for prayer before the tree beneath which Padre Pio received the first signs of the stigmata.
In the afternoon we will continue our drive to the town of Pompeii. Although associated primarily with the eruption of Vesuvius and the famous ruins that remain, Pompeii has become an important place of pilgrimage, with the Basilica of the Virgin of the Holy Rosary a destination for millions of pilgrims each year. We will visit the Papal Basilica and afterwards hear of the life of Blessed Bartolo Longo, founder of the sanctuary. The remainder of the afternoon will be at leisure for private sightseeing.
DAY 8 – Basilica of the Virgin of the Holy Rosary, Pompeii
After breakfast we will check out of our hotel and celebrate the closing Mass of our pilgrimage in the Basilica of the Virgin of the Holy Rosary of Pompeii. Afterwards we will drive to Naples airport 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.