DAY 1 - Arrive Assisi
This morning 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. We will catch our first glimpse of the picturesque countryside as we drive to the town of Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis and St. Clare.
Upon arriving at our hotel and checking into our rooms there will be some time to unpack and relax. 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. We will celebrate the opening Mass of our pilgrimage and afterwards have time for prayer in the Chapel of the Porziuncola, see the Chapel of the Transito where St. Francis died and the famous Rose Garden.
DAY 2 - Tour of Assisi & Tomb of Blessed Carlo Acutis
The story of St. Francis is an impressive story that has touched the hearts of many through the centuries and continues to do so. No more is this evident than in the recently beatified Carlo Acutis. Just like Francis, Carlo liked nothing more than to help the poor and less fortunate than himself. He had a great love for Jesus and, as Francis travelled on foot to preach the Gospel, Carlo chose the computer as a means of evangelisation. Such was Carlo’s love for St. Francis and the town of Assisi that he requested to be buried in the birthplace of the great saint. This morning we will celebrate Mass at the Sanctuary of the Renunciation and afterwards have time for prayer at the tomb of Blessed Carlo Acutis.
We will enjoy a guided walking tour of the medieval town of Assisi, beginning at the Basilica of St. Clare. As we walk through the town we will hear of the lives of Francis and Clare how they both relinquished lavish lifestyles in favour of a life of prayer. Our guided tour will conclude at the impressive Basilica of St. Francis where we can admire the breath-taking frescoes of Cimabue, Giotto, and Simone Martini before arriving at the crypt of St. Francis where we will have time for prayer before the tomb of the great saint.
The remainder of the afternoon at leisure will give us the opportunity to explore the town or to simply sit back and relax and soak in the atmosphere of such wonderful surroundings.
DAY 3 - Convent of San Damiano & Afternoon trip to Lake Trasimeno
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.
A short drive from Assisi, passing by picturesque corn fields, vineyards, and olive groves, will bring us to Lake Trasimeno. We can enjoy free time for lunch overlooking the lake with its the crystal-clear waters or take a short boat trip to Isola Maggiore where it is believed St. Francis spent the period of Lent in 1211. With such picturesque surroundings, we will have time to admire the beauty of this part of Umbria.
DAY 4 - 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 St. Francis 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 our evening meal.
DAY 5 - 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 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 6 - Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel & St. Matthew's Monastery
Today we will follow the path taken by pilgrims through the centuries. St. John Paul II, St. Pio of Pietrelcina and Blessed Carlo Acutis are amongst many pilgrims who have visited the Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel. As we drive to the town of Monte Sant’Angelo we will hear of the apparitions of the Archangel Michael and on arrival celebrate Mass in the sacred cave.
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.
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.
DAY 7- Historical centre of San Giovanni Rotondo
After morning Mass, we will enjoy a guided tour of the historical centre of San Giovanni Rotondo as we learn of Padre Pio and the wonderful connection with the local people of San Giovanni Rotondo and the many traditions of the town.
In the afternoon we will have time at leisure to return to the crypt of St. Pio for private prayer.
DAY 8 - Return home
After breakfast 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, 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.