DAY 1 - Arrive San Giovanni Rotondo
This afternoon we will depart from Dublin to Bari. 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. Driving towards San Giovanni Rotondo we will begin to learn about Padre Pio, from his early years in Pietrelcina to his arrival in San Giovanni Rotondo. We will check into our hotel, located just a five-minute walk from the sanctuary, and have our evening meal.
DAY 2 – 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 celebrated Mass and heard confessions. Afterwards in the English Office we will receive a blessing with a glove and crucifix used by Padre Pio.
In the afternoon we will continue 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 remains of the great saint of our time.
DAY 3 - St. Matthews Monastery & Way of the Cross
Located on the pilgrims’ path, St. Matthew’s monastery has been a stopping point for pilgrims over the centuries on their way to the Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel. This morning we will celebrate Mass at the ancient monastery and afterwards receive a blessing with the relic of St. Matthew the Apostle. Before returning to San Giovanni Rotondo we will call into the cemetery, the resting place of the parents of Padre Pio and our dear friends, Fr. Alessio, Fr. Joseph Pius and Fr. Ermelindo. We will have time for private prayer before returning to our hotel for lunch.
As we walk the Way of the Cross in the afternoon, we will pause and enter reflectively into those last moments of Jesus’s journey of love.
DAY 4 - Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel & Seaside town of Manfredonia
During our morning drive to the Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel, we will hear of the history behind the oldest shrine in Western Europe dedicated to the Archangel Michael and the various apparitions that took place. On arrival we will celebrate Mass in the sacred cave and afterwards enjoy a stroll through this unique town with its cobbled streets and quaint, white-washed houses before returning to San Giovanni Rotondo for lunch.
Once an important port hub of the Roman period, today the town of Manfredonia is a bustling seaside resort where the atmosphere is cheerful and dynamic, typical of a tourist town. In the afternoon we will drive to Manfredonia where we will have time for shopping, to visit the 13th century castle which houses the National Museum of Archaeology or enjoy a walk along the promenade, stopping off to sample a “gelato” in one of the many famous ice-cream parlours.
DAY 5 - Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano
This morning we will drive to the town of Lanciano, site of the First Eucharistic Miracle of the Catholic Church. In the Church of St. Francis, we will celebrate Mass and afterwards have time to venerate the relics of the Eucharistic Miracle that have been carefully preserved. After time at leisure for lunch, we will return to San Giovanni Rotondo and have the remainder of the afternoon at leisure.
DAY 6 - Pietrelcina
This morning we will check out of our hotel in San Giovanni Rotondo and enjoy views of the wonderful landscapes as we drive to Pietrelcina, birthplace of Padre Pio. We will celebrate Mass in the Church of the Holy Family and afterwards visit the museum which has preserved precious items dating back to the time Padre Pio spent in his native town. During our afternoon 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. We will arrive at our hotel in Pompeii where we will stay for the following two nights
DAY 7 - Basilica of the Virgin of the Holy Rosary of Pompeii & Ancient Ruins of Pompeii
This morning we will celebrate Mass in the Basilica of the Virgin of the Holy Rosary and afterwards enjoy a tour of the impressive basilica, as we learn of the life of its founder, Bartolo Longo, and the history behind the arrival of the miraculous painting of the Virgin of the Holy Rosary in Pompeii.
After time at leisure for lunch we will have the opportunity to visit the ancient ruins of the town of Pompeii (entrance fee payable locally). A thriving Roman city some 2,000 years ago, all changed in August of 79 A.D., with the eruption of Mount Vesuvius which destroyed Pompeii. While the explosion destroyed the town of Pompeii, the ash hardened to essentially create a time capsule, preserving many structures and objects. During an afternoon tour of the ruins of Pompeii we will began to understand what life was like in the 1st century
DAY 8 - Return home
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, 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.