DAY 1 Basilica of St. Rita of Cascia – Chapel of the Porziuncola, Assisi
This morning we will depart from Dublin to Rome. Upon arrival we will drive to the town of Cascia, town of St. Rita. After free time for lunch, we will hear about Rita’s years as a daughter, wife, mother, and as an Augustinian nun and afterwards visit to the monastery where she lived for forty years. As we pass through the cloister, we will see the miraculous vine and visit the Oratory of the Crucifix where, tradition says, Rita received the stigmata. We will celebrate Mass in the Basilica of St. Rita and have time for private prayer before the remains of the “Saint of the Impossible” before continuing to Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis and St. Clare.
After checking into our hotel, there will be time to relax before we visit the nearby Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, home to the Chapel of the Porziuncola where Francis realised his true calling and where on Palm Sunday of 1212, he accepted Clare into the Order - a fitting place from which to begin our pilgrimage in Assisi. We will have time for private prayer in this special place and afterwards see the Chapel of the Transito where Francis died, and the famous Rose Garden where today grows the miraculous roses without thorns. We will return to our hotel and have our evening meal.
Day 2 - Assisi
This morning we will celebrate Mass at the Tomb of St. Francis of Assisi and afterwards, we will walk through the medieval town of Assisi and learn more of the life of both St. Francis and that of St. Clare. Our morning will conclude at the Basilica of St. Clare where we will have time for private prayer before the remains of the founder of the Order of the Poor Clares.
The name “Carlo Acutis” became known throughout the world when on the 12th of October 2020, in the presence of his parents and siblings, he was beatified in the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. The young Carlo was always impressed by the story of St. Francis of Assisi and the town of St. Francis was a place with which he had a deep affection, and it was no surprise that he requested to be buried in the town of St. Francis. After lunch, we will visit the Sanctuary of the Renunciation and have time for prayer before the Tomb of Blessed Carlo Acutis. We will have the remainder of the afternoon at leisure for shopping and personal sightseeing.
Day 3 – Visit to the town of Orvieto
After breakfast, we will depart Assisi and travel to the town of Orvieto which sits majestically overlooking the Umbrian plains. After free time for lunch, we will celebrate Mass in the cathedral, the town’s most famous landmark and afterwards see the linen bearing the spots of blood which date back to the Eucharistic Miracle that took place in Bolsena in 1263. We will have time at leisure to stroll through the ancient, cobbled streets before continuing our drive to Rome. Arriving at the four-star Hotel Nova Domus, we will check into our rooms and have the evening at leisure.
Days 4 – 6 - Rome
Being the cradle of the Catholic Church, Rome has many sacred places of worship. During our pilgrimage in Rome, we will have the opportunity to visit the main pilgrim sites and the opportunity to celebrate Mass in some of the main Papal Basilicas.
The many ancient monuments scattered throughout Rome is evidence that the “Eternal City” has a history and an appeal like no other city in the world. We will have time to explore this wonderful city, steeped in history.
Our pilgrimage in Rome will include visits to the following places of pilgrimage and popular tourist attractions:
St. Peter’s Basilica
We will enjoy a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the holiest temples of Christendom, where we will see the impressive works such as Bernini’s baldachin, Michelangelo’s famous Pietà statue and the statue of St. Peter on his throne. We will have time for prayer before the tombs of St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII and afterwards will soak up the atmosphere of the surroundings with free time in the vicinity of St. Peter’s Square.
The Irish Pontifical College
The Irish College is the last of many Irish Colleges that were once scattered over Europe. We will have the opportunity to celebrate Mass in this very special place.
Basilica of San Clemente
Within walking distance of the Irish College is the Basilica of San Clemente. Here we will enjoy a tour of the excavations of which were encouraged by Joseph Mullooly - a Dominican priest and archaeologist, which reveal 2,000 years of the history of Rome.
Basilica of St. John Lateran & Sanctuary of the Holy Stairs
The Sanctuary of the Holy Stairs encloses the steps which led up to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem on which Jesus Christ climbed on his way to trial during his Passion. The Stairs were brought to Rome by Saint Helena in the fourth century and for centuries have attracted pilgrims who wish to honour the Passion of Jesus Christ. Located just a short distance from the sanctuary, we will visit the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the “Mother Church of all churches” and seat of the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis.
Basilica of St. Mary Major
The Basilica of St. Mary Major is the largest Catholic Marian Church in Rome and home to the venerated image of Salus Populi Romani; an Icon of the Virgin Mother and Child, credited with saving the city of Rome from plague during the late sixth century. It is before this icon that Pope Francis prays before embarking, and upon returning from each international Apostolic journey.
Historical Centre of Rome
The historical centre of Rome boasts such famous sites as the Pantheon. Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona – a true symbol of Baroque Rome, with the famous Fountain of the Four Rivers dominating the square, overlooked by the impressive Church of St. Agnes.
Catacombs of St. Callixtus & Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls
The Catacombs of St. Callixtus was the official cemetery of the Church of Rome in the 3rd century AD. During our tour we will hear of the many Christians that were buried here, amongst them many martyrs and popes. A short distance from the catacombs is the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, founded in the place where once was an ancient church built over the tomb of the Apostle Paul.
Free time for shopping and personal sightseeing
Take time out to browse the local shops or use the opportunity to privately visit one of the many tourist sites such as the Vatican Gardens, Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel, or Colosseum.
(to visit any of the above attractions, advance booking is strongly recommended)
DAY 7 - Papal Audience
This morning we will have the opportunity to gather with the fellow pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square to attend the Papal Audience, at the end of which the Holy Father will impart on us his Apostolic Blessing which also extends to loved ones that are sick and suffering.
We will have time at leisure for lunch and private sightseeing and in the afternoon drive to Fiumicino airport as we return to our homes filled with a sense of tranquillity, peace and joy 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.