DAY 1 - Cascia
This morning we will depart from Dublin airport 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. The first stop on our pilgrimage will be Cascia, the town of St. Rita. After lunch in a local restaurant, we will hear of the life of St. Rita as a wife, mother, and an Augustinian Nun. As we pass through the cloister of the Augustinian Monastery, we will see the miraculous vine and the crucifix before which, tradition says, Rita received the stigmata. We will celebrate the opening Mass of our pilgrimage in the Basilica of St. Rita and have time for private prayer before the remains of the Saint of the Impossible. We will return to our coach and continue our drive through the Green Heart of Italy, before arriving in Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis and St. Clare. After checking into our hotel, we will have dinner and time to relax.
DAY 2 - Assisi
After breakfast we will walk to 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 celebrate Mass 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 drive to the medieval town of Assisi and in the afternoon hear of the life of St. Francis and that of St. Clare as we enjoy a walking tour of the town.
The name Carlo Acutis became known throughout the world when in October 2020, in the presence of his parents and siblings, he was beatified in the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. The young boy was very much impressed by the story of St. Francis of Assisi. Described by Pope Francis as a great example for young people today, Carlo was a boy of great faith and cared very much for the poor. Following his death at just 15 years of age, his remains were buried in the cemetery in Assisi, as he had requested. His remains were exhumed in 2019 and transferred to the Sanctuary of Renunciation where today many pilgrims flock to pray at his tomb. This afternoon we will visit the sanctuary and have time for private prayer.
The remainder of the afternoon will be at leisure where one can soak up the special atmosphere of this wonderful town.
DAY 3 - Loreto
This morning we will depart Assisi and drive to the town of Loreto. After free time for lunch, we will enjoy a guided tour of the impressive basilica, home to the Holy House of Loreto which is undoubtedly the most treasured and venerated shrine of Our Lady throughout the world. According to tradition, the Holy House is part of the Virgin Mary's house, which was transported by angels from Nazareth, arriving in Loreto on the 10th of December 1294. We will celebrate afternoon Mass and have time for private prayer in the basilica. Afterwards we will check into our hotel and have time to relax in our rooms before dinner.
DAY 4 - Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano
After breakfast, we will depart Loreto and enjoy spectacular views of the Adriatic Coast as we drive to the town of Lanciano. We will celebrate Mass in the Church of St. Francis and afterwards venerate the relics of the first Eucharistic Miracle of the Catholic Church which date back to the 8th century. After free time for lunch, we will begin our drive towards San Giovanni Rotondo, learning of the early life of Padre Pio and how he overcame many obstacles to fulfil his dream of becoming a monk with a beard. Upon arrival at our hotel, located within walking distance of the sanctuary, we will check into our rooms and have time to relax before dinner.
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 and crucifix used by the capuchin friar.
After lunch, we will learn of the life 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.
DAY 6 - Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel, Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza & 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 the cobbled streets of this unique town with its quaint, white-washed houses. Before returning to San Giovanni Rotondo we will stop at St. Matthew's Monastery and receive a blessing with the relic of St. Matthew and Holy Oil.
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, in the afternoon we will learn of the history behind what is regarded as Padre Pio's greatest creation.
Afterwards, we will walk the Way of the Cross which 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 and after dinner have the opportunity to participate in the Maricn Torchlight Procession
DAY 7 - Corato
This morning we will depart San Giovanni Rotondo and drive to the town of Corato. We will have lunch and later visit the house of Luisa Piccarreta. Luisa was a mystic and victim soul confined to her bed with an illness that no doctor could identify and who lived on the Eucharist and the Divine Will for over 60 years. We will hear of the life of Luisa Piccarreta and afterwards see her bedroom, some of the lacework of Luisa and copies of some of her writings, many of which have been published.
We will celebrate Mass in the Church of Santa Maria Greca and have time for prayer at the tomb of the �Little Daughter of the Divine Will.� Afterwards we will drive the short distance to the beautiful town of Trani where we will spend the last night of our pilgrimage.
DAY 8 - Return home
At the time of printing, the flight schedule between Bari and Dublin has yet to be released. Should the departure be a morning departure we will have a short drive of approximately 40 minutes to Bari airport for our return flight to Dublin.
*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.