DAY 1 - Friday, 20th September
Our morning flight from Dublin will take us to Naples airport, where we will be greeted by our Marian Pilgrimages representative and drive to our hotel, immersed in the picturesque countryside. Upon arrival we will check into our rooms and have time to relax before dinner.
DAY 2 - Saturday, 21st September
Our pilgrimage in the footsteps of Padre Pio will begin in his native town of Pietrelcina where the young Francesco Forgione grew up and, in the years that would follow would experience many obstacles before finally realising his dream of becoming a �monk with a beard.� We will celebrate the opening Mass of our pilgrimage in the Church of the Holy Family and visit the museum which has carefully preserved items dating back to Padre Pio's years in Pietrelcina. Our walking tour of the town will include visits to the Forgione family home where Francesco was born, the Church of Sant'Anna where he was baptised and the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli where the newly ordained Padre Pio would celebrate his first Mass. After lunch in a local restaurant, our final visit of the day will be to nearby Piana Romana where Padre Pio received the first signs of the stigmata.
The breathtaking Italian countryside will make for an enjoyable evening drive to San Giovanni Rotondo, home to Padre Pio for over fifty years.
DAY 3 - Sunday, 22nd September
Founded by Fr. Alessio Parente to welcome English-speaking pilgrims arriving in San Giovanni Rotondo, after morning Mass, we will visit the English office during which time we will receive a blessing with the glove and crucifix used by Padre Pio.
During our guided tour of the sanctuary will take us to the capuchin friary, where we will learn more about the �poor friar who prays� as Padre Pio often described himself. Our morning will conclude in the Church of St. Pio of Pietrelcina where there will be time for private prayer before the remains of the great saint of our time.
After dinner there will be the opportunity to attend the Vigil Mass in the sanctuary as the faithful join to celebrate the life of St. Pio of Pietrelcina and listen to an account of his final hours.
DAY 4 = Monday, 23rd September
Padre Pio had a great devotion to St. Michael the Archangel and travelled on pilgrimage to the shrine in Monte Sant'Angelo. On this Feast Day of St. Pio, we will follow Padre Pio's footsteps as we travel to the oldest shrine in Western Europe dedicated to the Archangel Michael, listening to accounts of the apparitions of St. Michael the Archangel. After celebrating Mass in the sacred cave, we will have time for private prayer and personal sightseeing in the �City of Two Sites� before returning to San Giovanni Rotondo
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.
The celebrations to mark the Feast Day of Padre Pio will conclude with a procession through the town, bringing together the Capuchin community, local people of San Giovanni Rotondo and the many pilgrims who have travelled from afar to honour the great saint of our time.
DAY 5 - Tuesday, 24th September
In 1956 Padre Pio presented to the world �Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza�, the hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo which today is regarded as one of the most important hospitals in Italy. After morning Mass, we will visit the hospital and hear of the history behind what is Padre Pio's greatest creation.
The story of �Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza� will take us to Masseria Calderoso, for lunch. Located in the picturesque countryside, surrounded by century old olive trees, the farm was donated to Padre Pio during the 1950's and now provides the hospital with some wonderful fresh produce. The farmhouse, which has been completely restructured, today is home to a restaurant - a perfect opportunity to sample some produce local to the region!
Upon our return to San Giovanni Rotondo we will have the remainder of the afternoon at leisure with the opportunity to return to the crypt of St. Pio for private prayer.
DAY 6 - Wednesday, 25th September
After breakfast, we will depart San Giovanni Rotondo and drive to Naples 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.