DAY 1 - Arrive Medjugorje
This morning we will depart Dublin to Dubrovnik. Our guide will meet us in Dubrovnik and on the transfer will inform us of what we can expect during our time in Medjugorje. We will arrive at our accommodation and after an introduction to our host family, we can then rest in our rooms before being called for a light snack, or dinner, which will be served depending on the time of arrival. Each evening, we will attend the parish evening programme which begins with the Rosary followed by Holy Mass and depending on the day, we finish with adoration.
DAY 2 - Opening Meeting
We start our day with breakfast before attending 10:00am mass, which is intended for English-speaking pilgrims, in the Church of St. James. The Church of St. James is placed under patronage of St. James the Apostle, who is patron saint of pilgrims. We do not move far and usually meet at the shrine of Our Lady Queen of Peace for our opening meeting where the guides will share with us the history of the place, introduce us to the shrine and through their words and experiences enlighten us to the messages and intentions of Our Lady. We break for lunch where restaurants are in abundance and boast some of the best steaks and pizza. The afternoon takes us to Blue Cross, a place of many apparitions of Our Lady. It is situated at the base of Apparition Hill where Our Lady appeared to the children and where they were hiding from the communist police at the beginning of the apparitions. Many pilgrims venture here to bask in the peace that emanates from this special area. From Blue Cross, we walk to Vicka�s old house. Vicka is one of the six Medjugorje visionaries and we visit her old family house to see and to pray in the room where she had apparitions over a long period. After dinner, we can attend the evening prayer programme.
DAY 3 - Hill of Apparitions
This morning after breakfast, we gather at the statue of Our Lady to walk through the vineyards, to the Hill of Apparitions (Podbrdo). This has been the traditional route taken by millions of pilgrims. The guides regale us with accounts of the first days of the apparitions, especially the first seven days, and tell us of the great spiritual journey the visionaries undertook. We simply climb, in prayer, to the site of the first apparition, the place where Our Lady first appeared to six frightened children in June of 1981.The Joyful Mysteries greet us at several points of our climb where we pray for a short time. This afternoon there is an optional tour to Cenacolo, which is a community for recovering drug addicts. There is a special lesson to be learned from the residents here, by their hard work, perseverance, and prayer. After dinner, we attend the evening programme.
DAY 4 - Cross Mountain
Our day begins with breakfast, and we then meet at the base of Cross Mountain (Krizevac) to start our ascent. We pray the Stations of the Cross as we make our way to the summit. Our journey is rewarded by taking time for reflection and prayer by the cross located at the top of the mountain. In 1933, the parish of St. James erected a large concrete cross to commemorate the 1900th Anniversary of Jesus' passion and death on the Cross. We make our descent in time for holy Mass. For all those who cannot climb Cross mountain we organise the Stations of the Way of the Cross to be said at the Risen Lord Statue at the same time. In the afternoon, following our climb, we will have some free time. This evening we have a special treat as our programme director, David Parkes, performs for us in concert with an Evening of prayer through song. David is an internationally acclaimed singer and often travels worldwide singing the word of Our Lord.
DAY 5 - Arrive San Giovanni Rotondo
This morning our guide will collect us at our house for our transfer us to Mostar airport for our flight to Italy where, upon arrival at Foggia airport, our local guide will meet us and accompany us to the nearby town of San Giovanni Rotondo, home to Padre Pio for over fifty years.
Upon arrival at our hotel, we will check into our rooms and have time to relax before afternoon Mass which we will celebrate in the ancient Church of Our Lady of Grace where Padre Pio celebrated Mass and heard confessions. Our day will conclude with a visit to the Church of St. Pio of Pietrelcina where we will venerate the remains of St. Pio and have time for private prayer before returning to our hotel for dinner.
DAY 6 - English Office, Capuchin friary, �Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza�
Founded by Fr. Alessio Parente to welcome English-speaking pilgrims arriving in San Gio-vanni 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.
This afternoon we will begin to walk in the footsteps of Padre Pio during his time in San Giovanni Rotondo . After hearing of Padre Pio's early years in Pietrelcina, how he realised his dream of becoming a �monk with a beard� and the series of events that brought him to the remote town of San Giovanni Rotondo, we will visit the Capuchin friary and learn more about the �poor friar who prays� as we see the cell where the humble friar lived and died and the crucifix before which he received the gift of the stigmata.
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. Our day will conclude with a visit to the hospital where we will hear of the history be-hind what is Padre Pio's greatest creation.
DAY 7 - Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel, Way of the Cross
Padre Pio had a great devotion to St. Michael the Archangel and travelled on pilgrimage to the shrine in Monte Sant'Angelo. This morning as we travel to the oldest shrine in Western Europe dedicated to the Archangel Michael, we will hear of the apparitions of St. Michael the Archangel and afterwards celebrate 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. Time at leisure will allow us the opportunity for confessions or to return to the crypt of St. Pio for private prayer.
DAY 8 - Return home
After breakfast we will depart from the town of St. Pio 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.