DAY 1 - Chapel of the Porziuncola, Assisi
We will depart in the morning from Cork to Rome. On arrival, we will be greeted by our Marian Pilgrimages guide and driver who will remain with us for the duration of our pilgrimage. The beauty of the Italian countryside will make for an enjoyable drive to Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis and St. Clare. We will check into our rooms and have time to relax.
This evening we will celebrate the opening Mass of our pilgrimage in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli and afterwards visit the Chapel of the Porziuncola where Francis began to realise his true calling and where Clare was accepted into the Order - a fitting place to begin our time in Assisi.
DAY 2 - St. Francis of Assisi, St. Clare of Assisi, Blessed Carlo Acutis
This morning we will drive to the town of Assisi and celebrate Mass at the Sanctuary of the Renunciation, made famous as the spot where Francis stripped himself of his fine clothes, thus relinquishing his wealthy lifestyle in favour of a life of poverty and prayer. In the Sanctuary of the Renunciation today rest the remains of Carlo Acutis, a young boy who was very much impressed by the figure of Francis of Assisi and who, just like Francis, liked nothing more than to help the poor. Like Francis, he used his skills as a means of evangelisation and has been described by Pope Francis as a great example for young people today. After Mass, we will hear about the life of Carlo Acutis and have time for prayer at the tomb of the boy whose story has inspired many to return to the faith.
After free time for lunch we will enjoy a walking tour of the medieval town of Assisi. As we walk through the town, accompanied by our guide, we will hear of the lives of both St. Francis and St. Clare and how they relinquished lavish lifestyles in favour of a life of prayer. Our walking tour will conclude at the Basilica of St. Francis where we can admire the impressive frescoes and later have time for prayer at the tomb of St. Francis.
DAY 3 - Lake Trasimeno & Convent of San Damiano
Lake Trasimeno is where the region of Umbria spills over into Tuscany and is surrounded by sunflower fields and silvery olive groves. It was at Lake Trasimeno where St. Francis spent forty days of Lent in isolation and contemplation during which time, he ate just one piece of bread.
After breakfast we will drive to the short distance to Lake Trasimeno. Our morning at leisure will allow us the unique opportunity to take a short boat ride on the lake that will take us to Maggiore Island where we can walk through the town with its quaint cobbled streets or to spend time in Passignano, strolling along the shore and listening to the lapping of the water in the peaceful surroundings.
After lunch, we will return to Assisi and visit the Convent of San Damiano. Located in a beautiful setting just outside the walls of Assisi, this afternoon we will celebrate Mass at the Church of San Damiano and afterwards have a tour of the former home to the Order of the Poor Clares, which will include visits to the Refectory, the Dormitory where St. Clare died and beautiful cloister. The remainder of the afternoon at leisure will give us the opportunity to return to Assisi for shopping and personal sightseeing.
DAY 4 - Norcia & Cascia
This morning we will check out of our hotel in Assisi and drive to Cascia, stopping at the town of Norcia, birthplace of St. Benedict. We will hear about the life of St. Benedict and the events that brought him to become the founder of monasticism in the Western World. We will have time at leisure with the opportunity to stroll along the quaint cobbled streets or to relax in the piazza, with the statue of St. Benedict standing tall, reflecting the resilience of the local people in recent years and their great sense of faith. Afterwards we will continue onto Cascia, and upon arrival at our hotel check into our rooms and have time to relax.
This afternoon we will begin to hear of the fascinating life of St. Rita during her forty years spent in Cascia, with a visit to the monastery where St. Rita lived as an Augustinian nun. In the courtyard we will see the famous well where Rita drew water each day and the vigorous vine with its white grapes which have become the symbol of the obedience of Saint Rita and her spiritual fruitfulness. We will conclude our day with Mass at the Basilica of St. Rita and have time for prayer before the remains of the �Saint of the Impossible�.
DAY 5 - Cascia
This morning we will drive the short distance to Roccaporena, birthplace of St. Rita. We will hear of Rita's years as a daughter, wife, mother and widow. We will visit the small chapel, which was once her home, see the �Scoglio� - the sacred rock where Rita ascended to pray and feel closer to God and the Rose Garden where we will hear about the famous miracle of the Rose and two figs. We will return to Cascia have the afternoon at leisure for private prayer and personal sightseeing.
DAY 6 - Our Lady of God Counsel, Genezzano
This morning we will depart Cascia and drive to Genezzano, home to the original fresco of Our Lady of Good Counsel. After free time for lunch, we will celebrate Mass at the Church of the Virgin Mother of Good Counsel and have time for private prayer before continuing our drive onto Rome. After checking into our hotel, we will have the evening at leisure.
DAY 7 - Visit to St. Peter's Basilica & Mass at the Basilica of St. Augustine
This morning we will enjoy a guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica, one of the holiest temples of Christendom, where we will see impressive works such as Bernini's baldachin, Michelangelo's famous Piet� 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 enjoy some time at leisure to soak up the atmosphere of the surroundings of St. Pe-ter's Square before driving to our hotel.
We will enjoy lunch in lively Piazza Navona and celebrate afternoon Mass at the Basilica of St. Augustine, the mother of the Order of St. Augustine in Rome and the final burial place of Augustine's mother, St. Monica.
DAY 8 - Return home
This morning we will celebrate the closing Mass of our pilgrimage and after some time at leisure, drive the short distance to Fiumicino airport for our return flight to Cork.
*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.