Day 1 - Arrive Italy
In the afternoon 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. We will drive to our nearby hotel where we will spend the first night of our pilgrimage.
Day 2 – Cascia & Assisi
This morning we will check out of our hotel and drive to Cascia. 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”. After free time for lunch, we will hear about Rita’s years as a daughter, wife, mother, and as an Augustinian nun. We will enjoy a 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 depart Cascia and continue our journey 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 3 – Guided tour of the town of Assisi
This morning we will enjoy a guided tour of the medieval town of Assisi. We will celebrate Mass at the Basilica of St. Francis and have time for prayer at the tomb of the founder of the Franciscan Order. Accompanied by our guide we can admire the wonderful frescoes before embarking on our walking tour of the town as we hear of the life of both St. Francis and St. Clare and how both gave up lavish lifestyles in favour of a life of prayer. Our tour will conclude at the Basilica of St. Clare – the resting place 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 and it was no surprise that he requested to be buried in the town of St. Francis. The remains of Carlo were 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 4 – Basilica of the Holy Face, Manoppello
This morning we will depart Assisi and drive to Manoppello where we will visit the Basilica of the Holy Face. Relics, considered to be the burial cloths of Christ have been stored for centuries and are scattered throughout Europe however only two of the cloths have images upon them: the Shroud of Turin and the cloth at Manoppello.
We will celebrate Mass and afterwards have the opportunity to venerate the “Santo Sudarium”, the veil that has been carefully preserved above the alter, which is believed to have been the cloth lain over the head of Christ in the Tomb. We will hear of the examinations that have been carried out over the years on the veil and of the mysterious arrival of the cloth in the town of Manoppello.
As we drive towards San Giovanni Rotondo, we will begin to learn 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 the Hotel Colonne, located just minutes from 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 & Historical Centre of San Giovanni Rotondo
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.
In the afternoon we will drive to the nearby St. Matthew’s Monastery. We will receive a blessing with the relic of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, and afterwards be blessed with the miraculous Holy Oil. Upon our return to San Giovanni Rotondo we will visit the historical centre and hear of the traditions of the town, much loved by Padre Pio. There will be time to browse through the shops before returning to our hotel for dinner. This evening we will have the opportunity to attend the Marian Torchlight Procession at the sanctuary as we honour the Madonna, for whom Padre Pio had a great devotion.
Day 7 – “Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza” & Way of the Cross
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, after Mass, we will learn of the history behind what is regarded as Padre Pio’s greatest creation.
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. We will have the remainder of the afternoon at leisure for confessions and to return to the crypt of St. Pio.
Day 8 – Pietrelcina & Piana Romana
After breakfast we will depart San Giovanni Rotondo and enjoy the stunning views of the countryside as we drive to the town of Pietrelcina, birthplace of Francesco Forgione (the future Padre Pio).
We will celebrate the closing Mass of our pilgrimage and during our walking tour visit the Forgione family home where Padre Pio was born and the Church of Sant’ Anna where he was baptised.
After lunch in a local restaurant, we will visit nearby Piana Romana and see the tree beneath which Padre Pio received the first signs of the stigmata. We will conclude our pilgrimage with time for private prayer before driving to Fiumicino 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.