We will depart in the afternoon from Dublin to Rome. Upon arrival we will be met by our tour escort and transfer to the Hotel Neptunus where we will spend the first night of our pilgrimage.
This morning we will visit the Shrine of St. Maria Goretti, anItalian virgin-martyr of the Catholic Church and one of the youngest canonised saints. The millions of faithful in attendance at her canonisation symbolised the reaction of millions touched by the simple story of Maria Goretti.
We will celebrate the opening Mass of our pilgrimage in the famous abbey of Montecassino, home to the sacred relics of St. Benedict, the patron saint of Europe and founder of western monasticism. We will have a guided tour of the abbey and afterwards enjoy the picturesque Italian countryside as we drive to our destination of San Giovanni Rotondo where we will stay for four nights in the Hotel Colonne (3 nights full board / 1 night half board).
After breakfast we will begin our pilgrimage in the footsteps of Padre Pio during his time in San Giovanni Rotondo. Despite experiencing great suffering in his own life, through his ministries and great work which saw the realisation of the hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo, he helped relieve the sick and troubled from their own individual sufferings. We will visit the capuchin friary, see the cell where Padre Pio lived and died and the crucifix before which he received the stigmata. Afterwards we will meet with one of the capuchin friars where we will hear more of the life of St. Pio and receive a blessing with the glove and crucifix of the humble friar.
In the afternoon we will celebrate Mass in the ancient church of Our Lady of Grace where St. Pio celebrated Mass, heard confessions and received the gift of the stigmata.
We will end our first day in San Giovanni Rotondo with a visit the Church of St. Pio of Pietrelcina where we will have time for prayer before the mortal remains of this great saint of our time.
This morning we will travel to the Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel and celebrate Mass at the sacred cave. After time at leisure in Monte Sant’Angelo and as we return to San Giovanni Rotondo we will visit the cemetery where the parents of Padre Pio, Mary Pyle, Fr. Alessio, Fr. Joseph and Fr. Ermelindo are buried.
In the afternoon we will visit St. Matthew’s monastery where we will receive a blessing with the relic of St. Matthew and the holy oil.
This morning we will celebrate Mass and afterwards walk the Way of the Cross, which allow us, as Christians, to pause and enter reflectively into those last moments of Jesus’s journey of love.
We will have the afternoon at leisure for private prayer and reflection and after dinner have the opportunity to participate in the Marian Torchlight procession as we honour the Madonna, for whom St. Pio had a great devotion.
We will depart San Giovanni Rotondo this morning and drive to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Incoronata where according to tradition Our Lady appeared in April 1001. Here we will have time for prayer and later receive a blessing with the holy oil.
We will continue on to Piana Romana where we will celebrate Mass and later visit the farmhouse of the Forgione family. After free time for lunch we will enjoy a walking tour of the nearby town of Pietrelcina, birthplace of St. Pio and afterwards drive to Avellino where we will stay in the four star Bel Sito Hotel le Due Torri for one night on a half board basis.
This morning we will visit the Sanctuary of Monte Vergine where we will see the painting of the Madonna of Montevergine, which, according to legend, was directly painted by St. Luke. We will have time for private prayer and enjoy a tour of this wonderful abbey with its breathtaking views.
In the afternoon we will celebrate Mass at the Shrine of St. Philomena. St. Philomena was a Greek princess and virgin martyr who died at the age of 13 years. After her remains were discovered at the catacombs of St. Priscilla in Rome and three years later transferred to the Church of Our Lady of Grace, the town of Mugnano del Cardinale was transformed to a place of pilgrimage which attracts devotees from the world over who come to pray at the altar of St. Philomena. After our blessing with the relic of St. Philomena and time for private prayer, we will make our way to the four star Hotel Maiuri in Pompeii where we will stay for the last two nights of our pilgrimage on a half board basis.
We will begin our day with the celebration of Mass in the impressive Basilica of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, for whom St. Pio had a great devotion, and afterwards have time to venerate the miraculous image of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, today an object of deep veneration.
We will have the afternoon at leisure with the opportunity to visit the ancient ruins of a town buried under volcanic ash following the famous eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD. (visit to ruins of Pompeii payable locally).
After breakfast we will drive to Naples airport as we return to Ireland, filled with a sense of tranquillity, rejuvenation and peace in our hearts.