Day 1 - Arrive Medjugorje
We will depart in the afternoon to Split. On arrival, we will drive the short distance to this most Blessed village, Medjugorje and meet our host family.
Day 2 - Church of St. James & Blue Cross Mountain
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 the patronage of St. James the Apostle, who is patron saint of pilgrims. We do not move very far and usually meet at the shrine of Our Lady of Peace for our opening meeting where the guides will share with us the history of the place, 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.
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 which begins with the rosary followed by Holy Mass and depending on the day, finishing with adoration.
Day 3 - Apparition Hill & Cenacolo
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 - Stations of the Cross & Evening of Prayer through song
After breakfast we 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. 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 - Day at leisure and sailing to Ancona
After morning Mass, we will have the day at leisure for private prayer and reflection. In the afternoon we will depart Medjugorje and travel to Split for our overnight sailing to Ancona.
Day 6 - Holy House of Nazareth & Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano
Upon arrival in Ancona, we will meet our guide and drive to the town of Loreto. The most treasured and venerated shrine of Our Lady throughout the world is that of the Holy House of Nazareth. According to tradition, the Holy House is part of the Virgin Mary's house, which was transported by angels from Nazareth, arriving in Loreto on the 10th of December 1294. We will celebrate Mass and afterwards enjoy a guided tour of the impressive basilica, which encases the Holy House.
We will enjoy wonderful views of the Adriatic Coast as we drive to the town of Lanciano. On arrival, we will have free time for lunch and later visit the Church of St. Francis where we will venerate the relics of the first Eucharistic Miracle of the Catholic Church. As we travel to San Giovanni Rotondo we will hear about the early years of Francesco Forgione (the future Padre Pio) and how he realised his dream of becoming a “monk with a beard.”
Day 7 - 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 Pilgrims Office will receive a blessing with the glove used by the capuchin friar.
This afternoon we will begin our walk in the footsteps 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.
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, this afternoon we will learn of the history behind what is regarded as Padre Pio’s greatest miracle. Our tour will conclude with a visit the Church of St. Pio of Pietrelcina where we will have time for private prayer before the mortal remains of the great saint of our time.
After dinner there will be the opportunity to participate at the Marian Torchlight Procession at the sanctuary.
Day 8 - Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel & St. Matthew’s Monastery
The town of Monte Sant’ Angelo was built around the Shrine of Saint Michael the Archangel, the oldest shrine in Western Europe dedicated to the Archangel Michael. This morning we will drive to the nearby Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel and in the sacred cave we will celebrate Mass. We will have time at leisure this morning to stroll through the cobbled streets of this unique town with its quaint, white-washed houses.
Before returning to San Giovanni Rotondo we will visit St. Matthew’s monastery rich in history, art, culture and above all full of faith and spirituality. We will receive a blessing with the relic of St. Matthew the apostle and the Holy Oil. An afternoon at leisure will give us the opportunity to return to the crypt of St. Pio with time for private prayer.
Day 9 - Return home
This morning we will depart San Giovanni Rotondo and drive to Naples airport as we return to our homes, filled with a sense of tranquility, joy and peace in our hearts.