Day 1 Sunday, November 01
We will depart in the afternoon from Newark airport for our overnight flight to Rome.
Day 2 Monday, November 02
Upon arrival in Rome we will meet our tour escort and drive to the Green Heart of Italy to the town of Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis and St. Clare. After lunch in a typical Italian restaurant, we will celebrate the opening Mass of our pilgrimage in the Basilica of St. Francis and have time for prayer at the tomb of the founder of the Franciscan Order. Afterwards we
will enjoy a tour of the basilica where we can admire the wonderful works of Giotto, Cimabue and Simone Martini. We will check into the Hotel Domus Pacis and later visit the nearby Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli where we will see the Chapel of the Porziuncola, the Chapel of the Transito where St. Francis died and the famous Rose Garden.
Day 3 Tuesday, November 03
This morning we will celebrate Mass in the Basilica of St. Clare, founder of the Order of the Poor Clares, and have time to explore the medieval town of Assisi as we learn more of the life of St. Francis and that of St. Clare. Located in a beautiful setting just outside the walls of Assisi, the Church and Convent of San Damiano is the place where St. Francis received his miraculous calling in 1205 and where St. Clare died in 1253 an important stop on a pilgrimage to the Franciscan Holy City. This afternoon we will have Holy Hour in this very special and peaceful setting.
Day 4 Wednesday, November 04
After breakfast we will depart Assisi and drive to the town of Loreto. We will celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the Holy House of Loreto and after lunch enjoy a tour of the basilica, one of the most revered Marian shrines in the world.
Day 5 Thursday, November 05
We will celebrate morning Mass in the Basilica of the Holy House of Loreto and afterwards drive the short distance to the Basilica of St. Joseph of Cupertino; patron saint of aviators, astronauts, test takers and weak students, and known for his gift of levitation. We will learn of the life of St. Joseph of Cupertino and venerate the remains of the saint, encased in a glass coffin, which appears to be levitating now thanks to the help of two angel statues.
Day 6 Friday, November 06
This morning we will depart Loreto and enjoy beautiful views of the Adriatic Coast as we drive to the town of Lanciano, site of the first Eucharistic Miracle of the Catholic Church. We will celebrate Mass in the Church of St. Francis and afterwards venerate the relics of the Eucharistic Miracle. After lunch in a local restaurant we will continue our journey before arriving at our destination of San Giovanni Rotondo, home to Padre Pio for over fifty years. We will check into the Hotel Colonne where we will stay for the following four nights.
Day 7 Saturday, November 07
This morning we will begin to learn of the life of Padre Pio during his years in San Giovanni Rotondo. After the celebration of Mass, we will enjoy a guided tour of the sanctuary. We will visit the ancient Church of Our Lady of Grace, the heart of the sanctuary, where Padre Pio celebrated Mass, heard confessions and received the gift of the stigmata. Afterwards we will walk through the capuchin friary where we will see the cell where Padre Pio lived and died and the window from which he blessed the faithful. Our morning will end at the Church of St. Pio of Pietrelcina where we can admire the wonderful mosaics depicting the lives of St. Pio and St. Francis of Assisi before we arrive at the crypt where we will venerate the remains of the great saint of our time. 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. After lunch we will have a tour of the hospital and learn more of the history behind this wonderful creation.
Day 8 Sunday, November 08
This morning we will drive to the Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel, the oldest shrine in Western Europe dedicated to the Archangel Michael. We will celebrate Mass, have time for private prayer in the sacred cave and afterwards enjoy a stroll through the quaint town with its unique white-washed houses. After lunch we will visit the capuchin convent of Sant Anna in Foggia. We will visit the cell once occupied by Padre Pio and later have Holy Hour in the church where Padre Pio celebrated Mass. We will continue onto the Shrine 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.
Day 9 Monday, November 09
This morning we will drive to the hilltop town of Pietrelcina, birthplace of St. Pio. We will celebrate Mass and visit the wonderful museum that has still preserved items associated with the years St. Pio spent as a child and a newly ordained priest in his native Pietrelcina. As we walk through the quaint town we will learn of the early years of Francesco Forgione and how he overcame many obstacles in order to fulfill his dream of becoming a monk with a beard. We will visit the Forgione family home where baby Francesco was born and the Church of Sant Anna where he was baptized. After lunch in a local restaurant we will drive to nearby Piana Romana where we will see the farmhouse of the Forgione family and in the Chapel of St. Francis have time for prayer before the tree beneath which Padre Pio received the first signs of the stigmata.
Day 10 Tuesday, November 10
After breakfast we will check out of our hotel in San Giovanni Rotondo and drive to the town of Manoppello. We will visit the Basilica of the Holy Face which is home to the mysterious cloth believed to display the true image of Our Lords Face imprinted on the Veil of Veronica. We will learn more of the history behind the arrival of the veil in the town of Manoppello and have time for prayer. After lunch we will continue our drive through the picturesque countryside before arriving at the Hotel Cristoforo Colombo in Rome where we will spend the final two nights of our pilgrimage.
Day 11 Wednesday, November 11
This morning we will attend the Papal Audience in Rome and after lunch in a local restaurant we will enjoy a guided tour of the greatest of the citys monumental basilicas, St. Peters Basilica. Inside we will see the unique collection of artistic masterpieces and have time for prayer at the tombs of St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII. In the afternoon we will celebrate Mass in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Mother Church of all churches and seat of the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, and afterwards climb the Holy Stairs in the traditional manner. As we return to our hotel, we will see the many ancient monuments, evidence that the Eternal City has a history and an appeal like no other city in the world.
Day 12 Thursday, November 12
This morning we will check out of our hotel and drive to Fiumicino airport for our return flight to Newark, returning to our homes filled with a sense of joy, tranquillity and peace in our hearts.