Daily Itinerary for the 03 May 2021
Day 1 – Monday, May 3
We will depart in the afternoon from Newark airport for our overnight flight to Rome.
Day 2 – Tuesday, May 4
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 Dal Moro Gallery Hotel 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 – Wednesday, May 5
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 – Thursday, May 6
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 – Friday, May 7
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 – Saturday, May 8
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 – Sunday, May 9
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
Day 8 – Monday, May 10
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 – Tuesday, May 11
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 – Wednesday, May 12
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 Lord’s 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 – Thursday, May 13
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 city’s monumental basilicas, St. Peter’s
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 – Friday, May 14
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