Pilgrimage to Italy - October 12, 2020
Rome | Lanciano/Cascia | Assisi | Siena | San Giovanni Rotondo/Manoppello
Venture to the sacred places that God has provided to fill our souls and minds with beauty and awe in timeless Italy. Go before actual Eucharistic miracles that strengthen our belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, see the signs God has provided through the witness of his saints, and experience the places where miracles happened, prayers were answered and grace can still be found. Italy holds beauty, surprise, and wonder for all who pilgrimage here.
Italy Pilgrimage Itinerary
Our pilgrimage begins as we depart on our overnight flight to Rome. Meals and refreshments will be served aloft.
After a morning arrival in the “Eternal City”, we will be met by our tour manager at the airport and drive north, stopping in the walled town of Orvieto. In the 13th century, in nearby Bolsena, a priest doubted the Eucharistic Presence during Mass and the host turned to real flesh and the wine to real blood during the consecration. The priest brought the blood-stained Corporal to Pope Urban in Orvieto, and it is now kept in a special reliquary for the faithful to view. It was also in Orvieto where Pope Urban IV called for a world-wide Feast of Corpus Christi. The Cathedral of Orvieto has striking similarities to the beautiful Duomo in Florence with its unique exterior. Inside is the Signorelli Chapel that holds some of the greatest artistic masterpieces in the world. There will be ample time for both prayer and adoration in these majestic surroundings. Afterwards, continue on to Assisi, a town that welcomes us in the spirit of St. Francis and St. Clare into its peaceful interior.
Our first full day in Italy begins with a visit to St. Mary of the Angels Basilica, site of the Porziuncola, the tiny church in the woods where St. Francis began his ministry and where St. Clare was consecrated. Continue to the Convent of San Damiano where the miracle of the Eucharist of 1211 took place and visit the chapel where Jesus spoke to St. Francis from the crucifix, and the Basilica of St. Francis. We will visit the Basilica of St. Clare and view her incorrupt body, then proceed to Santa Maria degli Angeli. Then for those with the stamina, take a walk up Monte Subasio to L’Eremo delle Carceri (the Carceri Hermitage), the Saint’s favorite retreat. There are many caves here that St. Francis and his followers retreated to for seclusion and prayer. The remainder of the day will be free for personal prayer and activities.
This morning we will drive to Siena, home of St. Catherine. Our first stop, and a highlight of our tour, will be the Basilica of St. Francis where we’ll venerate the Eucharistic miracle of Siena: Hosts which have remained incorrupt since 1730. Then we’ll celebrate Mass at St. Dominic’s, St. Catherine of Siena’s parish church where she attended daily Mass and went into ecstasy. Adjacent to the church is her home, which we’ll visit and see the cell where she fasted and prayed. Then we’ll stroll the ancient Gothic streets which converge on the Piazza del Campo, one of the most beautiful squares in the world where we can stop for lunch. Enjoy some free time in this mystical walled city before our return to Assisi for our final night in this peaceful town.
Our travels today first take us to nearby Cascia, the home of Saint Rita, “the saint of the impossible” and site of a 14th century Eucharistic Miracle. Tour Saint Rita’s convent where she received the thorn from Christ’s crown, and visit her home. Proceed to the Basilica of St. Rita and venerate her incorrupt body, then spend time in Adoration in the chapel containing the Eucharistic miracle. Afterwards, we will continue our southward journey along the Adriatic to Lanciano, site of the oldest miracle of the Eucharist, still preserved after 12 centuries. Overnight in Lanciano.
This morning we’ll attend Mass at the sanctuary of the 8th century Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano. There will be time for adoration as well as a tour of the museum detailing the history of the miracle. We’ll then drive along the coast to San Giovanni Rotondo, the home of Saint Padre Pio, where we’ll visit his tomb and tour the sanctuary of the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, where this famous Saint said Mass, with one of the fathers who knew Padre Pio personally. After visiting this mystical Saint’s cell and the parlor where he greeted the faithful, we proceed to our hotel for the night.
After breakfast, we drive a short distance to the Grotto of St. Michael the Archangel, and visit the church built above the cave consecrated to the Lord by St. Michael himself. After time for prayer in this sacred site, begin our journey to Rome. We will stop for lunch in Manoppello and visit the church housing the Holy Veil of Manoppello, traditionally believed to be the sudarium of Christ, or the Veil of Veronica. Venerate this sacred icon and continue to Rome, checking into the hotel which will be our home for the next 4 nights.
We begin our day in Rome with an early Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, followed by a tour including the Pieta and Adoration Chapel. We’ll then visit the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum, focusing especially on Eucharistic art and artifacts. In the afternoon travel to St. Paul’s Outside the Walls, originally built by Constantine in the fourth century over the site of St. Paul’s tomb. We’ll see the Holy Stairs and the Basilica of St. John Lateran, and complete our visit to the four major Roman basilicas with a visit to St. Mary Major.
This morning begins with a visit to the Catacombs where we will celebrate Mass. Afterwards we’ll stop at the Basilica of San Andrea del Fratte, where Alphonse Ratisbonne was instantly converted when Our Lady appeared to him. This is where St. Maximilian Kolbe said his first Mass and where Our Lady also appeared to St. John Bosco. We’ll walk a few blocks to the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain, then visit the Pantheon, an ancient Roman structure rebuilt into a Church, where the famous painter Raphael is buried. Continue on to the Piazza Navona and then you will be free for the remainder of the day for shopping or visiting another of Rome’s famous churches or piazzas.
On our final day in Rome, we will attend the weekly Papal audience given by His Holiness, Pope Francis (depending upon the Holy Father’s schedule). Then we’ll head to the Mamertine Prison where St. Paul was kept in chains, view the Forum and Coliseum from the outside, and stop at St. Clement to see the second century dwelling of Pope St. Clement, the third successor of St. Peter, and the original fresco depicting St. Clement celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This fresco gives us a picture of early Eucharistic worship. Then stop at St. Peter in Chains to view Michelangelo’s magnificent Moses. Our day ends with a visit to Santa Pudenziana, one of the oldest churches in Rome, and site of the Eucharistic Miracle of 1610. Venerate the blood-stained imprint where the Host turned to flesh upon the steps of the altar in the Caetani Chapel. Ponder the reality of the True Presence of Christ before returning to our hotel for the evening. Tonight, we’ll have our farewell dinner at a restaurant in Rome.
Today we say Ciao to Italia and return home, cherishing all of the wonderful memories and graces of this pilgrimage.