St. Peter’s Basilica | Sistine Chapel | St. Mary Major
Our pilgrimage begins as we depart on our overnight flight to Rome. Meals and refreshments will be served aloft.
After our morning arrival in the “Eternal City,” we will be met at the airport by our tour manager, who will be accompanying us throughout the duration of our pilgrimage. Depending upon our flight arrival time, we may have time for an overview tour of the city, including the Colosseum, Forum, and Circus Maximus, as well as catching our first glimpse of the magnificence of St. Peter’s Basilica… Transfer to our hotel for check-in and dinner. (D)
Join thousands of pilgrims from around the world to be with the Holy Father at his Papal Audience at St. Peter’s Basilica. Always subject to the Holy Father’s schedule, this unique event lets us listen to the Holy Father’s words and receive his blessing in person. 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 then descend into the lives of the martyrs as we visit the Catacombs. Here Christians celebrated the Mass in secret and buried the martyrs, including several popes. Afterwards, we will have free time to continue exploring at leisure, including dinner out on our own. (B)
Our day today is filled with wonder and awe as we steep ourselves in the beauty of St. Peter’s Basilica. Here we see the life-like Pieta statue by Michelangelo, stunning paintings, and the importance of Eucharistic Adoration at the chapel renovated under the direction of St. John Paul II. We then tour the Vatican Museum that hosts artifacts from around the world, some of the greatest depictions of the Eucharist in art, papal apartments, hand-woven intricate tapestries, and the stunning hallway of maps from the 1500s. The most famous ceiling in the world awaits us inside the Sistine Chapel. Popes are elected under this ceiling and the faithful have continued to come and be awed by its splendor for centuries. Later this afternoon, we visit the Spanish Steps, a favorite people watching site in Rome and throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain with hopes to return to this glorious city. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight. (B, D)
The Scala Santa, or Holy Stairs, are prayed this morning by climbing them on your knees because they are so sacred. Christ walked on these 28 marble stairs at the home of Pontius Pilate to be condemned to death. For those who cannot climb the stairs on their knees there are other stairs available for walking up that also lead to the chapel at the top. Our prayerful experience continues with a visit to St. John Lateran, the Mother Church of the Roman Catholic faithful and the oldest basilica in Europe. At St. Mary Major we venerate the crib of Christ, view the famous icon painting attributed to St. Luke, and see inestimable artwork that makes Rome renowned throughout the world. 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. (B, D)
Depart Rome and drive north to Orvieto, a walled town high on a hill that holds one of the greatest Eucharistic Miracles in its cathedral. 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. See the steps of the Papal summer residence where Pope Urban IV held up the blood-stained corporal and announced his intention to institute the Feast of Corpus Christi. After venerating the sacred Eucharistic miracle, proceed to Assisi, a town that welcomes us in the spirit of St. Francis and St. Clare into its peaceful interior, and our home for the next three nights. (B, D)
We begin our day in the heart of Assisi in the Shrine of Renunciation within St. Mary Major church. This shrine was built to commemorate the spot where St. Francis renounced his wealth and family and began his life of poverty and service to the Lord. It is now where the tomb of Bl. Carlo Acutis lies. Bl. Carlo – the first millennial saint – dedicated part of his short life to cataloging Eucharistic Miracles from around the world. After venerating his resting place, journey to the Basilica of St. Francis to venerate this saint’s burial place. Afterwards is the Basilica of St. Clare, which holds the famous San Damiano Crucifix that spoke to St. Francis, and where the golden locks of St. Clare’s hair and St. Francis’ poor patched tunic are kept. The remainder of the day will be free for personal prayer and activities. (B, D)
Witness where the power of the Eucharist turned away an army. The invading Saracen army was about to attack the Convent of San Damiano where St. Clare lived with her nuns in 1241. Even though bed-ridden, St. Clare got up and held the Blessed Sacrament in the air and saw the advancing army flee in terror establishing “The Miracle of the Eucharist of Assisi.” Also in the convent, we will visit the chapel where Jesus spoke to St. Francis from the crucifix, then proceed to the valley below. Here we will visit 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 began her religious life. This afternoon we will travel up Mt. Subasio to L’Eremo delle Carceri (the Carceri Hermitage), St. Francis’ favorite retreat center, where he could remain in seclusion and prayer. Enjoy some personal prayer time in this peaceful location before descending back into Assisi for the evening. (B, D)
This morning will be free for personal activities and exploration of Assisi. This afternoon we will come together and journey to a local winery for a tour and tasting. Afterwards, return to Assisi where we will enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant to celebrate the almost end of our pilgrimage. (B, D)
This morning we will depart Assisi and journey south, stopping in Cascia to visit the Shrine of St. Rita and venerate the Eucharistic Miracle of Cascia. We then proceed to the medieval town of Greccio. Greccio itself, set on a beautiful mountaintop, is famous for its cool summer climate and its mineral springs. However, it is even more renowned for its connections with St. Francis of Assisi and as the birthplace of the Christmas crèche. On Christmas Night 1223, St. Francis led shepherds to the top of a nearby hill where they gathered in a stable sheltering an ox and a donkey. According to legend, the Baby Jesus miraculously appeared in the manger. On this spot the Franciscan convent of Greccio was built, and the Chapel of the Crib was erected in 1228, the year St. Francis was canonized. Continue to Rome to check into our hotel near the airport for our last night of our pilgrimage. (B, D)
Today we say Ciao to Italia and return home, cherishing all the wonderful memories and graces of this pilgrimage. (B)
- Daily Mass at holy sites
- Roundtrip economy class airfare from Indianapolis on United Airlines
- 9 nights’ accommodation, including taxes and service charges
- Porterage of one piece of luggage at airports and hotels
- Knowledgeable, friendly, Catholic/Christian guides; whisper headsets; deluxe motor coach transportation to holy sites; all entrance fees listed on itinerary
- Farewell dinner on day 9
- Breakfast and dinner per itinerary (excluding drinks)
Please note: Air taxes/fuel surcharges and gratuities are subject to change and will be updated on the final invoice. The final invoice will be emailed to you approximately 3 months prior to departure.
You can view more testimonials here.