In the Footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi with Fr. Luis G Garcia
November 9 - 19, 2023
A Pilgrimage to Rome, Assisi & San Giovanni Rotundo
Where Are We Going?
Thursday, November 9, 2023 - DEPART USA
Our Italian pilgrimage begins as you depart the USA on your international flight.
Friday, November 10, 2023 - ARRVE IN ITALY - ORVIETO, ASSISI
On arrival at Rome airport, you will be met and transferred north by coach through the stunning countryside. Pope Nicholas IV laid the cornerstone for the Cathedral of Orvieto in 1290, dedicating it to the Assumption of the Virgin. Orvieto served as a Papal residence through the Middle Ages, Pope Clement VII being one of the last to stay in Orvieto in 1527. Here the Feast of Corpus Christi is celebrated, marching from the Duomo. Finish your day by checking into your Assisi Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Saturday, November 11, 2023 - ASSISI
This morning, you will awake to the atmospheric sounds of chapel bells, cobblestone footsteps, and the tangible spirit of St. Francis preserved within the walls of this holy town. In the morning you will visit the lower city. The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels stands at the foot of the hill of Assisi over the Porziuncola - Saint Francis' Church, given him by the Benedictine monks. The Church and Convent of St. Damiano are where in 1205, saint Francis received his calling to "Rebuild My Church." Saint Claire will later lead her Order of the Poor Ladies from here until she died, in 1253. You will have time for private devotion and leisure before returning to your hotel overnight. Dinner is on your own tonight.
Sunday, November 12, 2023 - ASSISI
After breakfast, you will walk to the Papal Basilica of St Francis, the mother church of the Franciscan Order and burial place of St Francis. This Basilica which began in 1228, is built on the side of a hill and comprises an Upper and Lower church. These are decorated with numerous frescoes by late medieval painters, including Giotto. Celebrate Mass here. Continue your guided pilgrimage of the town's highlights featuring the Basilica of S. Clare, where you can kneel before the famous crucifix from which Jesus spoke to St Francis. This afternoon, travel to Rome and enjoy a visit to the Forum and the Colossi.
Monday, November 13, 2023 - VATICAN
Enjoy a guided tour of the Vatican's Museums and the Sistine Chapel. Built by connecting portions of the old Papal residence with newer structures - the museum houses a world-renowned collection of art and antiquities. Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel between 1508 and 1512 and later painted The Last Judgment between 1535 and 1541 for Popes Clement VII and Paul III. The primary function of the chapel is the Papal Conclave, providing the place where the College of Cardinals of the church gathers to select a new Pope. Then walk through St. Peter's Basilica and celebrate Mass here. The present structure, completed in 1590, was built over the Byzantine and Middle Ages structures that marked the tomb of Saint Peter. There are more than 100 tombs within the basilica, including most recently, Saint John Paul II. Finish the day at the Pantheon, built by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC to 14 AD). Emperor Hadrian rebuilt it around 126 AD. The building was given to Pope Boniface IV, who converted it into a church - Saint Mary and the Martyrs (Santa Maria Rotunda). Mass continues to be celebrated here. Dinner is on your own tonight.
Tuesday, November 14, 2023 - PILGRIMAGE IN ROME
This morning, you will begin your day at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. The present structure stands over the place where Constantine built the first church over Saint Paul's grave. The church features a portrait of every Pope that has served the church, with the face of Francis I illuminated as the present pontiff. Step beneath the surface into the Catacombs of Callixtus, built along the Appian Way. Here 16 Popes from the 2nd through 4th Centuries were interred, though they have been removed to various churches over the centuries. San Sebastian Outside the Walls is another of the seven Pilgrimage churches built over the Catacombs of Saint Sebastian. The remains of Peter and Paul were temporarily protected here during the Valerian Persecution of 258. Our seventh and final pilgrimage stop is the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. Saint Helena brought Passion relics here, and the floor was covered with soil from Jerusalem. Relics here include the index finger of Thomas that touched the wounds of Christ after His resurrection and a piece of the Good Thief's Cross. Those who want to complete the seven-church pilgrimage declared by Saint John Paul II in 2000 can continue to one more stop at the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love. Here a pilgrim pursued by dogs appealed to Our Lady, and she intervened for his safety. Pilgrims began to frequent the site, and a chapel was built here in 1745. Celebrate Mass in one of the churches. Dinner is on your own tonight.
Wednesday, November 15, 2023 - ROME
After breakfast, enjoy the opportunity to join in prayer with Pope Francis and receive his greeting, blessing, and prayers. Begin your afternoon with a visit to the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran. Six Popes are entombed here. Next door is the Holy Staircase (Scala Santa), brought from Pilate's Palace in Jerusalem by Saint Helena in the 4th Century. Climbing the stairs on your knees is a devotion that many pilgrims perform, and a plenary indulgence is granted for completing this feat.
Thursday, November 16, 2023 - TIVOLI/SAN GIOVANNI ROTUNDO
Depart Rome and travel to Tivoli, the resort villas of Roman emperors and others who sought to escape the crowds of Rome. This afternoon, travel to San Giovanni Rotundo overnight.
Friday, November 17, 2023 - SAN GIOVANNI ROTUNDO - PADRE PIO - MOUNT ST. ANGELO
Visit the Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church, erected in 2004, and walk the Way of the Cross on the forested hillside nearby. This afternoon, we will continue to Mount St. Angelo. The Sanctuary of Mount St. Angelo was built in the 13th Century by Charles of Anjou. The archangel Michael appeared here in 490, 492, and 1656 consecrating the shrine and sacred cave. You'll have time for reflection and prayer before returning to your hotel overnight. Dinner on your own this evening.
Saturday, November 18 - RETURN TO ROME.
This morning, you will travel back to Rome. Enjoy a free afternoon and evening in the city to explore on your own. Check into your hotel in Rome overnight.
Sunday, November 19, 2023 - RETURN TO THE USA
Transfer to the airport for your return to the USA.