Shrines of Italy & Medjugorje
Group Leader: Betty Floyd
April 30 - May 13, 2018
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- One way flight from Rome to Medjugorje
- Centrally located hotels: (or similar)
- ~ 2 nights: Centro di Spiritualita Padre Pio, San Giovanni Rotondo
- ~ 3 nights: Hotel Giotto, Assisi
- ~ 4 Nights in a modern Pansion/Hotel with private baths
- Breakfast and Dinner daily
- Wine with dinners
- Assistance of a professional local Catholic guide(s)
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Mass daily & Spiritual activities
- Meeting with visionaries (pending availability)
- Visit to Community Cenacolo
- Free Wifi (in Medjugorje)
- Luggage handling (1 piece per person)
- Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
- Lunches, Tips to your guide & driver.
Monday, April 30 | Depart for Rome
Make your way to your local airport, where you will board your overnight flight(s). Your meals will be served on board.
Tuesday, May 1 | Arrive Rome
Welcome to Rome, also known as, "The Eternal City." Upon arrival at Rome airport, collect your luggage in the baggage claim area, and continue to the arrival's hall, where you will be greeted by a tour escort and/or driver. You will make your way to the bus and transfer to your hotel. Following check-in, you will have free time to unpack and relax, or explore Rome on your own. Your tour escort may suggest places to visit. Later in the afternoon, your group will meet in the hotel lobby for a "Meet and Greet" with your fellow pilgrims and depart for Mass. Following Mass, you will attend a welcome dinner. After dinner, you will have the opportunity to walk to St. Peter's Square as a group, for the Rosary (optional).
Wednesday, May 2 | Rome: Papal Audience - Basilica of St. John the Lateran - Holy Steps - Basilica of St. Mary Major
After a nice breakfast at your hotel, your sightseeing day in Rome starts! The tour begins with the Papal Audience in St. Peter's Square! The Audience is celebrated each Wednesday by His Holiness, Pope Francis (pending the papal schedule). Following the Audience, there will be free time for lunch, or shop, or mail a postcard from the Vatican Post Office. This afternoon you will visit the oldest of the four major basilicas in Rome, and the home to the relics of Peter and Paul, the Basilica of St. John the Lateran. This Basilica is where Pope Francis was installed as Bishop of Rome, and where he officiates as the Bishop of Rome. Next, we will cross the street to visit the Holy Staircase. Tradition states that this staircase is from Pontius Pilate's palace of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus. It is also said that this Staircase was brought to Rome by St. Helen in the 4th century. If time permits, you may climb the steps on your knees, in memory of Christ's agonizing Passion. To conclude your day, we will proceed to the Basilica of St. Mary Major. This Basilica contains a relic from the Manger of the Infant Jesus. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
*The Scala Santa is currently under restoration. Thus, the Vatican has displayed an image replicating the stairs in front of the entrance where you will walk in. There are several staircases just to the side of the Scala Santa that you may ascend on your knees. You will still be able to receive the same graces and indulgences by going up any of the alternative stairs.
Thursday, May 3 | Rome: St. Peter's Basilica - Vatican Museum - Trevi Fountain - Appian Way - Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls - Catacombs
This morning you will enjoy an early breakfast before making your way to the largest Christendom Church, St. Peter's Basilica. This Basilica was built on the site where St. Peter, the first Pope and Bishop of Rome, was martyred. Also, it was Our Holy Father, Pope Francis who was the first Pontiff to visit the necropolis since extensive archaeological excavations were conducted at the ancient site decades ago. It is here that you will view Michelangelo's Pieta. This stunning marble sculpture depicts the Virgin Mary holding Christ after His crucifixion, death, and removal off the cross before being placed in the tomb. Continue to proceed to the Vatican Museums. At the world-renowned museum, you will see the most impressive of edifices, galleries, and awe-inspiring relics. Additionally, you will observe the Tapestry Gallery, Raphael Rooms, Sistine Chapel, and Michelangelo's Masterpiece, the restored mural of the Last Judgment. The final stop on your Vatican tour is at the tomb of Saint John Paul II. Afterward, you will be transferred to the Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain), where you may enjoy some free time on your own for lunch. Continue on your short journey down the Appian Way, the earliest road of Ancient Rome. This road leads to the Domino Quo Vadis Chapel, the Baths of Caracalla, the Arch of Drusus, the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, and the catacombs of St. Callixtus. The day concludes with a visit to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. Originally founded by Emperor Constantine in the 4th Century, this Basilica is the burial places of Saint Paul the Apostle. We will make our way to a local restaurant for dinner. Following dinner, feel free to explore the streets of Rome, or return to the hotel for overnight.
Friday, May 4 | Rome - Monte Cassino - San Giovanni Rotondo
Following breakfast, you will board your bus to enjoy the scenic route to Montecassino. Passing through the Roman countryside that is known for its villas and vineyards. During the bus ride, your tour escort will share interesting information regarding the spiritual, historical, and cultural aspects of Italy. Montecassino, the principle monastery of the Benedictine Order, was founded by Saint Benedict around 530 A.D. Following the tour, there will be an opportunity to visit the gift shop, before we board the bus to continue toward San Giovanni Rotondo, the hometown of Saint Padre Pio. Upon arrival in San Giovanni Rotondo, you will check-in, enjoy dinner in the restaurant, and overnight.
Saturday, May 5 | San Giovanni Rotondo (View Incorrupt Body of St. Padre Pio) - Monte Sant' Angel
This morning, after breakfast we will visit the Old Church. After Mass we will tour the
sanctuary, it is here you will view the crucifix, in front of which St. Pio received the
stigmata. Visit the confessional from where St. Pio spent an innumerable amount of
hours listening to confessions. Next, we will board the bus and travel along the
beautiful Gargano Peninsula to the Grotto of St. Michael the Archangel, a shrine
consecrated by St. Michael. At this grotto, St. Michael appeared to a Bishop to assure
him that his diocese would not be annihilated as he feared. Following the visit to the
grotto, enjoy free time. On the way back to San Giovanni Rotondo view breathtaking
views of the ocean and surrounding
countryside. Upon arrival you will have time
for devotion and reflection. Dinner and
*Candlelight Procession - Between May and October attend the weekly Candlelight Procession at the Sanctuary of St. Pio after dinner, at 9:00 PM. These processions are lit by candlelight, and are guided by the Most Holy Rosary. Following this prayerful experience, you will return to your hotel for a restful overnight.
Sunday, May 6 | San Giovanni Rotondo - Lanciano - Assisi
After breakfast, we will head to Lanciano. Upon arrival in Lanciano, we will celebrate Mass at the Church of St. Longinus. This Church is the site of the Eucharistic Miracle that occurred in the eighth century. At the time of the Miracle, there was a Basilian monk who struggled with the belief in the real presence of The Lord Jesus in the Eucharist. During the time of Mass, the monk, with doubt in his voice, said the "Words of Consecration" and the bread turned into living flesh, and the wine transformed into live blood. There will be some free time to explore Lanciano, before continuing to Assisi, the hometown of St. Francis. Upon arrival in Assisi, you will enjoy dinner, before retiring to your room for a restful night's sleep.
Monday, May 7 | Assisi (The Life of a Saint)
Enjoy an early breakfast, followed by a full day of touring the hometown of St. Francis. St. Francis is the "Patron Saint of Animals and the Environment." Additionally, he is responsible for founding the Franciscan Order, and the inspiration for our Holy Father, Pope Francis. He chose his name in admiration of the Saint of Nature, and Servant to the Poor. Known for being a humble man himself, Pope Francis spent most of his life denying the luxuries of life. He preferred to live in simplicity and humility, while giving up all other worldly possessions, just as St. Francis did. As we visit the birthplace of St. Francis, you will become captivated as the atmosphere has not changed since St. Francis began his ministry, in the early 13th-century. We will start our tour at the St. Francis Basilica, visit his tomb of St. Francis, and have the opportunity to view a series of frescoes depicting his life, along with a few of the saint's possessions. From there, we will continue on a walking tour through this picturesque town, including the birthplace of St. Francis, and ending with a tour of the Church that honors St. Clare, the foundress of the Poor Clare Sisters. This Saint followed the teachings of St. Francis very closely by also living a life of poverty and humility. Enjoy some free time on your own - you may take this time for additional prayer, shop in the many gift shops or enjoy a nice lunch. After lunch, we will board the bus, which will take us outside of the walls of Assisi, to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. This is where St. Francis spent most of life. This Basilica is made up of two structures, both of which you will visit. The first structure, is the "Porziuncola", which is where St. Francis founded his order of the Friar Minor (Franciscans). The second, is the "Capella del Transito", which is the place of St. Francis' death. During your time here, you will have the opportunity to visit the beautiful Rose Garden where St. Francis and other friars lived, as well as the cave where the Saint retired to pray. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Tuesday, May 8 | Assisi - Cascia- Assisia
After breakfast, we will drive through the beautiful Umbrian mountains, to Cascia, the hometown of St. Rita. Celebrate Mass at the Basilica of St. Rita of Cascia. After Mass we will visit the Basilica, which houses the bodies of St. Rita and St. Theresa Fasce. You will visit the convent, where the saintly cloistered sisters still live and view St. Rita's holy cell. You will have time for personal prayer and reflection, followed by a walk through the quaint streets of Cascia, full of small specialty shops back to our bus to return to Assisi. Enjoy a free afternoon , stroll through the streets of Assisi, or perhaps take some time for personal prayer and reflection at St. Francis Basilica. Dinner and overnight.
Wednesday, May 9 | Assisi - Rome - Medjugorje
Today departure from Italy for your flight (s) to Medjugorje. Upon arrival, you'll will be greeted by your tour guide and/or driver, who will take you on the 2 1/2 hour drive to the village of Medjugorje. Dinner and overnight
Thursday, May 10 | Saturday, May 12 | Medjugorje
The most beautiful feature of Medjugorje is its simplicity, and its peace. While in Medjugorje, you will have the opportunity to experience your faith grow, and share in the faith journey of pilgrims from all over the world. The local guide will accompany your group throughout your stay in the village.
Sunday, May 13 | Medjugorje - USA
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, we transfer for Dubrovnik Airport (Split or Sarajevo) for return flights home.