Spiritual Director: Fr. Stephen Vrazel
November 4 - 15, 2019
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare from Mobile (MOB)
- Airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Centrally located hotels: (or similar)
- ~ Nov 05 -15: Hotel Della Conciliazione, Rome
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Breakfast and Dinner daily
- Wine with dinners
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Wireless headsets where needed
- Assistance of a professional local guide(s) in Rome, Ostia, Subiaco, Orvieto, Bagnoregio, Rieti and Castel Gandolfo
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Tips to Hotel Staff and Restaurants
- Mass daily & Spiritual activities
- Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
- Lunches or Beverages unless mentioned. Tips to your guide & driver.
Mon, Nov 04: 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.
Tue, Nov 05: 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 Arrivals 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).
Wed, Nov 06: Rome: Papal Audience, North American College
Breakfast in the hotel. Early in the morning we will depart for Saint Peter's Square where we will be able to attend the Papal Audience. The Audience is celebrated each Wednesday by His Holiness, Pope Francis (pending the papal schedule). Following the Audience, we will walk to the North American College. In 1884, The North American College was granted pontifical status placing it under the special patronage of the Apostolic See and the care of the Holy Father. The seminary community is composed of students sponsored by dioceses from across the United States and Canada who devote themselves to personal formation for priestly ministry under the attentive guidance, supervision and evaluation of a formation faculty of priests and religious. After the visit to the North American College there will be time for lunch on your own. In the afternoon we will continue with the visit of St. John in the Lateran, cathedral of Rome and site where first popes lived; the Holy Stairs, brought to Rome from Jerusalem by St. Helen, are the stairs walked by Jesus when He was brought to Pontius Pilate; Holy Cross in Jerusalem basilica, former house of St. Helen, mother of the Emperor Constantine and where many of the relics she brought back from Jerusalem are preserved; St. Mary the Major basilica, the oldest basilica dedicated to Our Lady and where a relic from the Manger of the Infant Jesus is located. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Thu, Nov 07: Rome - Ostia - Nettuno - Rome
Breakfast in the hotel. This morning we will depart towards Ostia to visit the archeological site of Ostia Antica, original port of Rome. At the mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia was Rome's seaport, but due to silting the site now lies 2 miles from the sea. The site is noted for the excellent preservation of its ancient buildings, magnificent frescoes and impressive mosaics, a perfect example of a Roman city where it is still possible to understand how life was conducted at Roman time. In the afternoon transfer to Nettuno to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Graces and Saint Maria Goretti, where we will be able to see the reliquary that contains the relics of the saint's body and the farmhouse where she was murdered, as well as the room in which she lived. Saint Maria Goretti is Patron Saint of Chastity, teenage girls, youth, victims of rape and perhaps most importantly, forgiveness. She was Beatified in 1947 and Canonized in 1950, celebrating her feast day on July 6th. On the way back to Rome optional visit the American cemetery of Anzio where 7858 American soldiers who died during WWII are buried. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Fri, Nov 08: Rome: Vatican Museums + Saint Peter's & Saint Paul + 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. 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.
Sat, Nov 09: Rome - Subiaco - Rome
Breakfast in the hotel. Today we will do an excursion to Subiaco where the first monastery founded by St. Benedict is located. Nestled in the hillside above the peaceful town of Subiaco, we will find Sacro Speco, the cave to which St. Benedict retreated after being horrified by the sinful nature of the university he'd attended. Immersed in solitude, St. Benedict lived in the cave for three years, surviving on scraps of food lowered down to him by Romanus, a monk from the nearby monastery. The cave is now enshrined by Subiaco Monastery, which remains an active Monastery which welcomes visitors to pray and reflect on the life and asceticism of St. Benedict while enjoying the beautiful setting and medieval frescoes which adorn the church. We will also visit the Abbey of St. Scholastica, founded by St. Benedict and named after his sister. Of the twelve monasteries in the valley constructed by St. Benedict at Subiaco it is the only one to have survived the various earthquakes and destructions. It appears as a complex of buildings built in different periods and styles. The monastery is structured with three cloisters. The first, the "Renaissance cloister," dates back to the 16th century, while the "Gothic Cloister" with pointed arches, is 14th century. The third cloister dates from the 13th century with the colonnade by the brothers Cosmati and ornamented pavements, walls and columns with enamels of gold. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Sun, Nov 10: Rome
Breakfast in the hotel. Today we will enjoy a walking tour of Rome visiting: Chiesa Nuova where the mortal remains of St. Fillip Neri are; Navona square, theatre of naval games in Roman times and now a beautiful square decorated with the fountain of the four rivers made by Bernini; St. Luis of the French church, where there is the famous trilogy of St. Matthew painted by Caravaggio; St. Augustine church where there is the tomb of St. Monica, mother of St. Augustin and a splendid painting by Caravaggio of the Pilgrims' Madonna; the Pantheon, former Roman temple dedicated to all the Gods; St. Mary upon Minerva church, where it's the tomb of St. Catherine of Siena, one of the four women who were proclaimed Doctor of the Church; Chiesa del Gesu where the remains of St. Ignatius of Loyola are together with a relic of St. Francis Xavier. Today we also visit the Capuchin Crypt, a small space comprising several tiny chapels located beneath the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini on the Via Veneto that contains the skeletal remains of 3,700 bodies believed to be Capuchin friars buried by their order. We will end our day with a visit to the Galleria Borghese, located in the former Villa Borghese Pinciana. The Galleria Borghese houses a substantial part of the Borghese collection of paintings, sculpture and antiquities, begun by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the nephew of Pope Paul V. Dinner and overnight in Rome.
Mon, Nov 11: Rome - Orvieto - Bolsena - Rome
Breakfast in the hotel. In the morning we will departure towards Orvieto. We will visit the Duomo of Orvieto (Cathedral), built under the orders of Pope Urban IV to commemorate and provide a suitable home for the Corporal of Bolsena, a miracle that was occurred in 1263 in the nearby town of Bolsena, when a travelling priest who had doubts about the truth of transubstantiation found that his Host was bleeding so much that it stained the altar cloth. The cloth is now stored in the Chapel of the Corporal inside the cathedral. Following this miracle, Pope Urban the IV who was there and interviewed the priest, formally instituted the feast of the Corpus Domini. Of particular importance in the cathedral it's also the Cappella Brizio, where Luca Signorelli has frescoed a famous Last Judgement, studied by Michelangelo while preparing the project of his Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel. In the afternoon, we will head towards Bolsena to visit the church of St. Cristina, where the miracle happened and where, in the catacombs, the remains of the saint where founded. Return to Rome for dinner and overnight.
Tue, Nov 12: Rome - Viterbo - Bagnoregio - Rome
Breakfast in the hotel. In the morning departure towards Viterbo. Viterbo is surrounded by medieval walls, still intact, built during the 11th and 12th centuries. We will entrance to the walled center of the city through ancient gates and we will discover one of the best preserved medieval towns of central Italy which its older buildings are built on top of ancient ruins, recognizable by their large stones. Here we will visit the Palazzo dei Papi (Papal Palace). The Papal Curia was removed to Viterbo in 1257 by Alexander IV, due to the hostility of the Roman commune and constant urban violence: the former bishop's palace of Viterbo was enlarged to provide the Popes with an adequate residence. Viterbo remained the papal seat for twenty-four years. During that period of time, the popes were all elected in the most famous hall of the palace, the Sala del Conclave so called because it was home to the first and longest conclave in history (1268-1271). We will also visit the Cathedral of San Lorenzo. In the afternoon we will continue our journey to Civita di Bagnoregio, home town of St. Bonaventura of Bagnoregio, who also wrote the Legenda Maior which became the official biography of St. Francis of Assisi. Bagnoregio still remain intact on a hill of volcanic tuff overlooking the Tiber river valley and can be reached only walking through a bridge. Return to Rome for dinner and overnight.
Wed, Nov 13: Rome - Greccio - Rieti - Fonte Colombo - Rome
Breakfast in the hotel. In the morning we will departure towards Greccio. In Greccio we will visit the Hermitage of Greccio Sanctuary, one of the four shrines erected by St. Francis of Assisi in the Sacred Valley, along with the Sanctuary of Fonte Colombo, the Sanctuary of the Forest, and the convent of Poggio Bustone. Greccio was the place where, in December 1223, St. Francis made the first Nativity scene. The idea was to discourage the pilgrims from going to Bethlehem, as it was a risky venture because the the Holy Land was under the control of the Turks. Continuation of the journey to Rieti. In Rieti we will visit its city center including the Cathedral consecrated in 1225 and almost entirely rebuilt in 1639. Free time for lunch on your own. In the afternoon we will visit the Sanctuary of Fonte Colombo, where St Francis fasted in meditation for 40 days in order to write his third and last Rule of the Franciscan order, the one that the Church recognized as authentic. He came here three years before his death, when he had already completed his inner journey experience. Return to Rome for dinner and overnight.
Thu, Nov 14: Rome - Castel Gandolfo - Rocca Priora - Rome
Breakfast in the hotel. In the morning we will visit the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo which served as a summer residence and vacation retreat for the pope, and its beautiful gardens. Castel Gandolfo lays on the hill facing Bracciano lake, a quiet place, much beloved by Pope Benedict XVI, who liked to spend there the summer months away from the heat of Rome. In the afternoon we will continue our journey towards Rocca Priora. Rocca Priora, strategically located overlooking the Valle Latina, still offers today a mountain atmosphere and landscapes. It is undoubtedly the coldest in the area with heavy snowfalls every year. Known as the snowfield of Rome, Rocca Priora owes its past fortune to ice trading. The Sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of the Snow remembers and witnesses the close relationship the town had with its particular climate. A walk through the picturesque alleys of the historical center offers glimpses of what seems to be time gone by. Return to Rome for dinner and overnight.
Fri, Nov 15: Rome - Rome Airport
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, transfer to Rome Fiumicino airport for return flights home.