DAY 1: DEPART USA
We depart en route to Rome with complimentary meals and beverages served aloft.
DAY 2: ARRIVE ROME
We arrive in Rome and are met by our Catholic Travel Centre representative, who will accompany us throughout our pilgrimage. We transfer to our hotel and dinner is served at a local restaurant nearby. (D)
DAY 3: ROME: ST. PETER’S, VATICAN MUSEUM & LEISURE
This morning we start with Mass at the Tomb of St. Peter. Then we visit the tomb of Pope John Paul II. We continue with a tour of the Vatican Museum, where our visit is highlighted by the Sistine Chapel, featuring Michelangelo’s masterworks. We will then visit the Basilica of St. Peter with our local guide. We will see Michelangelo’s famous statue of the Blessed Mother holding her crucified Son. We know it as The Pieta. You will have time for browsing in the excellent religious article shops in the area. The balance of the afternoon is at leisure. Dinner is served at a local restaurant close to our hotel. (B, D)
DAY 4: ROME: CATACOMBS, ST. JOHN LATERAN & LEISURE
This morning we visit the Catacombs of St. Calixtus, the underground burial site of the early Christians.
In the afternoon we pay a visit to the Basilica of St. John Lateran. It is here that St. Francis persuaded Pope Innocent III to give permission to begin the Franciscan Order. The night before, the Pope had seen a man in a dream and the man was supporting the tottering building of St. John Lateran. The next day, when Francis appeared before Pope Innocent, His Holiness recognized the face from the dream and consented to Francis’s request. Here we attend the public Mass. Nearby is the Scala Santa, purportedly the stairs which Christ climbed prior to his condemnation by Pontius Pilate. The rest of the evening is at leisure. Dinner is served at a local restaurant close to our hotel. (B, D)
DAY 5, ROME: FULL DAY EXCURSION TO NURSIA & ASSISI
Today we make a full day’s excursion to Nursia and Assisi. Our first stop is Nursia, the birthplace of St. Benedict, as well as the abbots of St. Spes and St. Eutychius. We visit the Monastery of St. Benedict. We continue our journey to Assisi. Here we visit the Basilica constructed over St. Francis’ tomb where we celebrate Mass. We visit as well the Church of San Damiano. It was here that the ‘San Damiano Cross’ hung when it ‘spoke’ to Francis, urging him to “rebuild My Church.” Francis interpreted the dream literally and went to work on repairing the building at San Damiano. Only later did he understand the deeper meaning of the dream.
We continue then to the Church of St. Clare, where St. Clare lies in repose. Here too we see the original ‘San Damiano’ crucifix that spoke to Francis. Boarding our motorcoach, we transfer to the town below to visit the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, containing the Porziuncola, built in part by St. Francis. Nearby marks the site where Francis surrendered to “Sister Death.” We make our way back to Rome for the evening. Dinner is served at a local restaurant close to our hotel. (B, D)
DAY 6: ROME: EXCURSION TO MONTECASSINO & SAN ANSELMO SEMINARY
We depart Rome this morning and make our way to the Benedictine Abbey of Montecassino, perhaps the most famous monastery in the world, founded by Benedict of Nursia in the year 529. Here, Benedict wrote his RULE OF ST. BENEDICT. He died here, forty days after his sister Scholastica. Both are buried here. Montecassino served as a beacon of civilization throughout the Middle Ages. Western Monasticism, a movement that influenced much of the social and economic history of Europe had its roots here.
We return to Rome for an afternoon visit of San Anselmo Seminary. We celebrate Mass at St. Anselmo church. Then we visit the College of St. Anselm (Sant’Anselmo) founded in 1887 by Pope Leo XIII as an international school of theology for Benedictines. The primary goal of San Anselmo is to provide quality theological education both to the Benedictine Confederation, other monastic congregations, and to the Church Universal. Dinner is served at a local restaurant close to our hotel. (B, D)
DAY 7: ROME: PAPAL AUDIENCE, PLUS OPTIONAL WALKING TOUR
This morning we make our way to Vatican City to the Pope Paul VI Audience Hall to attend the General Papal Audience with the Holy Father (subject to Vatican schedule).
After lunch on our own, the afternoon is at leisure. For those interested, our guide will lead us on a walking tour of Rome, starting at the Trevi Fountain, where we toss our traditional three coins. From here we continue to the Piazza Trinita dei Monti at the top of the Spanish Steps, affording a romantic panoramic view of the city of Rome. Our tour continues across the city to the Pantheon and we finish our day at the Piazza Navona. You may wish to visit some of the ice cream shops serving the Italian gelato! Dinner is served at a local restaurant close to our hotel. (B, D)
DAY 8: ROME: ST. PAUL’S OUTSIDE THE WALLS & ST. MARY MAJOR, LEISURE
This morning we make our way to the Basilica of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls, housing the Tomb of St. Paul the Apostle, affectionately known as the Apostle of the Gentiles. Here we celebrate Mass. Then we visit the Basilica of St. Mary Major, the largest church in Rome dedicated to the
Blessed Mother. We also visit the Church of St. Alphonsus which houses the original icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The balance of the day is at leisure, perhaps for some last minute shopping. Dinner is served at a local restaurant close to our hotel. (B, D)
DAY 9: ROME: EXCURSION TO SUBIACO AND TIVOLI
Today we travel to Subiaco, where we visit the Monastery of Saint Scholastica, the twin sister of St. Benedict. St. Scholastica was founder of the first community of Benedictine nuns, and Abbess of the Subiaco Monastery. Here we celebrate Mass. Later, we travel to Tivoli, where we enjoy a festive farewell dinner before returning to Rome for the evening. (B, D)
DAY 10: RETURN USA
After breakfast we transfer to the Rome airport for our return flight to the USA. (B)
NOTE: While no changes are anticipated, there might be occasions when certain alterations become necessary to this itinerary due to changes in airline schedules or for other reasons. All Masses are subject to final church schedules.