10 Days: An Ignatian Experience in Rome

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DAY 1: DEPART USA

We depart USA 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 escort who will accompany us throughout our Ignatian Experience in Rome. We will pass through the gate of San Sebastiano, through which Ignatius would have first entered the city on Palm Sunday, March 29, 1523. We transfer to our hotel for dinner and the evening. (D)

DAY 3: MAJOR BASILICAS: ST. JOHN LATERAN & ST. MARY MAJOR

This morning we celebrate Mass the Basilica of St. Mary Major, the largest church in Rome dedicated to the Blessed Mother. On Christmas Day in 1538, Ignatius celebrated his first Mass. We then visit the Church of Saint Andrea al Quirinale, built on the site of the first Jesuit novitiate. Former students here include Ss. Stanislaus Kostka, Robert Southwell, and Aloysius Gonzaga. We will visit the tomb and the reconstructed rooms of St. Stanislaus.

This afternoon we visit the Papal 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’ request. Nearby is the Scala Santa, the legendary stairs which Christ climbed prior to his condemnation by Pontius Pilate. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure. Dinner tonight is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 4: ROME: ST. PAUL’S OUTSIDE THE WALLS & CATACOMBS, 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. It was here that On April 22, 1541, Ignatius and five Companions made their solemn vows, and then celebrated Mass at the altar of the Virgin. Here we celebrate Mass. We then proceed to the Catacombs of St. Calixtus, the underground burial site of the early Christians. The balance of the day is at leisure. Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant. (B, D)

DAY 5: ROME: SCAVI TOUR, BASILICA OF ST. PETER & PRIVATE VATICAN MUSEUM

This morning we have an early private Mass at the Tomb of St. Peter. After Mass we have a guided tour of the Scavi, the underground excavations beneath St. Peter’s Basilica (these tickets are always subject to final confirmation 48 hours before the proposed visit). We then have a visit of the Basilica. Here we see one of Michelangelo’s great works, the statue of the Blessed Mother holding her crucified son. We know it as the Pieta. We also visit the tomb of Pope John Paul II. We have some time at leisure to visit some of the excellent religious article shops in the area, or to go on our own up to the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, where you can gain a striking panoramic view of the city.
Later this afternoon we visit the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, where we absorb the beauty of Michelangelo’s masterpiece of The Last Judgment and the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Dinner tonight is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 6: ROME: VISIT OF JESUIT SITES

We begin this morning at Capitoline Hill overlooking the Forum. The stairs leading here to the piazza, the Cordonata, were designed by Michelangelo (as was the geometric pattern in the pavement of the piazza). Walking Michelangelo’s famous staircase, we come to the Gesu Church, the Mother Church of the Jesuit Order, begun in 1568. This is where St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit Order, lies in repose. The building of this church in the 5th century signals the arrival of Christianity in Rome. Here we celebrate Mass. We will visit the Ignatian Rooms nearby here. We will also visit San Ignazio and San Luigi dei Francesi, housing Caravaggio’s St. Matthew and the Angel. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure. Dinner tonight is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 7: ROME: PAPAL AUDIENCE & AFTERNOON AT LEISURE

This morning we transfer to Vatican City to attend the General Papal Audience with the Holy Father (subject to Vatican schedule). The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure to explore the city on your own. Dinner is on our own this evening and our tour escort will have some suggestions on where we can dine. (B)

DAY 8: ROME: LA STORTA & ANCIENT ROME

We board our waiting motor coach for Mass and a visit to La Storta Chapel – marking the site outside the city where Ignatius, en route to Rome, stopped to pray and received his mystical vision with Christ and the Father. We follow Ignatius’ path and enter the city by walking through the Porta del Popolo as Ignatius did with Pierre Favre in November 1537, shortly after his experience at La Storta. In March 1540, another Jesuit, Francis Xavier, set out for Portugal – and subsequently India – passing through this gate. Just inside the city gate we stop to pray at Santa Maria del Popolo, as pilgrims for centuries have done.

This afternoon, after lunch on our own, we embark on a tour featuring sites of Ancient Rome. We see the Roman Forum; we also visit the inside of the Coliseum. Its real name was the Flavian Amphitheater, after emperors who built it in the first century after Christ. Coliseum refers to the ‘colossal’ statue of Nero that at one time stood at the entrance. Dinner tonight is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 9: WALKING TOUR OF THE CITY & TIVOLI EXCURSION

This morning we begin with Mass at the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. We then enjoy a walking tour, 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.
Later this afternoon we drive through the Roman countryside up to Tivoli, built on the slopes of the Sabine Hills. We will visit Villa d’Este, one of the most enchanting of the late Renaissance, famous for its gardens, fountains, cascades and statues. Tonight we will gather together at a local restaurant in Tivoli for a festive farewell dinner. After dinner we return to our hotel in Rome. (B, D)

DAY 10: RETURN USA

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.