DAY 1: DEPART USA
We depart the USA en route to Rome, with complimentary meals and beverages served aloft.
DAY 2: ARRIVE ROME / VISIT THE BASILICA OF ST. PAUL
We arrive in Rome and are met by our Catholic Travel Centre representative, 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. Dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)
DAY 3: ROME: PAPAL AUDIENCE, ST. PETER’S BASILICA & LEISURE TIME
This morning we attend the General Papal Audience (subject to the Holy Father’s schedule). This afternoon we visit the Basilica of St. Peter with our local guide, calling to mind Ignatius’ mystical experience in the Basilica on March 6, 1541. We will see Michelangelo’s famous statue of the Blessed Mother holding her crucified Son. We know this masterpiece a 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, and you may wish to visit the Vatican Museum on your own. Tonight we enjoy dinner at a nearby restaurant. (B, D)
DAY 4: ROME: GESÚ, ROOMS OF IGNATIUS, COLLEGIO ROMANO & SAN IGNAZIO
Today we visit the Church of the Gesú, the Mother Church of the Ignation Order, begun in 1568. We will visit and celebrate Mass in the Rooms of St. Ignatius. After Mass, we enjoy a light lunch at a local restaurant.
We visit the Collegio Romano, where Robert Bellarmine served as rector toward the end of the 16th century; Aloysius Gonzaga was a student at
this same time. We will visit the rooms of St. Robert Bellarmine. We continue to the Church of San Ignazio, begun in the early 17th century to serve the needs of the community at the Collegio Romano.
We make a stop at the Church of the Twelve Apostles. Ignatius had started a group of twelve laymen who met here. Their mission: to serve secretly the poor who might otherwise be unwilling to be seen accepting assistance publicly. Dinner this evening will be on our own, giving us the opportunity to explore the Roman restaurant scene. (B, L)
DAY 5: ROME: LA STORTA, BASILICA OF ST. MARY MAJOR & JESUIT SITES
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.
From the Piazza del Popolo we continue on foot down the Via del Corso to the Spanish Steps. You may wish to climb the stairs to gain a romantic panoramic view of the city of Rome. We proceed to the Piazza of the Pantheon. In this Piazza Ignatius used to teach the catechism. We finish our day at the Piazza Navona, a popular gathering space for Romans today. We will take some time for lunch on our own.
This afternoon we visit the Basilica of St. Mary Major where on Christmas Day in 1538, Ignatius celebrated his first Mass. We then begin a walking tour, including the Church of Sant’ 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. Our day concludes with a brief visit to the Gregorian University. Dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)
DAY 6: ROME: ANCIENT ROME – COLISEUM, CATACOMBS & ST. PAUL’S BASILICA
This morning we enjoy a tour of some of the sites of Ancient Rome, including the Forum and Coliseum. Its real name was the Flavian Amphitheatre, after the 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. We will drive by the Forum and enter into the Coliseum. Lunch is on our own.
This afternoon we continue with a visit to the Catacombs of St. Calixtus,
housing the tombs of the early Christians. We complete our day at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, where on April 22, 1541, Ignatius and five Companions made their solemn vows, then celebrated Mass at the altar of the Virgin. We remember them as we celebrate e the final Mass of our pilgrimage. This evening we gather for a festive farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (B, D)
DAY 7: RETURN USA
After breakfast this morning we transfer to the Rome airport for our return flight to the United States. (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.