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 tour escort, who will accompany us throughout our journey. We enjoy a panoramic tour of the city and then go to our hotel for dinner and the evening. (D)
DAY 3: ROME: AM: PAPAL AUDIENCE / PM: ST. PETER’S
We make our way to Vatican City to attend the General Papal Audience at Pope Paul VI Audience Hall (subject to the Holy Father’s schedule). After our visit we will have time for lunch on our own and time to shop at some of the excellent religious articles shops in the Vatican area. This afternoon our guide will show us the Basilica of St. Peter. We then will have free time to visit the Vatican Museum if you wish. Dinner is at our hotel tonight. (B, D)
DAY 4: ROME: MAJOR BASILICAS AND CLASSIC ROME
We begin our day with a visit to the Basilica of St. Mary Major, the largest church in Rome dedicated to the Blessed Mother. We continue to 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.
This afternoon our walking tour will start at the Trevi Fountain, where we toss our traditional three coins. 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, then across the city to the Pantheon and we finish our day at the Piazza Navona. We will have some time for browsing and shopping. Dinner is at our hotel tonight. (B, D)
DAY 5: ROME: EXCURSION TO ASSISI
Today we visit this “quiet medieval town, imbued with the mystical spirit of one of the most fascinating characters of history.” The town of Assisi is nestled on the side of Mount Subasio, resting majestically in the Umbrian plain. This town was home to Ss. Francis and Clare. Our guide will meet us for a visit of St. Francis’ Basilica, where we celebrate Mass at the Tomb of St. Francis. We will later enjoy a walking tour of town, including the Church of San Rufino (with St. Francis’ baptismal font), and the Basilica of St. Clare (where her incorrupt body lies in repose).
This afternoon we meet at the Piazza near St. Clare’s Church and take taxis up to the Eremo delle Carceri (Hermitage), secluded some 2 1/2 miles outside the town of Assisi. Here is where St. Francis often retired to pray. In the midst of the lush green forest and the singing birds, one gets a deep sense of the spirit of St. Francis. We take some time for our own private reflections here. We then make our way to Rome for dinner and overnight. (B, D)
DAY 6: ROME: ANCIENT ROME, ST. PETER IN CHAINS, ST. PAUL’S OUTSIDE THE WALLS
This afternoon 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. The last stop on our tour will be the Church of St. Peter in Chains, featuring Michelangelo’s famous statue of Moses.
This afternoon we visit 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. Our day’s tour concludes with a visit to the Catacombs of St. Calixtus. Dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)
DAY 7: RETURN USA
This morning we transfer to the Rome airport to board 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.