Thursday, April 24: USA – Rome
Depart towards Rome. Complimentary meals and beverages served on the plane.
Friday, April 25: Rome
Welcome to the Eternal City! Upon arrival into Rome, board your private motor-coach. En route to the Catacombs, enjoy a panoramic view of the Roman Forum, which was Rome’s ceremonial center under the Empire, and the Coliseum, where early Christians were martyred. At the Catacombs, the hiding place of Christians during the persecutions, visit the burial sites and chapels were Masses used to be celebrated. Your next visit is to the Basilica of St. Paul to render homage to the great Apostle of the gentiles. Tonight, enjoy a welcome drink and dinner at the hotel with fellow travelers. Overnight in Rome. (WD)
Saturday, April 26: Rome
This morning, enjoy a walking tour of Rome’s center. Visit Chiesa Nuova, the burial place of St. Philip Neri, and dedicated to St. Gregory and the Blessed Virgin; Piazza Navona, a popular gathering place with spectacular fountains; the Pantheon, the best preserved monument from ancient Rome, thanks to its transformation into a church in 609; and S. Maria Sopra Minerva, to render homage to St. Catherine of Siena, patron saint of Italy. The afternoon is free; you may take advantage and continue exploring downtown Rome. Be sure to visit the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps while browsing churches and stores in the area. Tonight dinner is on your own to enjoy Rome’s excellent Italian restaurants. Overnight in Rome. (BB)
Sunday, April 27: Rome
Today attend the canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. (BB, D)
(Since a very large crowd is expected to attend the Canonization, we cannot predict where the group will be and what exactly will be seen; however, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime spiritual experience. The group will likely be standing for many hours and restroom facilities may be scarce.)
Monday, April 28: Rome
Today embark on a guided sightseeing of Rome’s main basilicas including St. Peter’s Basilica, the main church of Christendom and burial place of St. Peter the Apostle and many Popes and martyrs. Visit also the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. Afterwards, visit S. Maria Maggiore, which houses two of Christianity’s greatest treasures: the manger from Bethlehem in which the Baby Jesus was laid following His birth, and a painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Salvation of the Roman people. This basilica was built on the site where a miraculous snowfall occurred in August of 356. Then, visit St. John Lateran, the mother of all churches, also known as the Redeemer, because of the apparition of the face of Christ on the day of its consecration. Close to this basilica is the largest relic in the Christian world, the Scala Santa. These Holy Steps are the staircase from the Praetorian Palace, where drops of Jesus’ blood fell after He was flagellated. Continue to Holy Cross in Jerusalem, founded by Constantine in 320 to house the relics of Christ’s Passion, brought back from the Holy Land by his mother, St. Helena. Dinner and overnight in Rome. (BB, D)
Tuesday, April 29: Rome: Optional Excursion to Assisi
The optional excursion to Assisi includes guided sightseeing with visits to: St. Mary of the Angels Basilica that houses the Porziuncola Chapel, where St. Francis spent most of his life; the rose bush; and the cave where the saint retired for prayer. Continue to visit the Church of St. Clare to venerate the saint’s relics. She followed the teachings of St. Francis by living in poverty and humility; she founded the Order of Poor Clares. Visit also the imposing 13th-century Basilica of St. Francis, where the great saint is buried. It houses also many of the saint’s possessions and a series of frescos depicting his life. Enjoy some free time to explore this lovely medieval town, before returning to Rome. Tonight dinner is on your own. Overnight in Rome. (BB)
Wednesday, April 30: Rome: Optional Excursion to Subiaco and Genazzano
Optional excursion to Subiaco to render homage to St. Benedict and his sister St. Scholastica. In the 6th century St. Benedict, the founder of western monasticism, left Rome to become a hermit in a cave above Subiaco. He founded 12 monasteries in the area, but only two now survive. Take a guided visit of the monasteries of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica, including the ancient library. After lunch, drive to Genazzano to venerate the miraculous image of Our Lady of Good Counsel. This miraculous image traveled from Albania, crossed the Adriatic Sea, and descended onto one of the church’s unfinished walls. The portrait is suspended in the air and has been so for over 500 years. It is one of the most miraculous and venerated images of Our Lady in Italy. Return to Rome for overnight. (BB, D)
Thursday, May 1: Rome
Enjoy a free day in this magnificent city. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner to celebrate the success of this wonderful pilgrimage. (BB, FD)
Friday, May 2: Rome
Transfer to Rome’s Fiumicino airport for your outbound flight to the USA arriving the same day.
(BB) Buffet breakfast; (D) Dinner; (WD) Welcome dinner; (FD) Farewell dinner
* In case of unforeseen events, this itinerary is subject to change.
About the Pilgrimage Chaplain
Rev. Fr. Patrick J. Fletcher, Ph.D. was Cardinal Karol Wojtyla’s (Pope John Paul II’s) English professor and taught in his seminary in Cracow, Poland for seven years. During that time, on Christmas Day 1975, the future pontiff predicted Fr. Fletcher’s ordination to the priesthood. Ten years later, Pope John Paul II, his former student, ordained him a priest. Fr. Fletcher joined the Air Force in 1989 and is now retired and lives in Wisconsin.
For more information, please contact Catholic Heritage Tours today.