Bill Donaghy is a full-time curriculum specialist and faculty member of the Theology of the Body Institute in Downingtown, PA with a special interest in Theology of the Body and Sacred Art. An international speaker for over 15 years in the fields of faith formation and evangelization, Bill was chosen in October 2000 to represent his country in a special tribute for the Jubilee of Missionaries in Rome. He was given a simple cross by St. John Paul II and called by the Holy Father to “bring Jesus back to your country.” He is filled with a passion for his faith and dedicated to spreading the joy of the New Evangelization. Bill has given hundreds of talks and retreats throughout the United States, as well as Canada, Mexico, Chile, Papua New Guinea and Australia. He holds an Associates Degree in Visual Arts, a Bachelors in Philosophy and a Masters in Systematic Theology. He and his wife, Rebecca, live outside of Philadelphia, PA with their three children.
Monday, September 28: USA — Rome
Begin your journey with an overnight flight to Rome, Italy.
Tuesday, September 29: Rome
Welcome to Italy! Upon arrival in Rome’s airport, meet your tour escort and board your private motor-coach for a panoramic view of the city. Enjoy a guided tour of Rome’s downtown and lunch on your own. Time permitting, your sightseeing may include the famous Piazza Navona embellished by its famous Baroque fountains; San Luigi de Francesi, the national church of France in Rome which contains the great works of Caravaggio; the Pantheon, the most extraordinary and best-preserved ancient building in Rome; Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, with its superb collection of art and sculpture from as far back as the 13th century and which houses the remains of St. Catherine of Siena and Fra Angelico; and the Church of Il Gesu, Rome’s first Jesuit church containing the tomb of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the order, and relics of St. Francis Xavier, a Jesuit missionary and apostle of India and Japan. Then, transfer to your hotel for a welcome dinner and overnight. (WD)
Wednesday, September 30: Rome
Early this morning, take your places in St. Peter’s Square for the Papal Audience, where Pope Francis will address and bless the crowd. After lunch on your own, continue your guided sightseeing with visits to the Capitoline Museums containing a Classical collection of Greek and Roman sculptures and paintings. Then, the Church of St. Peter in Chains, housing the chains of the Apostle from his time in prison in Jerusalem and Rome; admire the impressive Moses of Michelangelo. Next, visit the Church of St. Praxedes adorned with glittering Byzantine mosaics. It holds the sacred column where Christ was flagellated and a well where the blood of martyrs was placed. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)
Thursday, October 1: Rome
This morning, visit Santa Maria della Vittoria and admire the statue of the “Ecstasy of St. Teresa of Avila” in the Cornaro Chapel. After a lecture, have lunch at a local restaurant and a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica, the world’s largest church and the center of Christianity, built on the site where St. Peter the Apostle and many other popes and martyrs are buried. Enjoy some free time and an early dinner on your own before your private evening tour of the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums (including the Raphael Rooms). (BB, L)
Friday, October 2: Rome — Florence
Depart today toward the artistic city of Florence. After lunch on your own, visit the beautiful Cathedra di Santa Maria del Fiore, Europe’s fourth largest church and the city’s most famous symbol. Admire its marble pavement and Brunelleschi’s dome. Then, visit the Medici Chapel. Completed in 1524, the Medici Family tomb is opulently decorated with frescoes and semiprecious inlaid stones. Dinner and overnight in Florence. (BB, D)
Saturday, October 3: Florence
After breakfast, visit the Uffizi, Italy’s greatest art gallery, which not only contains the world’s most magnificent collection of Italian Renaissance paintings, but also masterpieces from foreign places such as Holland, Spain, and Germany. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure to experience the local culture and cuisine. (BB)
Sunday, October 4: Florence
Your visits today are to the Convent of San Marco and to the Galleria dell’Accademia. The Convent was founded in the 13th century and contains the great works of Fra Angelico. Cells and cloisters show the simplicity of the life of the Dominican monks. The Accademia holds a massive collection of sculptures and works of art, including the famous David of Michelangelo. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight in Florence. (BB)
Monday, October 5: Florence — Assisi
In the beautiful medieval town of Assisi, visit the imposing 13th-century Basilica of St. Francis, the burial place of the saint, embellished with painted walls of famous Italian artists; and housing many of the saint’s possessions. Continue to the Basilica of St. Clare, housing the tomb of the foundress of the Poor Clares and also the crucifix that bowed and ordered St. Francis to “repair God’s Church.” After lunch on your own, visit the Porziuncola at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels which was St. Francis’ favorite place of prayer and also where he died. Next, visit San Damiano, which became the first convent of the Franciscans. Dinner and overnight in Assisi. (BB, D)
Tuesday, October 6: Assisi — Rome
This morning, travel outside of the city to the hermitage of St. Francis, Eremo delle Carceri to enjoy a morning of lectures in the peaceful setting. After lunch on your own, return to Rome for a farewell dinner with your fellow travelers. (BB, FD)
Wednesday, October 7: Rome — USA
After breakfast, transfer to Rome’s Fiumicino airport for your flight home. (BB)
(BB) Buffet Breakfast; (D) Dinner; (WD) Welcome Dinner; (FD) Farewell Dinner
* In case of unforeseen events, this itinerary is subject to change.
For more information or to register, please contact Catholic Heritage Tours.