Fr. Dwight Longenecker
Fr. Longenecker is the parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, South Carolina. A former Evangelical and Anglican priest, he is a popular blogger, author and conference speaker. Learn more about Fr. Longenecker at his website: dwightlongenecker.com.
Trip Itinerary: *
Day 1. Wednesday, May 3: USA – Rome
Depart today towards Rome, Italy.
Day 2. Thursday, May 4: Rome – Siena
Welcome to Italy! Upon arrival into Rome, transfer via private motor-coach to Siena, home of St. Catherine of Siena, patron saint of Italy. Visit Siena’s Duomo, one of Italy’s greatest cathedrals, a spectacular mixture of sculpture, paintings, and Pisan-influenced Romanesque-Gothic architecture. Next, visit Piazza del Campo, Italy’s loveliest piazza, which occupies the site of the old Roman forum. Cafés, restaurants, and fine medieval palazzi now line the Campo’s fringes. Arrive at your hotel in Siena for a welcome dinner and overnight. (WD)
Day 3. Friday, May 5: Siena – Sant’Antimo – Assisi
Today’s first visit will be to the Gothic Church of San Domenico, where the preserved head of the city’s patroness, St. Catherine of Siena, can be seen. The church has the only portrait of the saint considered authentic. Next, visit the Casa di Santa Caterina surrounded by chapels and cloisters. Among them is the Church of the Crucifixion, in front of which she received the stigmata. After lunch on your own, travel south to visit the Abbey of Sant’Antimo, boasting one of the most beautiful Romanesque churches in Italy. Tradition says that the original Benedictine monastery was founded by Charlemagne in thanksgiving for a miraculous healing against the plague which had struck his army. On the way to Assisi, stop at a local vineyard to sample some Tuscan wine. Dinner and overnight in Assisi. (BB, D)
Day 4. Saturday, May 6: Assisi – Norcia – Cascia
This morning your guided sightseeing in Assisi will include 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. In St. Mary of the Angels Basilica visit the Porziuncola Chapel, where St. Francis spent most of his life; the rose bush; and the cave where the saint retired for prayer. Then, visit the Church of St. Clare to venerate the saint’s relics. She was the foundress of the Order of Poor Clares and followed the teachings of St. Francis by living in poverty and humility. Continue to Norcia where in 480 AD, St. Benedict and his sister St. Scholastica were born. There, visit the church and the Monastery of St. Benedict, built on the actual house in which the twin saints were born. Continue south for a short drive to Cascia, home of St. Rita patron saint of the impossible, for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)
Day 5. Sunday, May 7: Cascia – Lanciano – Manoppello – Rome
Early this morning, travel to Lanciano, a small medieval town, nestled in from the coast of the Adriatic Sea. In the 8th century AD, in the little church of St. Legontian, a Basilian monk was having doubts about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. During Mass, after the two-fold consecration, the Host was changed into live flesh, and the wine was changed into live blood. The Host-Flesh can still be seen today. Pray before this Miracle of the Heart of Jesus. Afterwards, continue to Manoppello to venerate the Veil of Veronica. This relic has the image of the face of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Arrive into Rome for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)
Day 6. Monday, May 8: Rome
Begin your sightseeing in the Eternal City with a visit to the magnificent St. Peter’s Basilica, constructed on the site of the hallowed tomb of the apostle, resplendent with mosaics, art treasures, and gold. Among the basilica’s most precious relics include a portion of the wood of the True Cross, and part of the lance that pierced Christ’s side. Touch the beloved statue of St. Peter and admire Michelangelo’s Pieta. Render homage to the many buried popes. Continue with a visit to the catacombs, where the early Christians were buried, and to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, originally founded by Emperor Constantine to house the Apostle’s remains. Afterwards, visit St. John Lateran Basilica, the mother of all churches and the cathedral of the bishop of Rome, and the Scala Santa, containing the Holy Stairs that Jesus Christ ascended during His Passion in Pontius Pilate’s palace. Finally, visit the Basilica of 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)
Day 7. Tuesday, May 9: Rome
The day starts with a walking guided tour of downtown Rome. Begin with the famous Spanish Steps. Shaped like a crooked bow tie, and surrounded by muted, shuttered facades, Piazza di Spagna is the most well-known square in Rome. It was built in the 17th century to house the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See. Then, visit Sant’Andrea delle Fratte where St. Maximilian Kolbe celebrated his first Mass and Alphonse Ratisbonne’s conversion took place. Admire Rome’s largest and most famous fountain, the Trevi. Nearby visit the Church of St. Ignatius, housing the relics of St. Aloysius of Gonzaga, St. John Berchmans, and St. Robert Bellarmine. Continue to Santa Maria Sopra Minerva with an immense amount of art treasures. The tomb of St. Catherine of Siena lies beneath the main altar. Across the street, visit the Pantheon, the best-preserved monument from ancient Rome, thanks to its transformation into a church in 609. It is said that the day the building was consecrated, 28 wagons of martyrs’ bones were transported here, taken from various city cemeteries. This event is the origin of All Saints’ Day (November 1), instituted by Gregory IV in the 9th century. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. This evening have an optional private tour of the Vatican Museums. Dinner is on your own. (BB)
Day 8. Wednesday, May 10: Rome
This morning at the Vatican, attend the weekly Papal Audience. Afterwards, visit the nearby Romanesque Church of S. Lorenzo in Piscibus dedicated to St. Lawrence, deacon and martyr. The appellation in piscibus comes from the nearby fish market. In the afternoon, take an optional tour of artwork at Roman churches with historian Elizabeth Lev. Tonight dinner is on your own to sample one of Rome’s excellent restaurants. (BB)
Day 9. Thursday, May 11: Rome
Visit the Church of St. Clement, named after St. Peter’s third successor, built on the house where the saint was born and offering a centuries-long collection of monuments that traverses most of the city’s history. Continue to visit the Coliseum, Rome’s greatest amphitheater which staged the martyrdom of many early Christians, and the Roman Forum, which was the political, ceremonial, and economic center of Rome during the Republic. In S. Pietro in Vincoli, see the chains that bound St. Peter in the prisons of Jerusalem. This basilica’s many works of art include Michelangelo’s Moses. Finish the day’s sightseeing with a visit to the Basilica of St. Mary Major, 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. The basilica was built on the site where a miraculous snowfall occurred in August of 356. Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner to celebrate the end of such a memorable pilgrimage. Overnight in Rome. (BB, FD)
Day 10. Friday, May 12: Homebound flight
Transfer to Rome Fiumicino airport for your return flight to the USA. (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 trip information, please contact Catholic Heritage Tours.