A Pilgrimage to Italy

A 12-Day Pilgrimage
With: Fr. Nicholas Ho
April 25 - May 6, 2016

Day 1. Monday, April 25: USA – Rome

Depart today on a transatlantic flight to Rome, Italy.


Day 2. Tuesday, April 26: Rome

Welcome to Rome! Today’s highlights will encompass Ancient Rome. Visit the Catacombs, where the early Christians used to hide and celebrate Mass. At St. Paul Outside the Walls, see the Apostle’s tomb and his prison chains. Then, visit the Coliseum, Rome’s greatest amphitheater which staged the martyrdom of many early Christians. Tonight enjoy a welcome dinner with fellow travelers at your hotel in Rome. (WD)


Day 3. Wednesday, April 27: Rome

Take your places early in St. Peter’s Square to attend the weekly Papal Audience. Afterwards, enjoy a walking tour of downtown Rome including a visit to the Pantheon, the best-preserved monument from ancient Rome thanks to its transformation into a church in 609. Visit the magnificent church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, which houses the tomb of St. Catherine of Siena, patron saint of Italy. Then, visit the impressive Baroque Church of Il Gesu, the Jesuit mother church. Continue to the Trevi Fountain, Rome’s largest and most famous fountain; and the Spanish Steps, in the heart of Piazza di Spagna. Dinner and overnight in Rome. (BB, D)


Day 4. Thursday, April 28: Rome

Today at the Vatican Museums, see the world-famous collection of art and sculptures from centuries of Church history, including the Sistine Chapel. Afterwards, walk through the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica to gain the indulgence of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. After your visit to St. Peter’s Basilica, continue to St. Mary Major, known also as Our Lady of the Snows, which holds the holy crib in which Our Lord was born in Bethlehem. Then, visit St. John Lateran, the Pope’s basilica, from which he makes solemn declarations ex cathedra. Nearby, visit the Scala Santa, the sacred stairs upon which Our Lord walked after His scourging. Continue on to Holy Cross in Jerusalem which contains fragments of the True Cross, a nail, two thorns from Christ’s crown, a piece of the sponge that was offered to Him, a fragment of the scroll that hung on the Cross, and one of the 30 coins of Judas. Earth from Calvary lies beneath the floor. Dinner and overnight in Rome. (BB, D)


Day 5. Friday, April 29: Rome – Montecassino – Pietrelcina – San Giovanni Rotondo

Leave Rome early towards Montecassino.  This prestigious abbey is the mother church of the Benedictine order and a center of medieval art. St. Benedict founded it in 529 when he wrote his famous Rule. Destroyed in WWII, it has since been rebuilt. Pray at the tomb that contains the remains of St. Benedict and his sister, St. Scholastica. Continue to Pietrelcina, the birthplace of St. Padre Pio. In the afternoon, arrive in San Giovanni Rotondo, made famous by its holy resident, St. Padre Pio. Dinner and overnight in San Giovanni Rotondo.  (BB, D)


Day 6. Saturday, April 30: San Giovanni: Excursion to Monte Sant’Angelo

This morning pray before St. Padre Pio, whose incorrupt body is exposed for veneration. Visit the old church and pray before the crucifix from which he received the stigmata in 1918. See the confessional where St. Padre Pio spent hours with multitudes of pilgrims.  Afterwards, travel to Monte Sant’Angelo to visit the Grotto of St. Michael the Archangel. A most celebrated shrine of early Christianity, it was consecrated by St. Michael himself. Return to San Giovanni for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)


Day 7. Sunday, May 1: San Giovanni – Lanciano – Loreto – Assisi

Depart this morning towards 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. Continue to Loreto to see the beautiful house of Our Lady. A choir of angels miraculously transported the sacred adobe structure to Loreto in the 13th century. Continue to Assisi for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)


Day 8. Monday, May 2: Assisi  
Guided sightseeing in Assisi includes St. Mary of the Angels Basilica that houses the Porziuncola Chapel, where St. Francis spent most of his life; the rose bush in which the saint rolled in order to overcome temptation; and the cave where he retired for prayer. Then, visit the Basilica 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 the imposing 13th-century Basilica of St. Francis, where the great saint is buried. It also houses many of the saint’s possessions and a series of frescos depicting his life. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure in Assisi. (BB, D)


Day 9. Tuesday, May 3: Assisi – Padua

This morning, head north to Padua. There, visit the Abbey of St. Justina, a 4th-century martyr; where, in addition to her remains are the ones of the Evangelist St. Luke and the Apostle St. Matthias. Then, render homage to St. Anthony of Padua, the “Wonder Worker,” at his Basilica. Dinner and overnight in Padua. (BB, D)


Day 10. Wednesday, May 4: Padua – Excursion to Venice

Depart early for an excursion to Venice with a visit to the Basilica of St. Mark, its Pala D’Oro and its Treasury. Enjoy free time to perhaps experience a gondola ride or visit other sites in the Floating City. After your leisure time, walk to St. Geremia Church to render homage to St. Lucy, patron saint of vision, and to St. Rocco Church to pray at the tomb of St. Roch who is venerated for his intercession during the plagues. Return to Padua for dinner and overnight.  (BB, D)


Day 11. Thursday, May 5: Padua – Milan

Travel to Milan and visit the Church of St. Ambrose to pray before the remains of this great bishop of Milan. Today’s final visit is to Milan’s Duomo, the giant Gothic cathedral, to pray before St. Charles Borromeo’s relics. He was the cardinal archbishop of Milan for 20 years and was one of the great reformers responsible for counter-attacking the Protestant Revolution.  Enjoy some free time before an evening farewell dinner. (BB, FD)


Day 12. Friday, May 6: Milan – USA

Transfer to Milan’s airport for you return flight to the USA. (BB)



Buffet Breakfast (BB); Dinner (D); Welcome Dinner (WD); Farewell Dinner (FD)



* In case of unforeseen events, this itinerary is subject to change.



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