Louie Verrecchio is one of traditional Catholicism’s most widely read bloggers, and the author of several titles including Was John Courtney Murray Right? and the Traditio Faith Formation Series. A columnist for Catholic News Agency (2009–2013), the Catholic Weekly of Sydney, Australia (2008-2009), and currently for Renew America, his articles have been published by media outlets all over the English-speaking world.
Mr. Verrecchio has been a featured speaker at such traditional venues as the Catholic Family News Conference, the Catholic Identity Conference, and others hosted by the Fatima Center and the Society of St. Pius X. For more information, please visit: www.HarvestingTheFruit.com
Fr. Michael E. Rodríguez was born in 1970, in the border city of El Paso, TX. He is the third in a family of six children, and was raised in a devout Catholic home. He entered the seminary for the Diocese of El Paso, attended major seminary at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, and completed his theological studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University. Fr. Rodríguez was ordained a priest in 1996 and early in his priesthood he served as the Vocation Director for the Diocese of El Paso. He has served in numerous parishes, both urban and rural, throughout the diocese. In 2005, Fr. Rodríguez began to offer the Traditional Latin Mass, and since 2011, he has been offering the Traditional Latin Mass exclusively. Fr. Rodríguez speaks fluent English and Spanish, and is proficient in German and Italian.
Day 1. Tuesday, June 7: USA – Rome
Depart today on a transatlantic flight to Rome, Italy.
Day 2. Wednesday, June 8: Rome
Welcome to Rome! Upon arrival, visit the Catacombs, the burial place of early Christians including many saints from as early as the second century AD. Make your way to St. Paul Outside the Walls Basilica, built over the burial place of the Apostle and one of the four Major Basilicas of Rome. Transfer to your hotel for a welcome dinner with fellow travelers. (WD)
Day 3. Thursday, June 9: Rome
Today in the Eternal City, visit St. John Lateran, the oldest of Rome’s four major basilicas and the cathedral of the Church of Rome. Continue to Scala Santa: the staircase from Pilate’s palace on which Our Lord walked after He was scourged. In St. Mary Major Basilica, witness two of Christianity’s greatest treasures: the manger from Bethlehem in which the Baby Jesus was laid, and a painting of Our Lady, “Salvation of the Roman People.” This basilica was built on the site where a miraculous snowfall occurred in August of 356 establishing the devotion to “Our Lady of the Snows.” Rest of the day is free. (BB)
Day 4. Friday, June 10: Rome
This morning enjoy a sightseeing of Rome’s downtown, including the Spanish Steps, located in the heart of Piazza di Spagna and built to link the square with the French church of Trinita dei Monti at the top. See the Trevi Fountain, an extravagant Baroque monument which is Rome’s largest and most famous fountain. In S. Maria Sopra Minerva, pray before the tomb of St. Catherine of Siena, patron saint of Italy. Finally, visit the Pantheon: the best-preserved monument from ancient Rome thanks to its transformation into a church in 609. Then, enjoy a free afternoon to browse and dine at leisure. (BB)
Day 5. Saturday, June 11: Rome
Spend this morning immersed in sacred art. Explore the Vatican Museums which contain remarkable artifacts of art history and culture. In the Sistine Chapel, marvel at the renowned frescoes of Michelangelo. Visit 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. Walk through the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica to gain the indulgence of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Free afternoon to create more memories in Rome. (BB)
Day 6. Sunday, June 12: Rome — Assisi
This morning, you are free to attend Mass, the Angelus and Papal Benediction. Afterwards, board your motor-coach for travel to Assisi, with its geranium-hung streets, lovely views, and fountain-splashed piazzas. Upon arrival into this medieval town, have a guided tour of the main sites: St. Mary of the Angels Basilica, which houses the Porziuncola Chapel where St. Francis spent most of his life; the miraculous rose bush which was originally a briar-bush in which the saint rolled during a temptation; and the cave where the saint retired for prayer. 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 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. Tonight enjoy dinner with regional wine. Overnight in Assisi. (BB, BL, D)
Day 7. Monday, June 13: Assisi — Siena
Enjoy a free morning in Assisi for individual sightseeing and private devotions. In the afternoon, travel to the beautiful city of Siena. Upon arrival, visit the home of St. Catherine of Siena housing relics of the saint. Next, visit 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 to be authentic. Dinner and overnight in Siena. (BB, D)
Day 8. Tuesday, June 14: Siena — Florence
Enjoy a free morning in Siena to stroll along Piazza del Campo, Italy’s loveliest piazza that occupies the site of the old Roman forum. Cafés, restaurants, and a fine medieval palazzo now line the Campo’s fringes. En route to Florence, visit a winery for a taste of the delicious Toscana wine. Continue through this beautiful region of central Tuscany at the heart of which lies Florence, a vast and great monument to the Renaissance. Upon arrival, visit the exquisite Church of S. Miniato, one of the most beautiful Romanesque churches in Italy. It houses in its crypt the relics of San Miniato (St. Minas), a 3rd-century martyr, who after being beheaded, carried his own head to this spot where a chapel was later erected. Dinner and overnight in Florence. (BB, D)
Day 9. Wednesday, June 15: Florence
Visit Florence’s Cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore, and its Baptistery. This cathedral is the fourth largest church in Europe and one of the oldest buildings in Florence. Continue to the beautiful Gothic Church of Santa Croce and the Museum and Convent di San Marco, which houses the relics of St. Antonino, patron saint of Florence. Then, visit Santissima Annunziata Church to render homage to the Servite St. Juliana Falconieri. Newlyweds visit this church to pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary for a long and fruitful marriage. Overnight in Florence. (BB, D)
Day 10. Thursday, June 16: Florence
A free day to explore, shop, and dine in this magnificent city. (BB)
Day 11. Friday, June 17: Florence — Orvieto — Bolsena — Rome
En route to Rome this morning, stop to visit the Duomo in Orvieto and the Church of St. Christina in Bolsena, which are sites related to the same Eucharistic Miracle. In the year 1263 in Bolsena, Fr. Peter of Prague pronounced the sacred words of Consecration over the host while doubting the mystery of Transubstantiation. Then, as soon as he finished, blood began to stream from the host, staining the corporal, which is now enshrined in Orvieto. Tonight in Rome, enjoy a farewell dinner to celebrate the end of such a memorable trip. (BB, FD)
Day 12. Saturday, June 18: Return to USA
Early transfer to Rome Fiumicino airport for your flight home. (BB)
Buffet Breakfast (BB), Lunch (L), Boxed Lunch (BL) Dinner (D), Welcome Dinner (WD), Farewell Dinner (FD)
* In case of unforeseen events, this itinerary is subject to change.
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