11 Day Franciscan Pilgrimage to Italy

Departs Chicago (ORD) October 8, 2018


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DAY 1 Mon Oct 08: US / Rome Depart Chicago O’Hare for our flight to Rome. Dinner / breakfast will be serve in flight 

DAY 2 TUES OCT 09: ROME ARRIVAL After we arrive in Rome and are met by our Italian assistant at Fiumicino, we will be welcomed to the Eternal City by a visit to St. John Lateran, Cathedral of Rome, “Mother and Head of all Churches of Rome and the World”.  Afterwards, we check in at our religious guesthouse for dinner and a good night’s sleep! 

DAY 3 WED OCT 10: ROME After a hearty breakfast to kick-start our day, we will visit St. Peter’s Square to participate in the Papal Audience with His Holiness Pope Francis. After lunch nearby, we will visit St. Peter’s Basilica and celebrate Mass. The remainder of the day is taken at a leisurely pace and we will return to our residence at our religious guest house for dinner and overnight. 

DAY 4 THURS OCT 11: ROME / ASSISI After breakfast, we will depart for Assisi and visit the Sanctuary of Greccio, where St. Francis re-enacted the First Christmas. After Mass, we will continue on to the religious guest house where we will stay during our time in Assisi. After lunch, we will orient ourselves to the city of Assisi and enjoy “The Story Unfolds” — the life of St Francis as we visit the significant shrines in Assisi that were a part of his early life and conversion.  Guest house for dinner and overnight.

DAY 5 FRI OCT 12: ASSISI A delicious Italian breakfast precedes our departure for the Papal Basilica of St. Francis to celebrate Mass in the crypt where the Poverello is buried. The remainder of the morning and afternoon will be spent under the guidance of Fr. Michael Lewandowski, OFM Conv who will stun our minds and hearts with a visit to all three of the levels of the Basilica as describes the priceless artwork of Cimabue, Giotto, Lorenzetti and countless other Italian masters. Dinner and overnight in our residence. 

DAY 6 SAT OCT 13: ASSISI Following Mass and breakfast, we will visit the sanctuary of San Damiano where St. Francis heard the voice of Christ speak to him “Go rebuild my church . . .” As San Damiano was also the sight of where St. Clare spent her whole life after joining St. Francis, we will also reflect on the events of her life here with the first members of the “Poor Ladies”. After lunch in the Piazza Communale, we will visit the Cathedral of Assisi, San Rufino, were both St. Francis and St. Clare were buried. Here we will also hear the stunning story of how the citizens of Assisi saved many of our Jewish brothers and sisters from the hands of the Nazis. Dinner and overnight in our residence. 

DAY 7 SUN OCT 14: ASSISI A lovely Sunday breakfast will precede our taxi ride to St. Mary of the Angels (Portiuncula) for Mass in the Cappella S. Chiara. After a leisurely lunch in the Piazza Communale, we will taxi up Mount Subasio to visit the Carceri —one of Francis’s favorite places for prayer. It will be possible to visit the cave of St. Francis, Brother Leo, and Brother Masseo. Pilgrims will experience the beauty of the deep silence of this profound place of prayer. As we descend Mount Subasio, we will enjoy a scenic visit of the entire Spoleto Valley from the shadows of La Rocca — the medieval castle torn down by the citizens of Assisi — Francis included! 

DAY 8 MON OCT 15: ASSISI / LA VERNA / ASSISI After breakfast, pilgrims will depart by motor coach for the Sanctuary of La Verna, site where St. Francis received the Stigmata in the presence of the Seraph. Perched on an amazingly high setting in a deep forest, pilgrims will experience the beauty St. Francis and his companions shared at this holy place. After Mass in Chapel of the Stigmata, we will enjoy a lovely meal, enjoy some quiet time for prayer in the various rocks and crevices of La Verna. At 3:00 p.m. we will will join the Franciscan Friars for the over 600 year old traditional Procession to the Stigmata Chapel. Return to Assisi. 

DAY 9 TUES OCT 16: ASSISI After breakfast, we will attend Mass with the Poor Clares at the Basilica of St. Clare, visit the interior of the Basilica including the tomb of St. Clare, and enjoy lunch on the Piazza Communale. Mid-afternoon, we will visit the Sanctuaries of Rivo Torto, La Maddalena (site where St. Francis and St. Clare cared for lepers).  Evening mealin our residence and “Farewell to Assisi”. 

DAY 10 WED OCT 17: ASSISI / ROME Breakfast will begin our day and allow pilgrims some limited time to revisit their favorite shrines, spend time in prayer, catch up on last minute purchases, or just enjoy the beauty and holiness of this very sacred city allowing its spirit to fill ones soul, heart, and mind. Optional experiences will also be offered: inside visit to La Rocca, visit to art studies of Massimo Cruciani, visit to the Perkins Religious Art Collection, etc. Mid-afternoon we will travel back to Rome in preparation for our departure for the US on Thursdaymorning and will be reunited with our Italian guide.  Dinner and overnight at our guest house.

DAY 11 THURS OCT 18: Rome We will enjoy a delicious farewell breakfast with our pilgrim companions before we transfer to Rome’s Fiumicino International Airport for flight to the US.