Knock Shrine Society (Cairde Mhuire) is organising a pilgrimage to the Shrines of Italy from the 19th to the 26th of October 2023. The spiritual director for the pilgrimage is Fr. Frank Downes OP.
DAY 1 – Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls & Basilica of St. Mary Major
We will depart in the morning from Dublin to Rome. In the arrivals hall we will be greeted by our Marian Pilgrimages guid and drive to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, built where once was an ancient church built over the tomb of the Apostle Paul. We will enjoy a tour of the basilica and afterwards have time for private prayer. As we drive towards Rome, we will begin to catch our first glimpse of the many ancient monuments, evidence that the ï¿½Eternal Cityï¿½ has a history and an appeal like no other city in the world.
After lunch in a local restaurant, we will celebrate the opening Mass of our pilgrimage in the Basilica of St. Mary Majors, the largest Catholic Marian Church in Rome. Together, we will pray before the venerated image of Salus Populi Romani; an Icon of the Virgin Mother and Child, credited with saving the city of Rome from plague and before which Pope Francis prays prior to his departure and upon his return to Rome after visits abroad. We will drive to our hotel and after check-in have dinner.
DAY 2 – St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel, Irish College
St. Peter’s Basilica is without doubt one of the holiest temples of Christendom. During our guided tour, this morning we will see the impressive works such as Bernini’s baldachin, Michelangelo’s famous Pieta statue and the statue of St. Peter on his throne. We will have time for prayer before the tombs of St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII and afterwards will soak up the atmosphere of the surroundings with free time for lunch near St. Peter’s Square.
In the afternoon we will celebrate Mass in the Irish College and afterwards hear of the history behind the last of the many Irish Colleges that is still a seminary from the many that were once scattered over Europe.
DAY 3 – Piazza Navona & Trevi Fountain
After morning Mass, accompanied by our guide, will enjoy a walking tour through the historical centre of Rome. From the vibrant Piazza Navona, we will stroll along the ancient-cobbled streets, passing by the Pantheon before concluding at famous Trevi Fountain. We will have the afternoon at leisure with the opportunity for shopping and personal sightseeing.
DAY 4 – Chapel of the Porziuncola, Assisi
This morning we will bid arrivederci to Rome and drive to the town of Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis and St. Clare. Upon arrival in Assisi, we will check into our hotel and have time to relax and unpack. In the afternoon we will visit the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, home to the Chapel of the Porziuncola where Francis realised his true calling and where on Palm Sunday of 1212, he accepted Clare into the Order – a fitting place from which to begin our time in Assisi. We will have time for private prayer in this special place before concluding our day with Mass in the impressive basilica.
DAY 5 – Basilica of St. Francis, Basilica of St. Clare, Tomb of Blessed Carlo Acutis
This morning we will celebrate Mass at the Basilica of St. Clare and afterwards have time for prayer before the remains of the founder of the Order of the Poor Clares.
The story of St. Francis is an impressive story that has touched the hearts of many through the centuries and continues to do so. No more is this evident than in the recently beatified Carlo Acutis. Just like Francis, Carlo liked nothing more than to help the poor and less fortunate than himself. He had a great love for Jesus and, as Francis travelled on foot to preach the Gospel, Carlo chose the computer as a means of evangelisation. This morning we will visit the Sanctuary of the Renunciation and have time for prayer at the tomb of Blessed Carlo Acutis.
With our guide we will enjoy a walking tour through the medieval town of Assisi which will conclude at the Basilica of St. Francis where we will have time for prayer at the tomb of the great saint and later admire the wonderful frescoes and works of Giotto, Cimabue, and Simone Martini.
An afternoon at leisure with give us the opportunity for some personal sightseeing and private prayer.
DAY 6 – Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano
Today we will be dazzled by the scenery as we depart Assisi in the Green Heart of Italy and drive along the Adriatic Coast to the town of Lanciano. We will celebrate Mass in the Church of St. Francis and later venerate the relics of the first Eucharistic Miracle in the history of the Catholic Church, dating back to the 8th century.
During our afternoon drive to San Giovanni Rotondo we will begin to learn of the early years of Padre Pio and how he fulfilled his dream to follow St. Francis of Assisi. As we arrive at our hotel, we will check into our rooms and have our evening meal.
DAY 7 – Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel – Capuchin friary Crypt of St. Pio
This morning we will drive to the town of Monte Sant’Angelo, home to the oldest shrine in Western Europe dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel. As we drive to the town of Monte Sant’Angelo, we will hear of the apparitions of St. Michael the Archangel and upon arrival, celebrate Mass in the sacred cave. We will have time to stroll through the cobbled streets of this unique town with its quaint, white-washed houses before returning to San Giovanni Rotondo for lunch.
We will begin our afternoon with a visit to the English Office, established by Fr. Alessio Parente to welcome the English groups who come to San Giovanni Rotondo to pray at the tomb of Padre Pio. Here we will learn more of the life of St. Pio and receive a blessing with the glove and crucifix used by the capuchin friar. Afterwards, we will walk in the footsteps of Padre Pio during his time in San Giovanni Rotondo. Visiting the capuchin friary will allow us to learn more about the ‘poor friar who prays’ as he often described himself. Here we will have the opportunity to see the cell once occupied by the humble friar and the crucifix before which he received the stigmata. Our day will conclude with a visit to the Church of St. Pio of Pietrelcina where we will have time for private prayer before the mortal remains of the great saint of our time.
DAY 8 – Return home
This morning, after breakfast, we will depart the town of St. Pio and drive to the airport as we return to our homes filled with a sense of joy, tranquillity, and peace in our hearts.
For more information, please contact Catherine Hynes, Knock Shrine Society at 087 942 1518.
The cost per person is €1325 and a single supplement of €315 applies.
For accommodation details, prices and online bookings, you will find more information on the Marian Pilgrimages website here.
Please note that this pilgrimage will depart from Dublin airport. Knock Shrine Society can organise coach transfer to and from Dublin airport for pilgrims who require this service. The cost is €20 return. The coach will depart from Knock via Athlone to the Dublin airport.