DAY 1 – BENEVENTO
Today the group will travel from Dublin Airport to Naples. On arrival, we will be met by our Joe Walsh Tours pilgrimage co-ordinator and transferred by private coach to Benevento, where we will check into Grand Hotel Italiano. After lunch, we will have Mass at the Cathedral and enjoy a short walking tour of Benevento.
DAY 2 – SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO
After breakfast we will travel to San Giovanni Rotondo. En route we will visit Pietrelcina, birthplace of Saint Padre Pio, and have Mass and free time for lunch (not included) before continuing our journey to Centro Spirituale Padre Pio. After checking in at the hotel, we will visit the remains of Saint Padre Pio before dinner, if time permits. We will then have dinner together at the hotel.
DAY 3 – SAN GIOVANNI, SAINT MATTHEW'S MONASTERY AND MONTE SANT'ANGELO
This morning we will visit and have Mass in San Giovanni Rotondo. After lunch we will travel to the nearby town of San Marco in Lamis and visit Saint Matthew’s Monastery. Then, we will continue to Monte Sant’Angelo, the cave shrine where the Archangel Michael appeared in the fifth century. A long list of Saints and Popes have visited this cave to pray to the Archangel, among them Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Pio, and Saint John Paul II. We will then return to the hotel for dinner.
DAY 4 – LORETO AND ASSISI
Today we will travel to Assisi, en route to Assisi we will visit and have Mass in Loreto. Once in Assisi, we will check into Hotel il Cenacolo, where we will stay for the next two nights. We will have breakfast and evening meal each day at the hotel.
DAY 5 – ASSISI
After breakfast we will take a walking tour of Upper Assisi and its main sights:
We will visit the impressive 13th-century Basilica of Saint Francis, mother church of the Franciscan order. Construction of the Basilica started just two years after the death of Saint Francis. This was uncommon at the time but the enthusiasm of the people to create a permanent home for the body of their beloved Francis pushed them to complete this masterpiece in just two years, an amazing feat for that era.
Another unmissable place in Assisi is the Basilica of Saint Clare, foundress of the Order of the Poor Clares. Saint Clare followed the teachings of Saint Francis by living a life of poverty and humility. Clare died in 1253 and her incorrupt body can be found at the Basilica. The original San Damiano cross, the cross that Francis was praying before when he received his commission to rebuild the church, can also be admired at the Basilica.
We will also visit the burial place of St Carolos Acutis and the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels which houses the Porziuncola, the abandoned chapel that Saint Francis restored. This was the chapel of Saint Francis’s first community and is the cradle of the Franciscan order.
The group will then enjoy dinner together at the hotel.
DAY 6 – ROME
This morning we will travel to Rome after breakfast. On arrival, we will visit and have Mass in Saint Peter Basilica, ultimate destination of pilgrims to Rome. Saint Peter's is the centre of Christendom as the tomb of Saint Peter lies directly under Michelangelo’s famous dome. Then, we will check in the hotel and will enjoy a free evening.
DAY 7 – SAINT FRANCIS FEAST DAY IN ROME
Today is Saint Francis feast day. We will enjoy a walking tour of the city and in the afternoon we will visit some of Rome’s most favourite sights including the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and the Trevi fountain. Then we will return to hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 8 – ROME TO DUBLIN
This morning the group will have some free time to explore Rome. We will check out of our accommodation and will enjoy some visits on our way to the airport for our evening flight.
In the afternoon, we will visit Saint Paul Outside the Walls Basilica. The Papal Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, is one of Rome's four major papal basilicas, along with the basilicas of Saint John in the Lateran, Saint Peter's, and Saint Mary Major, as well as one of the Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome. We will then travel to Rome Fiumicino Airport for our flight to Dublin.