2014 Pilgrimage to Italy

A friend in St Gemma named Jeff asked me to announce the following pilgrimage in honor of Saint Gemma
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Join Fr. Collins on a Pilgrimage St. Gemma Galgani and the Shrines of Italy from October 27 - November 6, 2014
Destinations include: Rome (Pope Francis) * Monte Cassino * San Giovanni Rotondo (Padre Pio)
Monte Sant'Angel (St. Michael) Lanciano (Eucharistic Miracle) Loreto (Holy House) * Assisi (St. Francis) * Siena * Pisa * Lucca (St. Gemma Galgani)Price is $3,899 from Newark, NJ.
Group Coordinator: Jeff Samick

SAMPLE DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY & CONTACT INFORMATION

DAY 1, OCT 27, MONDAY, NEWARK - ROME
Depart USA for your overnight flight to Rome. Dinner and breakfast will be served on board.

DAY 2, OCT 28, TUE, ARRIVE ROME
Upon arrival your escort will warmly greet you this morning and welcome you to Italy. Transfer to your hotel and enjoy a free afternoon for rest, relaxation, or exploration. You tour escort can suggest sights or walks for you to enjoy.

DAY 3, OCT 29, WED, ROME (PAPAL AUDIENCE & VATICAN MUSEUM)
Wake up in Eternal City, one of the greatest centers of Western Civilization and the first truly cosmopolitan city on earth! It is also spiritual capital for all the Catholics around the world. Today is truly a day we will have in our minds for many years to come (pending papal schedule). Following the audience visit of the Vatican Museums, a group of most impressive edifices with hundreds of galleries filled with art treasures. See awe-inspiring relics and works of art donated throughout centuries as tributes of faith. We'll cover The Tapestry Gallery, The Raphael Rooms and the most overwhelming Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo's Masterpiece, restored mural of the Last Judgment. Later, enter the largest church in Christendom, St Peter's Basilica, built on the site where St Peter was martyred. Unsurpassed in beauty, a monument to the long history of the Catholic Church, to which pilgrims come from around the world, St Peter's is the grandest of the world's churches. Marvel Pieta and Bernini's amazing bronze canopy. Pope Francis visited the tomb of St. Peter, following his elevation, for a visit of devotion that lasted 45 minutes. He is the first Pontiff to visit the necropolis since extensive archaeological excavations were conducted at the ancient site decades ago. We will also visit the tomb of Pope John Paul II located at the Vatican. Dinner and overnight.

DAY 4, OCT 30, THUR, ROME (FULL DAY OF TOURING CHRISTIAN ROME)
Following breakfast, we will depart for a sightseeing tour entitled "Christian Rome" which includes: the Basilica of St. Mary Major, the most important and the oldest church dedicated to Our Lady. St. Mary Major contains a relic from the manger of the infant Jesus. Next, the Basilica of St. John the Lateran, the Pope’s cathedral church where relics of both Peter and Paul remain under the main altar. It was here that Pope Francis was formally installed one year ago as Bishop of Rome. Next we cross the street to see the Holy Staircase which is believed to be a staircase from Pilate’s palace in Jerusalem and brought to Rome by St. Helen in the 4th century. Time permitting we may climb the steps on our knees in memory of Christ’s Passion. Stop for lunch, and then we will continue on to visit St Paul. Out-side the Walls, here we celebrate Mass. Continue our tour via the Appian Way -- the oldest road from Roman times--plus the famous Domino Quo Vadis Chapel; see the ancient Baths of Caracalla, Arch of Drusus; Tomb of Celilia Metella, and the catacombs of St Callixtus where the early Christians hid themselves to escape persecution. We will conclude the day by visiting the famous, Trevi Fountain. Built in the 15th Century to mark the ending destination of the Aqua Virgo (a manmade channel erected in 19 B.C. to bring fresh water to Roman bathhouses.) The water comes from the Sa-lone Springs, eight miles outside of the city. Legend has it, by tossing a coin into the fountain, it will guarantee a return trip to Rome. Dinner and overnight.

DAY 5, OCT 31, FRI, ROME – MONTECASSINO – SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO
Following breakfast, we will head south and cross through the Roman countryside with its villas and vineyards. During your drive, your tour escort will explain the spiritual, historical, and cultural overview of Italy, which will help to orient you to this beautiful country and prepare you for all that you will experience in the days to follow. We stop at Montecassino, a beautiful town founded by Saint Benedict in 529. Enjoy lunch and then continue through the countryside heading east to Padre Pio’s town, San Giovanni Rotondo, our base for the following 2 nights. Dinner & overnight.

DAY 6, NOV 1, SAT, SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO - MONTE SANT’ ANGEL
After celebrating Mass at the tomb of Padre Pio, we tour the sanctuary, see the old church and the crucifix from which he received the stigmata in 1918. You will see the confessional where Padre Pio spent innumerable hours with a multitude of pilgrims, directing them on their journey toward God. Enjoy a breathtaking view of the Gargano Peninsula and a visit to the Grotto of Michael the Archangel. Six different popes, St Francis and at least four other saints have knelt in prayer at this grotto, seeking the protection of St Michael. Following lunch, take in the panoramic view of the ocean and the surrounding countryside awaits you at this most celebrated shrine of early Christianity, a shrine consecrated by St Michael himself in 490. Re-turn to San Giovanni for devotions, reflection, and a restful overnight.

DAY 7, NOV 2, SUN, SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO – LANCIANO – LORETO – AS-SISI
We will have breakfast at our hotel before we make our way to Lanciano, and visit the Church of St. Longinus where we will see the Eucharistic Mira-cle and celebrate Mass. It was here, as they celebrated the Latin Rite, a Basilian hieromonk was assigned to celebrate Mass. The monk had doubts about the real presense of Jesus Chris in the Holy Eucharist. With doubt in his voice, he said the “Words of Consecration” and the bread turned into living flesh, and the wine changed into live blood. The blood coagulated into five globules, corresponding to the wounds Christ suffered in each hand and foot on the cross, and the wound from the centurion’s spear. After free time for lunch, we will continue on toward the Adriatic coast to the great Marian shrine of Loreto to visit the Holy House of Nazareth and the beautiful Madonna of Loreto. More than 50 popes have made a pilgrim-age to the house transported by angels to this hill in central Italy in 1294. Tradition has it that this is the house in which Mary first prayed the Mag-nificat, in which Jesus grew to manhood, and in which the Holy Family lived. Enjoy lunch before we make our way to Assisi, the hometown of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals and the environment, and the founder of the Franciscan Order. We arrive in time for dinner at our hotel.

DAY 8, NOV 3, MON, ASSISI (THE LIFE OF A SAINT, THAT INSPIRED A HOLY FATHER)
Today is a very special day, as we will spend a full day touring the home of the Saint that inspired our Holy Father. Pope Francis chose his name in admiration of the Saint of Nature and Servant to the Poor. Known for being a humble man himself, Pope Francis spent most of his life denying the luxuries of life, and preferring to live in simplicity and humility. Following breakfast, we will begin a tour of Assisi. Visit the tomb of St Francis. Explore the quaint hilltop birthplace of St Francis that still retains something of the atmosphere of the early 1200s, the period when St Francis began his ministry. Contained within the huge 13th-century Basilica are many of the saint's possessions and a series of frescoes depicting his life. You may kneel before the crucifix from which Jesus spoke to St Francis, asking him to rebuild His church. It was in St Mary of the Angels Basilica where St Francis spent most of his life. Here we visit the Chapel, Portiuncola, the rose bush, and the cave where the saint retired for prayer. Stroll the medieval streets of the compact little town. You will have some free time to shop or eat lunch at an outdoor cafe with a view of an ancient Roman tem-ple, we go to the Church of St. Clare to see the saint's incorrupt body. The foundress of the Order of Poor Clares followed the teachings of St Francis by living a life of poverty and humility. We will visit these two saints' tombs before dinner and retiring for the evening.

DAY 9, NOV 4, TUE, ASSISI – SIENA – PISA – LUCCA
After breakfast we will head to Siena, the birthplace of Saints Catherine (Doctor of the Church, and one of the two patron Saints of Italy, with St. Francis of Assisi) and Bernardine (known as the “Apostle of Italy” for his efforts to revive the Catholic faith in the 15th century). Siena is also one of Italy’s loveliest medieval cities. Here we will stroll the Piazza Del Campo, one of Italy’s finest squares and visit the Cathedral and the Basilica of St. Francis, containing the miraculous consecrated hosts that remained intact since 1730. After lunch, we will continue on to view the incorrupt head of St. Catherine at the Basilica of St. Dominic (Her body is preserved in Rome in the Basilica St. Maria sopra Minerva). We continue to Pisa and see the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the town in this mostly panoramic tour. We’ll continue to Lucca, the town where St. Gemma spent most of her life. Gemma Galgani was beatified by Pope Pius XI on May 14th, 1933, and canonized by Pope Pius XII on Ascension Thursday, May 2nd, 1940. Among the vast multitude that filled St Peter’s on the day of her Canonization were thirteen-hundred of the citizens of Lucca headed by their archbishop. Dinner and overnight in Lucca

DAY 10, NOV 5, WED, LUCCA
We will take this day to explore Lucca with our guide. We’ll visit St. Gemma’s Sanctuary, the Passionist Monastery dedicated to St. Gemma, and see the Saint Gemma Galgani tomb under the alter in a bronze sepulcher. You’ll visit the Giannini family home, where St Gemma lived her last four years. The house now belongs to the St Gemma’s Sisters, a congregation founded by Eufemia Giannini, who became a nun and changed her name to Gemma Giannini. See the Duomo di San Martino, St. Martins Cathedral, where you’ll find the Volto Santo or “Holy Face” image of Christ which was miraculously carved by Nicodemus and has been a historic place of pilgrimage for more than 1,000 years. St. Gemma herself visited this shrine of-ten during her life. Dinner and overnight in Lucca.

DAY 11, NOV 6, THUR, LUCCA - NEWARK
Following breakfast, we will board our bus that will bring us to Florence or Rome Airport for our return flights home. We will bid farewell to our new friends and to a Pilgrimage which will be in our memories and hearts for a long time to come. We fondly say, Arrivederci Italia!
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Visit http://www.pilgrimages.com/frcollins/ for complete details

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can we join the pilgrimage from australia?

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