With Fr. Peter Okojie
May 25 -June 03, 2024 (10 Days Main Tour)
June 03 - June 07, 2024 (5 Days Optional Post Tour)
DAY 1 (May 25)
DEPART FOR ROME
Make your way to your local airport, where you will board your overnight flight(s). Meals will be served on board.
Day 2 (May 26)
Arrival in Rome / Mass & Welcome Dinner
Welcome to Rome, also known as "The Eternal City.” Upon landing at Rome airport, claim your baggage and proceed to the Arrivals Hall, where your tour guide and/or driver will greet you (estimated arrival 12:35 pm). Drive to the hotel for check-in, enjoy some free time to unpack, relax or explore Rome on your own. Your tour escort may suggest places to visit. Later this afternoon, your group will meet in the hotel lobby for a meet and greet with fellow pilgrims and your priest. You will depart together for Mass at the Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia (Holy Spirit in Saxony) in Rome, located near St. Peter’s Square (by the Vatican), and following Mass, you will attend a Welcome Dinner at a nice restaurant with free wine/drinks. After dinner you have to opportunity to join in a walk to St. Peter's Square for the Rosary (optional).
Day 3 (May 27)
Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls / Apian way / Catacombs / Walking tour
Today we will visit the first of the four major basilicas of Rome, the wonderful Basilica of Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls, where the Apostle is buried. Here we enjoy the guided tour, some free time for prayer and exploration of the basilica's beautiful grounds. Proceed to visit the Church of Our Lady of Peace with the remains of St. Josemaria Escriva, founder of the Opus Dei Society. We then continue on to the ancient Catacombs of St. Calixtus, passing by the ancient Appian Way, the traditional pilgrims’ route followed by Peter and Paul. Following our tour of the Catacombs, we pause for our own celebration of Mass. Late afternoon we depart for Piaza Navona and a guided walking tour of the Piazza di Spagna, the Spanish Steps and the world famous Trevi Fountain. Return to the hotel for dinner and a restful night.
Day 4 (May 28)
Santa Maria Maggiore / St. John Lateran Basilica / Holy Stairs / Santa Croce
Today, we will next visit another of Rome’s major basilicas, Santa Maria Maggiore, the most important church in the world devoted to Our Lady. Here we celebrate Mass where Mass has been celebrated every day since the 5th century. After Mass, we enjoy a guided tour of this wonderful Basilica, and spend some personal time for prayers. Then we visit (guided tour) the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, the Pope’s cathedral church where relics of both Peter and Paul remain under the main altar. Here we will see its impressive statues of each of the Apostles. From here we cross the street to visit the church of the Scala Santa. Here we see the Holy Staircase of 28 marble steps (now covered in wood) which is believed to be a staircase from Pilate’s palace in Jerusalem where Jesus was condemned to death and brought to Rome by Saint Helen in the 4th century. We may climb the steps on our knees in memory of Christ’s Passion. Finally, we visit Santa Croce in Gerusaleme (Church of the Holy Cross).
This large church not far from San Giovanni in Laterano and Santa Maria Maggiore houses a number of relics from the Passion of Christ. These include the Titulus Crucis, the inscribed sign which hung over Christ during his crucifixion; two thorns from Jesus's crown of thorns; and three pieces of the True Cross. Here you'll also find the doubting finger of St. Thomas. Later we embark on a day’s worth of sightseeing beginning with a drive to Capitoline Hill, where we will enjoy a view of the ancient Roman Forum and see Constantine's Arch, the Arch of Titus, the Circus Maximus and ancient Roman Aqueducts. Finally, we stop at the famous Colosseum for inner visit and a guided tour. Return to hotel for dinner and a restful night in Rome
Day 5 (May 29)
Papal Audience / St. Peter's Basilica / Vatican Museum
Today we have an early breakfast to be on time for the general audience with Pope Francis at the St. Peter's Square. (Papal Audience: Is scheduled to take place every Wednesday, pending the schedule of Pope Francis). Following the audience we will proceed to the Vatican Museums for a guided tour, where we will see art masterpieces of Michelangelo, Bernini, Tapestry Gallery, and Raphael Rooms. We will walk through Geographical maps Gallery, Sistine Chapel with the magnificent fresco of The Last Judgment and many more halls and rooms filled with Christian art, history and inheritance of all civilization. After the museum tour, we will have a guided tour of the heart of the Vatican State, St. Peter's Basilica, where St. Peter was martyred. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to view Michelangelo's Pieta sculpture, pray at the tombs of Pope Benedict XVI and St. John Paul II. Spend some time for prayers and meditations. We return to our hotel for dinner and a restful night
Day 6 (May 30)
Rome - Monte Cassino / San Giovanni Rotondo
This morning we depart Rome, you will board the bus and enjoy the scenic route to the Abbey of Monte Cassino, the principal monastery of the Benedictine Order, founded by St. Benedict around 530 A.D. Enjoy a guided tour of the Monte Cassino Abbey. Continue on to San Giovanni Rotondo, where St. Pio of Pietrelcina (St. Padre Pio), a Capuchin friar, priest and mystic known for his devotion to God, care for the sick and supernatural gifts and has lived for many decades and where thousands of people have flocked in order to be closer to this great saint and to Our Lord. Celebrate Mass at the Church of Our Lady of Grace. Dinner and overnight in San Giovanni Rotondo.
Day 7 (May 31)
San Giovanni Rotondo / Monte Sant' Angelo
After breakfast, we will walk to the Sanctuary of Padre Pio and celebrate Mass at the Tomb of Padre Pio. After Mass we will have the opportunity to view and pray before the incorrupt body of Padre Pio. Then we have a guided tour of the sanctuary, hear more of the life of the saint, watch some documentary and then visit the museum with many personal belongings of Padre Pio. See the old church, Church of Our Lady of Grace and the altar where he said masses and the crucifix from which he received the stigmata in 1918. We will see the confessional where Padre Pio spent innumerable hours with a multitude of pilgrims, directing them on their journey toward God. We will then have an opportunity to touch and be prayed over the First Class relic of Padre Pio, his stained glove.
Our guide will make arrangements to schedule this during our visit. We then depart San Giovanni and drive along the breathtaking view of the Gargano Peninsula to visit the Grotto of Monte Sant’ Angelo, where St. Michael Archangel had been appearing from 5th to 17th century. Also here, six different popes, St Francis and at least four other saints have knelt in prayer at this grotto, seeking the protection of St Michael. It is the oldest shrine in Western Europe dedicated to the Archangel Michael and has been an important pilgrimage site since the early Middle Ages. Visit St. Michael Basilica and town where we will spend some free time on our own. This shrine and little town surrounding it on the top of Mount Gargano shows us little bit more of the life local population have in this part of south-east Italy. Return for dinner and overnight in San Giovanni Rotondo. After dinner you have the Option to attend the weekly candlelight procession at the Sanctuary of St. Pio after dinner, at 9:00 pm. (*Candlelight Procession - Between May and October).
Day 8 (June 1)
San Giovanni Rotondo - Lanciano -Loreto - Assisi
After breakfast, you we leave for Assisi. On the way we stop in Lanciano, for private Mass at the Church of St. Longinus, the site of the greatest Eucharistic Miracle in the world, that occurred in the eighth century. At the time of the miracle, there was a Basilian monk, who struggled with the belief in the Real Presence in the Eucharist. During the time of Mass, the monk, with doubt in his voice, said the words of consecration and the bread and wine transformed into physical flesh and blood.Depart for the Marian Shrine of Loreto. Loreto is a beautiful little town where the church dedicated to Saint Mary was built already in 14th century. Legend says that the House of the Holy Family was miraculously transferred from Nazareth, while probably some parts of it where brought here by the
"The Angel of the lord declared unto Mary, and She conceived of the Holy Spirit" - words that in Loreto in the House of the Holy Family touches us even deeper. On the ruins of the house one can see the actual place of the event. This is also the house in which Mary first prayed the Magnificat, in which Jesus grew to manhood, and in which the Holy Family lived, before it was transported several times by angels, to its current location. End the day in Assisi, hometown of St. Francis and St. Clare, with dinner and overnight at your hotel
Day 9 (June 2)
Assisi - St. Francis / St. Claire / Blessed Carlo Acutis
Today is a very special day, as we will spend a full day touring the home of the Saint Francis, the Saint of Nature and Servant to the Poor and Saint Claire. Following breakfast, we will celebrate Mass at the Basilica of St. Francis. After Mass, we will be exploring and learning about St. Francis and his life. Our guided tour will start from church of Santa Chiara to see the Cross from which Jesus spoke to St Francis, asking him to rebuild His church. You may kneel before the crucifix and pray his prayer. Also 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 is many of the saint's possessions and a series of frescoes depicting his life. Next we will learn more about St. Claire the founder of Poor Claire’s and see her relics/incorrupt body in St. Claire’s Basilica. The foundress of the Order of Poor Claire’s followed the teachings of St. Francis by living a life of poverty and humility. Next you will visit the Santuario Della Spogliazione where Blessed Carlo Acutis’ tomb is, the first millennial to be declared Blessed. Continue tour by walking through this picturesque town, where St. Francis and St. Clare both followed God’s call to rebuild his church. Enjoy some free time - for additional prayer, shop and lunch. After lunch, board the bus, which will take you outside of the walls of Assisi, to the Chapel, "Porziuncola" one of three restored churches by young Francis that nowadays is embraced by Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. It was in St. Mary of the Angels Basilica where St Francis spent most of his life. We will visit the rose bush, and the cave where the saint retired for prayer. This Basilica is made up of two structures, both of which you will visit. The first structure is the "Porziuncola" and the second is the "Capella del Transito" which is the place where St. Francis died. After the guided tour, attend the Farewell Dinner at a nice restaurant in Assisi. Return to hotel in Assisi for the night.
Day 10 (June 3 )
End of Main Tour: Assisi to Rome & Homebound / or Post Tour: Assissi to Siena & Florence
This morning, we will our last Mass as a group at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. After Mass, for those not taking the Post Tour, will depart Assisi & return to Rome for their flights in the afternoon.
Day 11 (June 3 )
Assisi - Siena - Florence
FOR THOSE JOINING THE POST TOUR: After Mass, we drive will have a scenic drive to the Tuscan city of Siena We will walk through the well preserved city of Siena, birthplace of Saints Catherine (Virgin and Doctor of the Church and one of the two patron Saints of Italy, with St. Francis of Assisi) and St. 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 (the city center), one of Italy’s finest squares and visit the Basilica of St. Francis, containing the miraculous consecrated hosts that remained intact since 1730. 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 will alsp visit the spectacular Gothic Cathedral of Santa Maria Asunta (Assumption of Our Lady). After lunch, we continue to Florence. Upon our arrival, we enjoy a guided tour of Florence's main sights, including the inner visit to the Cathedral with its magnificent Dome by Brunelleschi, Giotto's elegant belfry and the Baptistery with Ghiberti's Gate to Paradise. This Cathedral is an iconic piece of architecture of the city of Florence. It was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi in the 13th century. We also visit the Basilica di Santa Croce (Church of Holy Cross), where many nobles are buried, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli. Continue to walk by Piazza Signorina, Palazzo Vecchio, Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio, and Republic Square to the Santa Maria del Fiore. You will notice that Florence is the land for art lovers. Some of the most world-renowned artists are from Florence such as Dante, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Donatello, and many others. Next, a visit to L'Accademia, the well-known art gallery. At this gallery, you will have the opportunity to view the work from artists such as Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Pontormo, and the ever famous sculpture by Michelangelo, David. This afternoon you will have time to explore Florence on your own. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 12 (June 4 )
Following breakfast, we will celebrate Mass and after the service, our motorcoach will take us to board the train for a delightful ride to the picturesque Cinque Terre. Today, we will visit Manarola, Corniglia and Rio Maggiore. Time for lunch on your own at one of the many local restaurants. After a full day, we will return to our hotel in Florence for overnight.
Day 13 (June 5)
Following breakfast at your hotel, board the motor coach for your transfer to Padua. This Northern Italian city honors the "Patron Saint of Lost Things and Causes", St. Anthony. You will begin a sightseeing tour of the city, including a view of one of the oldest Universities in Italy, the University of Padua, pass by Pratto Della Valle, and see the Basilica of Santa Giustina, the "Patron Saint of Padua." Mass at the Basilica. The guided tour after the Mass at the Basilica of St. Anthony, will have the opportunity to visit the Tomb of St. Anthony and to see several of his relics. The rest of the afternoon is free. Dinner & overnight in Padua.
Day 14 (June 6)
Padua - Venice (Full Day Excursion)
Today, you will have early breakfast and then board your bus to depart to the magical city of Venice. Upon arrival to the Venice Tronchetto Terminal, follows a short boat taxi ride to the city and we start with the Holy Mass in the Cathedral of St. Mark. After Mass, enjoy a tour of the "city paved with water!" Your guided walking tour includes a visit to St. Mark's Square, the largest square in the city and the site of many government buildings; guided inside tour of the Golden Basilica of San Marco, known for the great mosaics that depict the Old and New Testament of the Bible; the Bridge of Sigh, a bridge that will bring eternal love to those who drift below it. You will also have the guided inside tour of the Dodges' Palace (Duke's Palace), which served as the seat of the Government for the Republic of Venice for centuries. After lunch, we will enjoy a gondola ride along the water. The rest of the afternoon is free time to explore Venice on own, shopping by Rialto Bridge with hundreds of souvenir shops, restaurants and perhaps visit the famous murano glass factory. Don't forget to enjoy a
cappuccino and gelato at one of the cafes in St. Mark's Square, a must do for any visit to Venice. In the early evening we will return to Padua for dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Day 15 (June 7)
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, transfer to Venice airport for return flights home.
INCLUDED IN TOUR PACKAGE
EXCLUDED IN TOUR PACKAGE
Accommodations in 4 Hotels/First class 4 hotels/ First class 4* hotels
Local English speaking guides & expert Tour Director all through out the trip
Breakfast and Dinner daily
High class air-conditioned tourist bus
Entrance fees to all the sites as per itinerary
Welcome Dinner in Rome, 3 Course Meal, drinks included
Daily Holy Mass arrangements at Holy Sites
Papal Audience in Rome
Free Porterage of one piece of luggage in/out hotels
NOTE: Pricing is based on DBI occupancy per person, 25 pax minimum is required; excluding flights if the group is less than 25 pax, the land price can go up.
Round Trip Air fare from Tampa airport, taxes included;Add-On Fares from other Gateways
Lunch meals and drinks
Souvenirs and personal expenses
Love Offering for Priest
Church Offerings for Daily Mass
Travel insurance – strongly recommended
The new European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) mandated by European countries
Gratuities for Bus Driver, Tour Escort, Local Guides & HotelDining Staff