FAITH AND HOPE
FAITH AND HOPE
During these times, with almost all continents collapsing because of wars and political and social unrest, it is necessary to embrace again and make our own the vibrant summons with which John Paul II began his pontificate:
“Don’t be afraid!” No! We must not be afraid! It is when times are hard that Christians must allow themselves to be filled with the force of the Holy Spirit so as to be able to help and encourage their fellow companions.
When he had to choose a coat of arms and motto for his Petrine ministry in the universal Church, He requested without any hesitation, to the surprise of the experts on heraldry, that they include a large capital “M” and the words “Totus tuus” (Totally yours) in his very remarkable and original shield.
The Virgin Mary, Mother of the Lord, to whom Karol Wojtyla consecrated, as a young priest, his life and ministry. He did not miss a single opportunity on his many pilgrimages to the Marian shrines around the world, from the least known to the most famous, to exhort Christians to turn to her, the guiding star in the renewed evangelization of the world, in the spreading of Christ’s message to every corner of the world,
We must praise and glorify the Holy Virgin with all our hearts.
Bro Mariano di Vito OFM Cap
DAY 1 Padua / Venice
Late afternoon arrival at Marco Polo airport in Venice. .. Meet Italian tour escort and transfer at hotel in PADOVA for check .
Time permitting we will visit the Abbey where St. Anthony is buried….
Anthony , the Saint of poor people, he wanted to live side by side with the most humble and poor class of society, taking on as his own their sufferings and the contradictions in which the populace groaned, abandoned to the arrogance of the strong, unprotected from the violent. Anthony fought courageously to restore each man with his original image and resemblance to God, opening his heart to receive the Gospel of the Kingdom carried by the Saviour.
“He brought brothers in discord together in peace; he gave freedom back to prisoners; he caused the restitution of that which had been robbed through usury or violence He liberated prostitutes from the obscene market, and thieves famous for misdeeds held back from laying their hands on the things of others.” Return at hotel for dinner and overnight
DAY 2 Venice
Mass will be Celebrated in the Basilica of St. Anthony
Before transfer to Venice for a full day of excursion part by boat and on foot in this fascinating town. In the morning a guided tour to visit the Doge’s Palace, the Basilica of St. Mark the Evangelist
Balance of the day at leisure for an optional “Gondola ride” , for shopping or to discover the city on your own
Return at hotel in PADOVA in the late afternoon
Dinner and overnight.
DAY 3 Florence
After breakfast a three hour drive to reach FLORENCE, (240 Km – approx. 3 hrs drive)
Today’s destination is regarded as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and is one of the most beautiful and inspiring cities of the world with its rich artistic, historic and spiritual heritage. Florence is birthplace or chosen home of Dante, Boccaccio, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Donatello, Galileo, We will be treated to a wonderful tour of this Cradle of Renaissance, allowing us to see many unforgettable sights such as the domed cathedral of the city, Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence’s Duomo, Piazza della Signoria, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the bronze “gate of Paradise, of St. John’s Baptistery
Balance of the day at leisure to explore additional treasures of Florence and shop on your own.
The outdoor Market of San Lorenzo boasts leather products, and the Ponte Vecchio, covered since medieval times with goldsmiths’ shops, is a must for Florence’s other specialty, gold jewelry.
Transfer at hotel, dinner and overnight
DAY 4 Assisi
Depart Florence after breakfast and travel south to reach ASSISI ( 170 Km – approx. 1 hrs drive)
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace (attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi)
Upon arrival in Assisi , visit the Church of Santa Maria degliAngeli, containing the famous Porziuncola
The very ancient chapel, venerated for an apparition of angels within it, was originally property of the Benedictines of Subasio. It was located on a piece of land known as the Portiuncula; this name became attached to the chapel.
After a long period of abandonment, it was restored by St. Francis. Here he was given a dear understanding of his vocation. He founded here the Order of Friars Minor (1209), “establishing here his home”,
Transfer to hotel for check in.
In the afternoon, sightseeing tour includes visits to the Church of St. Clare which houses her incorrupt body. One of the chapels contains the crucifix that bowed its head and ordered St. Francis to “repair God’s Church”
Afterwards, your will tour the Basilica of St. Francis built in 1228 to house the Relics of the saint. The “upper “ basilica houses beautiful frescoes of Giotto
Mass will be celebrated here at the Basilica of St. Francis
DAY 5 Cascia / Loreto
Early morning departure , first stop in Cascia (85 Km – 1,5 hrs drive) to visit the shrine of Santa Rita and celebrate Mass
Then to Loreto( 170 km – 3 hrs drive) to visit the house of the Virgin Mary, which arrived from the Holy LandThis precious relic was brought to Italy after the fall of the kingdom of the Crusaders in the Holy Land.
Recent studies of the stones and graffiti and other documents, purifying the tradition of legendary elements, confirm and certify the authenticity of the HolyHouse.
The shrine of Loreto has been for centuries and is still one of the places of pilgrimage of the most important of the Catholic world.
E ‘was visited by about 200 saints and blessed, and from above.
Dinner and overnight in Loreto.
DAY 6 Lanciano / San Giovanni Rotondo
Depart Loreto towards Lanciano (180 km – highway – 2 hrs drive)to visit the site of the Eucharistic Miracle The host that turned to flesh and the wine that turned to visible blood in the 8th century.
“Let us devote ourselves entirely to knowing God. The more we know Him, the more we want to know Him. Since love is generally measured by knowledge, the deeper and more extensive the knowledge, the greater will be the love. And if our love is great, we will love Him equally in pain and consolation.” – Brother Lawrence
Mass will be Celebrated at Santuario del MiracoloEucaristico
Arrive in San Giovanni Rotondo in the late afternoon, for room allocation, dinner and overnight
DAY 7 San Giovanni Rotondo / Rome
O, Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners, and grant us the grace which we ask of you, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your tender mother and ours,After breakfast, visit the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie where Padre Pio lived and the modern Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church built in 2004 behind Santa Maria delle Grazie Church.
Celebrate Mass , if possible on the Tomb of San Pio and depart towards Rome…( 380 Km – 5 hrs drive)
Check in at hotel, dinner and overnight
DAY 8 Ancient Rome / Basilicas
We greet the new day in a city nicknamed Caput Mundi (Capital of the World) and The Eternal City, not only because Rome has always been the hub of art, education, high culture and politics in the western world, but because it is also a spiritual capital and a powerful center of pilgrimage
After breakfast, we will walk through the very core of Roman antiquity. We tour Trajan’s market,Nero’s Golden House,Trajan’s Forum and Column, Arch of Constantine, House of Knights of Rhodes. Next, we proceed to the Mamertine Prisons (where St Peter was held prisoner), the Roman Forum (the civic heart of the Roman Republic), the Coliseum After a break for lunch, regain our bus for an afternoon tour of the Major Basilicas.
The ceiling of the Basilica of St. Mary Major is said to be decorated with gold that Columbus brought back from the new world. This basilica, the largest in Rome dedicated to the Blessed Mother, is part of the day’s “Christian Rome” tour, and has beautiful Biblical mosaics, a marble floor, bell tower and one of the oldest shrines (containing a relic from the manger of the infant Jesus) dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. We will also visit the Basilica of St. John Lateran which is the oldest of the major basilicas and ranks first as the actual “parish church” of the Pope (Bishop of Rome). There we will learn about the Scala Sancta (Holy Stairs). Tradition has it that these steps, said to be the staircase leading once to the praetorium of Pilate at Jerusalem, are sanctified by the footsteps of Jesus Christ during his Passion. Return to hotel for dinner and overnight
DAY 9 Papal Audience/ Vatican Museums
Leave hotel soon after breakfast . Reach San Peter’s square to attend the weekly Papal Audience
“To me, I say this humbly, the strongest message of the Lord is mercy,” he said. “The Lord never gets tired of forgiving.” ( Pope Francis)
After break for lunch, continue the the day with a guided tour of the Vatican Museums which house what can be described as the most important collections of art in the world. The history and awe surrounding the galleries and all the treasures they contain will truly transfix us. Highlights include The Tapestry Gallery, The Raphael Rooms, and The Sistine Chapel where we will gaze on Michelangelo’s incredible masterpiece. We will also enter St. Peter’s Basilica which has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world and which has been described as the reason Rome is still the center of the civilized world. Tradition and historical evidence hold that St. Peter’s tomb is directly below the altar of this basilica, which American Ralph Waldo Emerson described as an ornament of the earth… the sublime of the beautiful. Next we will have the chance to marvel at Bernini’s beautiful bronze canopy and Michelangelo’s Blessed Mother holding her crucified son, known as the Pieta. Time permitting, we will visit the tomb of Pope John Paul II, Return to hotel for dinner and overnight
DAY 10 Departure
Transfer to airport after breakfast, check in and fly back home.