“To go on pilgrimage is not simply to visit a place to admire its treasures of nature, art or history…. We must step out of ourselves to encounter God. ”–Pope Benedict XVI
ABOUT INSIDE THE VATICAN PILGRIMAGES
We bring people into the “heart of the Church” and to the Universal Church
Since we began Inside the Vatican pilgrimages in 2008, we have hosted more than 50 unique spiritual journeys to Rome, “the Heart of the Church,” and to some of the most important shrines and religious sites in the Christian world.
We organized our first pilgrimage to Rome because we realized there was a real need for people to experience a true pilgrimage — a journey of the mind, heart and spirit — not just a tourist trip to interesting places.
And a true pilgrimage is one of encounter, a journey in which one comes into contact not only with the stones of the churches and basilicas and shrines that we visit, but also the “living stones” which are the souls of the people we encounter, on the road, at our destinations, and among ourselves, the pilgrims.
After our first pilgrimage in 2008, some of our pilgrims were so moved by the experience that they asked us to do another, and from that, another…each of our first 25 pilgrimages, in fact, came about at the request of pilgrims from previous pilgrimages.
Since then, we have brought hundreds of people to Rome, the home of the Vatican and the incomparable St. Peter’s Basilica, and to other beautiful and holy places in Italy. England, Germany, Russia and Turkey are just a few of the other countries to which we have traveled on pilgrimage.
Expanding to Meet the Needs of Different Kinds of Pilgrims
In 2012, we began lodging our pilgrims in the Domus Santa Marta, the residence of Pope Francis, for the Rome portion of some of our exclusive Signature Pilgrimages, and we have been invited to continue this practice — the only pilgrim group that is so privileged.
In answer to many requests, we expanded our pilgrimage schedule and began offering Custom Pilgrimages for private groups, as well as a yearly Foundation Pilgrimage, which benefits our non-profit Urbi et Orbi Foundation, dedicated to the reunification of Eastern and Western Christianity, and includes destinations in the East such as Moscow, Istanbul and Kiev, as well as Rome.
Finally, we instituted our Classic Pilgrimages, with family-friendly pricing, in order to make these one-of-a-kind experiences available to as many people as possible. For these pilgrimages, we offer lodging at the beautiful Villa Serenella. The Villa Serenella is a stately, typically Roman villa-turned-monastery surrounded by 13 acres of olive groves, pine trees, and walking paths. Situated outside of the city, the Villa Serenella is a perfect place to retreat to and relax after a day of touring the city! For more information about the Villa Serenella, including photographs of the buildings and property, click on the button below.
Our Core Principles
Our continuing priority, however, is that we always maintain the integrity of our pilgrimages — we work with people we have trusted for years in the places we visit, and we do NOT contract with tour operators for tours or for any ground bookings such as hotels, meals, etc. A presence at the Vatican spanning more than 30 years, Inside the Vatican magazine has woven a fabric of friends and colleagues in Rome and abroad that is knowledgeable, reliable, and as dedicated as we are to making every pilgrimage an enriching spiritual journey that brings us all closer to God.
And no matter how many pilgrimages we lead, no matter where our destinations or who travels with us, we always stay true to our core principles: that our groups of pilgrims remain small and intimate; that personal encounter is the most important aspect of each trip; and that we treat each pilgrim as we would a family member.
This begins with the registration process that we try to keep simple, and continues as we assist pilgrims where needed: we will advise and even help make travel arrangements, answer questions, provide recommendations and even packing lists!
It’s a formula for success that many of our pilgrims have chosen to experience again and again. You can view photos of previous pilgrimages at our new website, insidethevaticanphotos.com.
“Holy Spirit, Guide Us!”
An Inside the Vatican pilgrimage is a total immersion experience into the “heart of the Church.” which we hope evokes a “metanoia” experience for each of our pilgrims. Our motto on each pilgrimage is “Holy Spirit, guide us!” which begins in the planning and is carried forth during the entire pilgrimage so that we may make it an authentically spiritual journey. We invite you to join us!
“To go on pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves in order to encounter God where he has revealed himself, where his grace has shone with particular splendour and produced rich fruits of conversion and holiness among those who believe.”
-Benedict XVI (Nov. 6, 2010)