Signature Easter 2019 Pilgrimage
April 14 – 25, 2019
Our aim is to have your journey with us be a peaceful, enjoyable, unforgettable experience, one that enriches your life and deepens your faith. Although we will visit many very famous places of cultural and artistic significance, our journey is primarily a pilgrimage, not a tour. The spiritual dimension – the search for a deeper understanding of God and a better appreciation of the history and life of the Church – is central. This is why the pace of our pilgrimage will be slow and peaceful, not hurried. There will be time to reflect and to pray.
Easter in Italy 2019 is one of our Signature line pilgrimages which aims to create “boutique” pilgrimage experiences though small, private groups averaging 15 pilgrims, but never more than 18.
Our Easter 2019 pilgrimage will begin almost a week before Easter in Assisi — the city of St. Francis (1181-1226) — in the Umbrian hills near the very center of Italy. Assisi is one of the loveliest, most peaceful cities in the world. The very light and air of the city seem filled with the presence of the spirits of St. Francis and St. Clare. We will spend three nights in this special city, preparing for Easter — studying the readings of the Easter Vigil Mass. The Franciscan friars who live in Assisi will hear confessions. We will attend Mass next to the tomb of St. Francis.
On Holy Thursday, we will travel to Norcia, the birthplace of St. Benedict. Norcia is tucked under sparkling white, snow-capped mountains in the center of Italy, and seems a city that time forgot. It is most charming and you rarely see any tourists — only locals. Here we will begin the Easter Triduum together with the Benedictine monks of Norcia, many of whom are Americans (they are refounding the Benedictine presence in Norcia, and using the ancient Latin liturgy in their daily round of prayer). After the earthquake of October 2016, which destroyed their centuries-old basilica church, the monks moved outside the city, on the side of a mountain, and began again by building a new monastery and chapel. We will spend Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday morning in their new chapel, on the side of the mountain overlooking the town of Norcia. Norcia honors Good Friday with a very poignant procession of live Stations of the Cross, which takes place after dark. The next morning, during the “silence” of Holy Saturday, Father Cassian, the prior emeritus of the Benedictines in Norcia, will share a spiritual reflection on Easter. After, we drive on to Rome for the joyous celebration of the Easter Vigil at the Vatican.
The Easter Vigil Mass will be celebrated by Pope Francis in St Peter’s Basilica. We will also attend Easter Sunday Mass celebrated by Pope Francis on Easter morning. These liturgies, celebrating the triumph of Jesus Christ over sin and death, are among the most splendid and joyous in the Church’s calendar.
Monday, the day after Easter, is la Pasquetta (“Little Easter”) in Italy. It is an Italian national holiday in order to continue the joyous Easter celebration. We, too, will continue our celebration by traveling about two hours to the little town of Manoppello, Italy (population 157 — yes, it’s tiny!) in the rugged Abbruzzo region. There, we will visit the Shrine of the Holy Face — the shrine which contains a mysterious cloth bearing the image of a man with wounds on his face, an image some believe is the actual face of Christ, formed at the moment of his Resurrection. Pope Emeritus Benedict visited this Shrine in 2006 to venerate the Holy Face of Manoppello.
During our final two days in Rome, Dr Robert Moynihan — the founder and editor of Inside the Vatican magazine, plans to introduce you to a number of friends who live and work there. They will recount some little-known anecdotes, and weave for us a fascinating narrative surrounding some of the most important Vatican events the last few years.
Assisi (the birthplace of St. Francis, born 1181)
- Spend 3 nights and 2 1/2 days pilgrimaging in beautiful Assisi, a medieval city seemingly untouched by time
- Accommodations at St. Anthony’s Guest House, which has a beautiful view of Assisi
- Attend Mass celebrated at the tomb of St. Francis
- Visit the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels built over the Portiuncula — the little church built by St. Francis
- Visit the Basilica of St. Clare and pray at her tomb
- Confession available to prepare for the Easter Triduum
- Meet some of our Franciscan friends in Assisi
- Study and discuss the readings of the Easter Vigil Liturgy
Norcia (the birthplace of St. Benedict and his twin sister, St. Scholastica, born in 480)
- Spend 2 nights at the Palazzo Seneca in Norcia and dine in one of Italy’s most distinguished culinary towns
- Holy Thursday – the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at the Monastery of St. Benedict with the Benedictine monks of Norcia
- Good Friday morning – excursion to Roccaporena to visit St. Rita’s birthplace and to recite the Stations of the Cross slowly walking up the Rock of St. Rita; then to Cascia to visit St. Rita’s incorrupt body and venerate a Eucharistic miracle
- Good Friday afternoon – the celebration of the Passion of our Lord at the Monastery of St. Benedict with the Benedictine monks of Norcia
- Good Friday evening – participate in a live Stations of the Cross procession around the walled medieval city of Norcia
- Easter Saturday morning – a reflection given by Father Cassian Folsom, OSB, prior emeritus and founder of the restored Benedictine monasteray
- Spend 5 nights at the Hotel Michelangelo
- Holy Saturday – Easter Vigil Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica celebrated by Pope Francis
- Easter Sunday – Easter Sunday Mass with Pope Francis, and attendance at the Pope’s Urbi et Orbi message in St. Peter’s Square
- Easter Monday – pilgrimage to Manoppello to visit the Shrine of the Holy Face and to Lanciano to visit the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano.
- Enjoy a walking tour of Baroque Rome – Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Piazza Navona with Dr. Moynihan
- Visit 4 major Basilicas of Rome
- Attend the Papal Audience
- Meet friends of Inside the Vatican magazine