“The Christian faith can never be separated from the soil of sacred events, from the choice made by God, who wanted to speak to us, to become man, to die and rise again, in a particular place and in a particular time.” — Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

In the Footsteps of Pope Benedict XVI
Signature Pilgrimage to Rome and Germany

Would you have liked to have met Pope Benedict XVI and gotten to know him? Did you ever wish you could be near enough to him to hear him explain his Christian faith and vision more deeply and more clearly?

We propose to draw as near to him as possible by traveling in the very footsteps of Pope Benedict, and reading selections from his writing at each step of the way, praying where he is buried, standing where he stood in Rome and in the Vatican, and visiting southern Germany, where he was born and spent his childhood and was a seminarian and was ordained to the priesthood. So we will travel from his grave to the chapel where he was baptized and the house where he was born in 1927…

At each stop along the way, we will have special readings from his writings and speeches, and delve deeply into the mind and heart of this holy Pope, who passed away on the last day of 2022, on the evening of December 31st, and whose last words were “Signore, ti amo!” (“Lord, I love you.”)

Traveling with us will be Dr. Michael Hesemann from Germany, who was a close friend with both Pope Benedict and his brother, who was two years older than the Pope, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger.

And Dr. Robert Moynihan will also be traveling with us, and speaking about the more than 20 times that he interviewed Pope Benedict, and came to know him better than many Vatican journalists.

We will begin in Rome, by visiting Pope Benedict’s grave, in the floor of the crypt below St. Peter’s Basilica. Then we visit all of the places in Rome where he lived and worked, including a restaurant he loved, and the apartment he lived in for 20 years as a cardinal. We will then leave Rome and go from his “second home” to his “first home”: Bavaria, in southern Germany. For four full days, we will visit the places where he was born, grew up, studied, preached and worked as a bishop. We will visit his birthplace, Marktl-am-Inn, the little towns he lived in as a boy when his father, who was a policeman, was forced to move house to take new postings — Traunstein, Tittmoning, Auschau — and the places he himself visited on pilgrimages with his mother, brother and sister, especially Altoetting, a Marian sanctuary that is a place of peace and profound holiness.

We will be together for 8 full days—time enough to visit many beautiful and sacred places, to be present at the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and to have moments of quiet reflection.

Why are we setting out on this journey? Above all, to deepen our understanding and our faith. We wish to draw closer to the leader of our Church, the successor of Peter. And through this, we wish to draw closer to God.

Please come with us on this once-in-a-lifetime journey “in the footsteps of Pope Benedict.”

dresden in germany

Pilgrimage Overview


  • Welcome to Rome!
  • After all pilgrims have checked in, we will have lunch then a brief rest
  • We will attend a Mass celebrated inside the Santa Spirito


  • Papal Mass celebrating the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul at St. Peter’s Basilica
  • A visit to Mamertime Prison where tradition holds that Saints Peter and Paul were incarcerated
  • We will also visit St. Paul Outside-the-Walls for Vespers and the Procession of the Chains for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. These chains were used to bind Saint Paul as a prisoner in Rome from 61-63 A.D. and are displayed in a gold reliquary, near the Apostle’s tomb. Only on this Feast Day each year, are the chains taken in procession around the Basilica.


  • Attend a private Mass in the crypt at St. Peter’s Basilica. After Mass, we will pass through the Holy Doors in St. Peter’s Basilica, then visit with people around the Vatican to discuss Pope Benedict and his pontificate.
  • We will visit St. Pudenziana where the first Holy Mass in Rome was said by St. Peter. We will also visit the church of St. Prassede
  • Our next visit will be to St. Mary Major, one of the four major basilicas in Rome. 


  • St. John Lateran Basilica, the oldest and first among the four Papal basilicas of Rome. As the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, it ranks above all other churches, including St. Peter’s, and so, unlike all other Roman basilicas, it holds the title of Archbasilica.
  • We will also visit the Holy Stairs. These were the steps of Pilate that Jesus ascended when He was condemned to die. These stairs were brought from Jerusalem to Rome by St. Helena in the 4th century.
  • Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalmme (English: the Holy Cross in Jerusalem). This basilica contains many relics of Jesus’ Passion, including a few thorns from His crown, His nails, and the sign Pilate nailed above Christ’s head. We will visit this church to venerate these sacred relics, if time permits.
  • Depart for the airport where we will take a short evening flight to Munich


  • We will attend Sunday Mass celebrated in the Freising Cathedral where Pope Benedict and his brother Georg Ratzinger were ordained on June 29, 1951.
  • After Mass, we will depart for Munich. We will visit the Cathedral of Our Lady which is the seat of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, where Pope Benedict was once appointed as Archbishop.
  • Very near is the Citizen’s Hall Church, which houses the tomb of Blessed Rupert Mayer, a Jesuit who preached against Nazis and was executed in 1945. This holy man was an inspiration to and special patron of the Ratzinger family, and they kept a copy of his portrait in their house.
  • Dinner in The Chinesischer Turm beer garden


  • We will travel to three German cities of Pope Benedict’s youth — Tittmoning, Traunstein, and Ascham Am Inn — all located within a short drive of each other.
  • Tittmoning is a small castle town that was used as a prisoner of war camp for Allied officers during World War II. Tittmoning is the town of Pope Benedict’s childhood, where he lived from 1929 – 1932, and we will visit the old church where he served as an altar boy.
  • After our time here we will transfer to Traunstein, another German city located near the River Tuarn where Pope Benedict spent many of his teenage years. Here we will visit the Ratzinger house, the place where the Ratzinger parents died, as well as their parish church and the St. Michael Seminary Georg and Joseph Ratzinger attended.
  • Our last visit will be to Aschau Am Inn, where Pope Benedict lived with his family from 1932 to 1937,
  • After dinner in Altoetting, we will go for an evening stroll, making our way to St. Anna Basilica for their Saturday night candlelight procession.


  • We will spend our day touring the city of Altoetting, which is frequently referred to as the “German Lourdes,” since the miracles of the Black Madonna statue draw many Marian Pilgrims from around the world.
  • We will attend Mass at The Shrine of Our Lady of Altoetting, also known as the Chapel of Grace, where the Black Madonna statue is housed. This chapel is the oldest Marian Shrine in Germany, and dates back to 660 A.D. 
  • We also will visit the St. Conrad Monastery and the resting place of St. Conrad Parzham who was the doorkeeper for the Capuchin friars in the 1800s.
  • We will stop at St. Anna’s Basilica, located mere steps away from the monastery. St. Anna’s is a relatively new cathedral, as it was recently completed in 1912.
  • We will transfer to Marktl am Inn where Pope Benedict was born. Here, we will visit the museum of his birth house.
  • We will bid a fond farewell to Altoetting and transfer to Regensburg. Here we will visit the Ratzinger family home and exhibition, and the family tomb where the Ratzinger parents are buried.
  • We will visit St. Peter’s Dom Cathedral in Regensburg, a beautiful example of Gothic art and architecture.
  • We will transfer to Weltenburg Abbey, the Benedictine monastery in Weltenburg on banks of the Danube River. The monks here are good friends of Michael Hesemann. We will encounter the monks then we will have dinner at the monks’ beer garden, where they brew some of the best beer in Germany according to their ancient recipe.


  • Farewell! Depart for home.