As we pilgrimage along the spiritual byways of Italy, sometimes over time-worn cobblestones in the city, and sometimes over highways through the beautiful countryside, we will encounter truly unique places and people that are today’s living expressions of our 2,000-year-old faith.
From the ancient rooms where St. Paul lived for seven years, to the bishop’s residence in Assisi; from the treasure trove of art and faith at the Vatican Museum, to the Benedictine monastery of Norcia; we will encounter some of the “living stones” of our Church, as we journey toward the Face of Christ — both spiritually and physically, in the form of the miraculous Face of Manoppello.
Because of our work for Inside the Vatican magazine over these 35-plus years, we have formed relationships with many people over that time, allowing us rare access to locations and people that an ordinary “tourist” would never see, including:
- The bishops of Loreto and Assisi, if they are available, and the tomb of Venerable Carlo Acutis, the Italian teenager who died at 15 after cataloguing the world’s Eucharistic Miracles
- The column on which St. Paul was beheaded (microscopic analysis found flecks of blood on the column) is made available by our friend, the gatekeeper, for veneration
- Visit the Church built over the home of St. Pudens who is mentioned in the Bible by St. Paul. This home served as the first papal residence, where St. Peter lived for seven years. Access to the oldest parts of this building, dating to the first century, is provided by another of our gatekeeper-friends
- Sr. Emmanuela, another friend, the nun who wrote the guidebook for the outstanding “Faith and Art” tour at the Vatican museum, will lead us on our own private tour
- Our friend, Father Cassian Folsom, the modern re-founder and prior emeritus of the Benedictine community in Norcia, the birthplace of St. Benedict
And of course, a major highlight of our pilgrimage will be our awe-inspiring visit to the shrine where the mysterious image of the face of a Man — many believe he is the Man of Sorrows — appears on a piece of rare cloth, the Shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppello.