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Saint of the Day: The Holy Guardian Angels
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The Aleteia experience in Rome


October 29 – November 4, 2018

Monday, October 29, 2018 – Arrive in Rome

You have arrived in Rome. After lunch and a rest, we will make a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica and stop at shops along the way nearby the Vatican where we will have the opportunity to purchase various religious articles that can be blessed by the Pope at the Papal blessing later in the week, on Wednesday. In the early evening we will all gather for a welcome mass and dinner where you will have a chance to meet and converse the other pilgrims and friends of Aletelia at one of our favorite restaurants Overnight in Rome. (lunch and dinner)

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 – Rome

Today we will have morning mass followed by a tour at the ancient catacombs that are located in  the beautiful Italian countryside just outside the city. On our way back to the city we will take the Appian Way, one of the oldest roads in the Roman empire, it was constructed in 312 B.C. and extends all the way to the foot of Italy. We will stop along the way for a picnic if the weather permits. Many of the Romans enjoy picnicing in the picturesque countryside that surrounds the city and the Appian Way.

We will also visit Basilica of St. Sebastian near the catacombs, and then the Basilica of St. Paul outside the wall which is dedicated to St. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, who was beheaded in Rome, and contains his tomb. This very impressive church contains the images of all the popes in circular mosaic portraits around the church. St. Paul outside-the-wall contains the tomb of St. Paul as well as the chains that were used to bind him before his death when he was a  prisoner in Rome. The chains were used to bind St. Paul as a prisoner in Rome from 61-63 A.D. and are displayed in a golden reliquary beneath the altar. After venerating these relics we will return into the city for dinner. Overnight in Rome. (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 – Rome

We will gather for private mass at the Divine Mercy Church called Sancto Spirito, which is very near the Vatican. After mass we will head to St. Peter’s square for the Papal audience and blessing which begins at 10:30 a.m.

During the audience, Pope Francis will share a small teaching and reading in Italian which will then be translated into English, French, German, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, and sometimes other language depending on the groups that are visiting. The Pope will follow with a greeting to all people gathered in St. Peter’s square. At the end of the Audience, the pope will lead us in the Our Father in Latin. This prayer will be printed on the back of the papal audience ticket. After the Our Father, Pope Francis will impart his Apostolic Blessing upon the crowd, which also extends to our loved ones at home. He will bless any item that you may have purchased along our journey together.

After the audience, we will have lunch together near the Vatican, then we depart for an afternoon stroll through Baroque Rome, stopping at main Roman sites such as the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and the piazza Navona. Along the way we will stop at cafes and restaurants as well as various notable churches, including one that holds original Caravaggio paintings. As we go we will continue to point out many interesting places, peeling away the layers of ancient Roman and Church history. We will end in the Piazza Navona for a relaxing dinner at one of our favorite Italian restaurants.

One of our stops during our walk will be made at the Basilica of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte, which has a very special side chapel. In fact, it is so special that many come to Rome just to pray at its side altar. Here in 1842, just ten years after the first Miraculous Medals were struck, Our Lady appeared to Alphonse Ratisbonne, an avowed anti-Catholic Jew, manifesting herself exactly as she is depicted on the Miraculous Medal. This apparition to Alphonse Ratisbonne began the Miraculous Medal tradition that had begun in France to Rome.

Today, many pilgrims from all over the world travel to Rome just to visit this side altar in devotion to the Miraculous Medal. This chapel is also where St. Maximilian Kolbe celebrated his first mass on April 29th in 1918. Overnight in Rome. (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Thursday, November 1, 2018 – Assisi

Today we will journey north through the Lazio and Umbria regions for about two hours to the beautiful medieval city of Assisi. Assisi has been called the center of spirituality in Europe and it is one of the most peaceful places in the world. Today, Assisi is a medieval walled city situated on a hillside, it holds the the tomb of St. Francis in the main basilica of Assisi on the top of the hill. Also in Assisi, we will visit the tomb of St. Clare. After our arrival we will take a leisurely walk through the stone streets of Assisi to the Basilica of St. Francis. Inside the vast Basilica of St. Francis which is beautifully situated on top of the hill with an expansive courtyard that overlooks the valley below Assisi, we will venerate the tomb of St. Francis located in the lower part of the Basilica. Afterwards we will walk stop at the Basilica of  St. Clare to venerate her tomb in the crypt. Before we depart from Assisi, we will have All Saints’ Day mass at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels which is the basilica in the valley below the hill. We will then travel back to Rome for the night. (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Friday, November 2, 2018 – Rome

Today we will visit three beautiful basilicas of Rome, St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran, and Santa Croce as well as the original image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Beginning at St. Mary Major we will see the holy icon of Our Lady that is believed to have been painted by St. Luke himself making it the oldest known image of Our Lady. The icon hangs in St. Mary Major and is called Salus Populi Romani (English: Protectress of the Roman people– Protectress is the translation of the Latin ”salus” which means “salvation” or “health.”) It has historically been considered the most important icon in Rome.

One of the first acts of after his election was Pope Francis’s prayer before the salus Populi Romani. In May of 2013, the month dedicated to Our Lady and the Holy Rosary, Pope Francis also prayed his first public Rosary before this ancient and venerable image. And, he has continued to honor this important basilica, visiting it more than many more times since his election- stopping here before and after each trip he makes, and usually bringing a bouquet of flowers and praying in silence for 10 to 20 minutes.

We will then stop at the nearby Church of St. Alphonsus Liguori which houses the original 15th Century Byzantine icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help after venerating the icon we will continue to the Basilica of St. John Lateran. The Basilica of St. John Lateran is the oldest and ranks the first among the four Papal basilicas of Rome. So it was the first church built in Rome. For centuries the popes lived here. The facade has the inscription Christo Salvatori, “To Christ the Savior,” indicating the church’s dedication to Christ.

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. In ancient Rome, it was the baptism church. The Archbasilica was built in the time of Constantine and was consecrated by Pope Sylvester in 324. St. John Lateran contains two important relics: the ancient baptistery, built by Constantine, which can only be used by the pope as well as relic said to be part of St. Peter’s communion table; and the Altar of the Holy Sacrament containing a cedar table that is said to be the one used by Christ at the Last Supper.

Finally, we will visit the Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (English: The Holy Cross in Jerusalem). This Basilica contains many relics of Christ’s passion brought over during the crusades from the Holy Land including a few thorns from His crown, His nails, and the sign Pilate nailed above Christ’s head after venerating these relics we will head back .

We will gather for an evening tour of the magnificent Vatican Museum followed by dinner in the Vatican Museums. Overnight in Rome. (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Saturday, November 3, 2018 – Lanciano & Manoppello

Today we will travel to two very important shrines which house one of the most important miracles of Italy and  one of the most important relics in Italy– the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano and the Shrine of the Holy Face. We will be up early to travel about 2 ½ hours, across Italy to the Adriatic Sea, to the town of Lanciano in the rugged Abruzzo region. Once we arrive in Lanciano, we will enter the church that houses the Eucharistic miracle to behold the body and blood of Christ made visible.

In the year 700, a Basilian monk offered mass in Lanciano’s small church of St. Legontian. The monk, who had doubts about transubstantiation, wondered if the bread and wine really became the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. At the words of Consecration, the doubting priest witnessed the bread transform into five actual drops of blood, which then congealed. To this day, the cloth containing the five drops may be venerated by pilgrims from all over the world.

After venerating the relic we will have lunch in the heart of Lanciano at a local trattoria.

Lanciano, which translates into “the lance” is named after the lance of St. Longinus, the Roman soldier who thrust his spear into Our Lord’s side. Lanciano bears this name because it is the birthplace of St. Longinus.

We then head back towards Rome, heading to a little town of Manoppello, Italy (population of 157– yes it’s tiny!) still in the Abruzzo region. Our drive is short- only about 40 minutes. There, we will visit the shrine of the Holy Face– the shrine which contains the 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 and imprinted on it. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI visited this shrine in 2006 to venerate the Holy Face of Manoppello.

We plan to have enough time to stop at the Adriatic Sea–to dip our toes in the water–on our drive from Lanciano to Manoppello- the true Italian experience! After stopping at these two towns we will make our way back to Rome, stopping for dinner along the way at one of the Italian autogrills. Overnight in Rome.  (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Sunday, November 4, 2018 – Rome

Today for our last day in Rome, we will have Sunday Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica with the Pope. Afterwards we will have the afternoon free to enjoy the city, before gathering for a farewell dinner. (breakfast and dinner)

Monday, November 5, 2018 – Rome (breakfast)

Pilgrimage Overview


  • Spend 7 nights in Rome
  • Attend a Papal Audience as a guest of Aleteia
  • Enjoy a guided tour of the Vatican museum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Visit Santa Croce, the church containing relics of the Passion from Jerusalem
  • Travel along the old Appian way
  • Pray at the Basilica of Sancto Spirito, the Divine Mercy sanctuary in Rome
  • Visit three beautiful Roman Basilicas, St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran and Santa Croce.
  • We will have a chance to venerate the oldest known icon of Our Lady, believed to be painted by St. Luke
  • Dine with friends of Aleteia
  • Enjoy a walking tour of Baroque Rome to the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and the Piazza Navona.
  • Visit and pray in the famous Basilica Sant’Andrea delle Fratte, where Mary appeared to Ratisbonne, a catalyst for the arrival of the devotion of the miraculous medal in Italy.

Meet Vatican monsieurs and learn about the Vatican and our church today.

Day Trips:

Assisi (the birthplace of St. Francis, born 1181)

  • Visit and pray at the tomb of St. Francis in the Basilica of St. Francis
  • Visit and pray at the tomb of St. Clare in the Basilica of St. Clare
  • Visit and attend mass at the the Basilica of the Angels built over the Portiuncula- the little church built by St. Francis
  • Explore the beautiful medieval city of Assisi

Meet the Franciscan Friars living in Assisi today

Manoppello & Lanciano

  • Visit and venerate the relic of the Holy Face in Manoppello
  • Visit and venerate the Eucharistic miracle in Lanciano