Italy has long been a popular choice for people who have chosen to live out their faith, as it is also known as the birthplace of Catholicism. The towns of San Giovanni Rotondo, where St. Padre Pio lived; Assisi, where St. Francis and St. Clare were born; Lanciano, the location of an eighth-century Eucharistic miracle; and Manoppello, where one can view the Miraculous Image of the Holy Face of Jesus, are just a few of the many sites of devotion and worship that can be found there. The ultimate destination for religious pilgrimages is undoubtedly Rome, the heart and home of the Catholic Church.

Embark on a once-in-a lifetime spiritual journey. Join a 15-day pilgrimage to the Shrines of Italy with a Pilgrimage Chaplain on September 30 – October 14, 2024.

Begin your pilgrimage in Venice, sometimes referred to as the City of Canals or the Floating City. Venetian architecture, serpentine canals, and exquisite bridges make this city among Italy’s most charming. Visit Venice major sights, including the Piazza San MarcoDoge’s PalaceBridge of Sighs, the magnificent Basilica of St. Mark, and more.

 Head for Padua to visit and celebrate mass at the elegant and majestic Basilica of St. Anthony de Padua, which also houses the remains of St. Anthony. Travel onwards to Milan for your two-night stay in one of the great Italian cities, where you will find rich history, art, and culture through grand landmarks. Visit the massive Cathedral of Milan, or the Duomo di Milano; walk through Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele; and  visit the La Scala Theater. Head for Tremezzo, where you will board your private boat and enjoy an enchanting one-hour cruise on Lake Como. After your cruise, join your guide for a walking tour of Como’s historical center, including the Duomo and the Romanesque Sant’s Abbondio Church.

Travel south to Rapallo, where you will board a private minibus to Portofino, one of the most popular resort towns on the Italian Riviera. The town is clustered around its small harbor and is known for the colorfully painted buildings that line the shore. Continue with your pilgrimage to Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis, founder of the Franciscan order and one of the most revered Catholic saints. Marvel at the grandiose and gorgeously embellished Basilica di San Francesco, which contains the sacred relics of St. Francis and beautiful frescoes of his life. 
 
The next stop is Cascia, the hometown of St. Rita. Visit and celebrate mass at the Monastery and Basilica of St. Rita of Cascia, the minor basilica where the incorrupt body of St. Rita is preserved.

Head for Loreto to visit the Basilica of the Holy House, a shrine believed to be the house where our Blessed Mother was conceived and born and where the Holy Family lived. Pious devotees believe that the same house was flown over by angelic beings from Nazareth to Dalmatia (modern-day Croatia). Then the house was again transported to the hilltop town of Loreto in Italy in 1294.  Continue with your pilgrimage to Manopello to visit and celebrate mass at the Santuario del Volto Santo (Shrine of the Holy Face), where a piece of linen cloth depicting the face of Jesus Christ is stored in the church.

Onwards to San Giovanni Rotondo, where St. Padre Pio spent most of his life. Visit the cell where St. Padre Pio lived and died. See the crucifix in front of which he received the stigmata while praying in the Church of Our Lady of Grace (Santa Maria delle Grazie Church). Pray before his incorrupt body displayed in a part-glass coffin at the Sanctuary of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina (sometimes referred to as Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church).
Head for Monte Sant’ Angelo to visit thegrotto that houses the Sanctuary of St. Michael the Archangel (Santuario di San Michele Arcangelo). It is believed that here, St. Michael the Archangel appeared and consecrated the shrine himself. Next stop is Lanciano to view the Eucharistic Miracle, still miraculously preserved in a monstrance at the Church of St. Legontian since the 8th century.

Wind down your pilgrimage with a 3-night stay in the beautiful city of Rome. Dubbed the greatest open-air museum in Europe, Rome will steal your breath away. Visit the Vatican City and the major shrines and basilicas of Rome, including the Basilica of St. Peter, built over the tomb of St. Peter; the Scala Santa (Holy Stairs), the steps Christ walked by on his way to trial before Pontius Pilate; the Churchof St. Alphonsus, which houses the original icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help; and more.

There is no better place to explore the mysteries and wonders of our faith than through a pilgrimage to Italy. From the haunting beauty of ancient churches to the awe-inspiring magnificence of its towering shrines, Italy is a spiritual destination like no other. Join a 15-day pilgrimage with a Pilgrimage Chaplain on September 30 – October 14, 2024. May this experience help deepen your faith and love for Jesus, the Blessed Mother, and the Saints.