Saints & Shrines of Italy April 2018 (SOLD OUT)

20 April 2018 to 30 April 2018

Watch the full length video of this two week pilgrimage below.

Italy Pilgrimage from Steve Ray on Vimeo.

You can also download here.





Journal

Last Call for "Saints & Shrines of Italy" - only 4 seats left open

Screen Shot 2018-01-13 at 9.50.27 AMIf you want to see more of Italy than just Rome, this is the trip for you.

We start in the north and work our way south through Milan, Pavia, Florence, Sienna, Assisi, San Giovanni Rotundo, Loreto, Manoppello, Lanciano and more – finally arriving for the highlights of Rome.

This pilgrimage begins April 21 with beautiful Spring weather. Teresa Tomeo will be joining us.

To see the incredible itinerary and interactive map, along with info on registering, click HERE.

Screen Shot 2018-01-13 at 10.01.56 AMTo see our other trips, including the Passion Play in Oberammergau Germany, Poland, Ireland, Mexico, Jordan, St. Paul Mediterranean Cruise and of course the Holy Land and more, click HERE.

We will not be doing another Italy or Rome trip for a couple years because of all the others spectacular places we will be visiting in 2019 and 2012.


Arriving in Milan Italy, Amazing Duomo Cathedral, Renewing Baptismal Vows at St Augustine‘s Baptismal Font…

Everyone arrived safely in Milan Italy and we had an amazing day. The emphasis of the day was the amazing Duomo Cathedral which took hundreds of years to build and is one of the most beautiful churches in the world.

Fr. Fran’s opening homily in Milan Cathedral HERE.

The Duomo is the 3rd largest church in Europe and it contains the baptismal font Where Doctor of the Church, St. Ambrose baptized Doctor of the Church St. Augustine. We renewed our Baptismal Vows there.

Enjoy the movie!


Milan Italy: Da Vinci’s Last Supper, St. Ambrose Tomb and more...

Enjoy today’s incredible spiritual adventure in Milan Italy! Inspiring homily at Church of St. Ambrose.


Visit Tomb of St. Augustine, Tour of Florence...

We left Milan early in the morning and drove to Pavia where we had a tour and Mass at the tomb of Saint Augustine. Fr. Fran’s “home run” homily.

Then a lovely drive what prayers and stories, lunch and nap time arriving in Florence.

We took a an initial tour of the city, another great dinner and then settled into our beautiful hotel overlooking the Duomo.

PART ONE:

PART TWO:


Florence all day! Mass in Duomo, Michelangelo’s “David,” Cooking Class and more...

Today was all day Florence. We step back hundreds of years to marvelous Catholic culture of the Renaissance. What a beautiful and enchanting city full of history and art, good food and nice people.

We started our day by walking to Santa Croce Church (Holy Cross). This commemorates the finding of the true cross and is a Franciscan church—the largest Franciscan church in the world.  Besides marvelous art and history it also has the tombs of Galileo, Michelangelo, and Dante along with other luminaries.

Mass at the Duomo was marvelous and we could’ve spent an hour more discussing the amazing paintings inside the dome. Father Fran’s homily was excellent again!

We took off walking again through the city and came to the museum which houses Michelangelos “David“.

Everybody have the afternoon free to find a nice café or pizza shop, walk around revisiting the churches, shopping or resting.

We regrouped at 4:30 and walked to a exquisite experience. We had a fun cooking class in Florence and then we ate dinner after watching the chef prepare it (fantastic video of cooking class uploaded tomorrow). I hope you enjoy today!

ALL DAY FLORENCE

COOKING CLASS PART ONE

COOKING CLASS TWO — AND END OF DAY


Siena & Assisi: Eucharistic Miracle & Dinner with Daughter of a Saint

Enjoy Siena  with the Eucharistic Miracle and Relics of St. Catherine (amazing and beautifully quaint medieval Catholic city). Here is Fr. Fran’s homily in front of the Eucharist Miracle.

Enjoy our arrival in Assisi for a talk and dinner with the daughter of a Saint.

PART ONE

PART TWO


All Day Assisi! Mass at Tomb of St. Francis, Hermitage, Wine Tasting and more

Started the day with Mass in a nearly unprecedented way — at the tomb of Saint Francis of Assisi in the grotto below the church. Another excellent homily here.

A full tour of the Church of St. Francis, walking through the city exploring the history and arriving at the Church of St. Clare and her tomb.

Free time, visiting the Franciscan Hermitage up on Mount Subasio, wine tasting in the middle of the vineyards and free time back in Assisi. Great day!


Assisi to Holy House of Loreto, Mass at Face Cloth of Christ in Manoppello to Lanciano

An amazing day with lots of holy sites. As we left Assisi and drove along the Adriatic Sea we stopped at the Holy House of Loretto.

From there we drove to Manoppella where we had Mass in front of the actual face cloth of Jesus found in the tomb by Peter and John. Another great homily.

From there we drove to Lanciano for the night. Tomorrow we will have Mass in front of the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano.


Mass at Eucharistic Miracle in Lanciano, Cave of St. Michael Archangel Cave, Giovanni Rotundo...

One of the highlights of our trips is a stop in Lanciano for the magnificent Eucharistic Miracle. It is set up so you can get right up close and intimate with Miracle. We had Mass in front of the miracle and Fr. Frans delivered another homerun homily.

After Mass we drove through the beautiful countryside along the Adriatic Sea until we arrived at St. Michael the Archangel’s Cave. People of been visiting this for centuries and has 1 million visitors a year.

Then we ended up in San Giovanni Rotondo where we had some free time and a restful party before dinner with wine, cheese bread and salami. Then a nice dinner and good night sleep. Tomorrow we visit the Body of Padre Pio.

 


Mass at Padre Pio’s Altar, Visited his Incorrupt Body, Drive to Singing Dinner in Rome

Today we woke up and beautiful son Giovanni Rotondo on the side of a mountain or Padre Pio lived and worked. We started the day with my talk on Padre Pio (see whole talk on video below) and Mass at the altar where the saint celebrated Mass for so many years. We all sat right next to his confessional. I heard one person say it was the highlight of the whole trip so far.

You can listen to Fr. Fran’s homily here.

We then visited his glass-encased tomb so we could all get up close and see his incorrupt body. After our group picture we started our way towards room. We had fun along the way with my (Steve Ray’s) conversion story, Teresa Tomeo’s story and both priests gave their vocation stories. Several lunch and ice cream stops along the way and we arrived in Rome in good time.

After time to freshen up we took off for Benito’s for dinner where we were serenaded with Italian music.

MY 10-MINUTE TALK ON PADRE PIO

FULL DAY FROM SAN GIOVANNI ROTUNDA TO ROME


First Day in Rome: Chains of St.Peter, San Clemente, Coliseum and Roman Forum

We hit the ground running in Rome today. Some of our folks who did not stay for the extension went to the airport and flew home. But 30 and us remained for three days with intensive touring of Christian Ancient and Christian Rome.

We started the day with Mass at the Church of Saint Peter in Chains  (homily here) before venerating the tombs of Saint Ignatius and Saint Clement in the Church of San Clemente.  These two Apostolic Fathers were disciples of the Apostles and they convinced me of the truth of the Catholic Church.

We also descended into subterranean 1st century Rome under the church for an interesting tour of archaeology. Then we met up with our guide Liz Lev and we took an intensive tour inside the Colosseum and Roman Forum where we showed how the Catholic Faith progressed through the first centuries. It was a full semester history on Rome. It was an excellent tour.

The group asked Liz if Christians were martyred in the Coliseum. Here is her answer.

Then to our favorite restaurant for dinner.


Mass at JPII Altar, Last Steps of St. Paul, Catacombs and more

One of the irritating things for me when I’m trying to make these videos every day for our group and for a wider audience is that in many places they will not allow us to take photos or videos. So, how do I document the sites and our events? It happened to me twice today but I did my best to work around it.

I hope you enjoy today’s movie as we had our tour of St. Peter’s Basilica and Mass at the very coveted altar of Saint John Paul 2. The homily is here. We followed the last steps of Saint Paul  where he was murdered at Tre Fontaine and where his bones lie in the sarcophagus in Saint Paul outside the Walls.

We had a delightful lunch at your chili and the Tele which is our favorite lunch spot for groups. It’s out on the via Appia and the pastor they serve there is everyone’s favorite. From there we went to the Purcella catacombs and saw subterranean room and some of the first art ever produced by Christians including the first image we have of the blessed virgin Mary holding Jesus.

Everyone had later in the afternoon in the evening free to scatter out for shopping, exploring and discovering nice restaurants or cafés for dinner. Great time was had by all!


Papal Audience, Rome Walking Tour, Mass at Graphic Martyr Church and more

Papal Audience began our day — everyone go t good pictures and videos up close with Pope Francis. We left on a three hour walking tour through Rome which included the Trevi Fountain, lots of gelato, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and more.

We drove to St. Stefano’s Church for Mass where I gave an abbreviated version of my talk “Swimming Upstream“. I showed them all the murals of the martyrdoms which are pretty graphic. Fr. Fran’sexcellent homily here.

Liz Lev then came to our hotel and gave her one and a half hour slideshow presentation on the Sistine Chapel to prepare our group for their visit tomorrow. There is nothing else like Liz’s presentation and you can get a feel of it when she did it as one of the TED Talks.

We had a great dinner here at the Michelangelo Hotel and a good nights sleep in preparation for a busy day, our last day, tomorrow.


Last Day: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chaoel, Mass with JPII and Faustina, Free Afternoon, Farewell Dinner

Today was our last full day of the pilgrimage. Everyone flies home tomorrow morning. This has been a remarkable and deeply spiritual and gratifying pilgrimage with a lot of wonderful Catholic folks.

Today we walked to the Vatican and went through the museums seeing the very special Rafael Rooms, tapestries, statues, the map hallway and ultimately the Sistine Chapel.  I am glad we were well prepared beforehand by Liz’s presentation last night.

We then had Mass with Sts. John Paul II and Maria Faustina at Sanctu Sanctu in Sassia — the Divine Meecy Church of Roma. Fr. Frans’ closing homily was a challenge to take home as evangelists what we’ve gained and experienced here

Free afternoon and farewell Dinner at one of our favorite hideaways Schiavi D’ Abruzzo.


Saints & Shrines of Italy Farewells

Kind words and farewells.