Italy & Paris – September 2017

Sacred Heart Pilgrimage to ITALY
Led by Rev Fr Clemens Selemela

Join Polokwane’s Sacred Heart Cathedral on this beautiful pilgrimage to Italy

Rome • Assisi • San Giovani Rotondo
with Cassino, Lanciano, Rieti Valley and more
plus Paris!

3 – 15 September 2017


Sunday, September 3
We depart from OR Tambo International in Johannesburg begin our pilgrimage to Italy and Paris.

Monday, September 4
Upon arrival in Paris, we have a traditional French breakfast in a café. We begin our spiritual journey with Mass at the Miraculous Medal Chapel in Rue de Bac We then embark on a panoramic tour of the city where there is a famous landmark on virtually every corner. Of course, we stop at the famous Notre-Dame Cathedral. We enjoy a cruise on the River Seine with a delicious three-course lunch of French cuisine. Afterwards we go to the Montmartre district with the famous Sacré-Cœur Basilica, where perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament above the altar has continued uninterrupted in since 1885. We then return to Charles de Gaulle airport to fly to Rome.

Tuesday, September 5
After a leisurely breakfast we leave Rome to drive to Cassino to visit the famous Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino, the hilltop  where in 529 AD St Benedict established his first monastery, the source of the Benedictine Order and therefore all of Western monasticism. The sanctuary was bombed by US forces in World War II but has been lovingly restored to its former glory. We then proceed to San Giovanni Rotondo.

Wednesday, September 6
Today we explore the Shrine of Padre Pio, which centres on his tomb inside the Church of Our Lady of Grace (Santa Maria delle Grazie). We see his cell, his confessional, the crucifix from which he received the stigmata, the Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church, and the Way of the Cross (Via Crucis) on the forested hillside above Santa Maria delle Grazie.

Thursday, September 7
We drive north along the Adriatic coast to visit Lanciano in the Abruzzo region, site of the first Eucharistic Miracle recognised by the Catholic Church, dating to the eighth century. We have Mass in the Sanctuary of the Eucharistic Miracle. We have an opportunity to explore this lovely small town with its many churches before we proceed to Assisi.

Friday, September 8
The Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli (St Mary of the Angels), just outside Assisi, is the place where St Francis’ ministry really began and where he died. In the Rose Chapel St Francis met with St Anthony of Padua. Inside the grand Baroque basilica is the Porziuncola, the tiny church in the meadows which St Francis was called to renovate. In the afternoon, we visit the Eremo delle Carceri: in the caves on the slope of Mount Subasio just outside the walls of Assisi, St Francis and his followers established their first home at the Carceri Hermitage. He often returned there during his life to pray. At San Damiano Convent St Francis first received his miraculous calling in 1205 and St Clare died there in 1253; It is here that St Francis wrote his Canticle of Creation.

50 St Francis Basilica in Assisi

Saturday, September 9
Today we explore Assisi, the town of St Francis of Assisi and his companion St Clare. The 13th-century Basilica of St Francis contains the tomb of Francis and Giotto’s beautiful frescoes of his life. St Clare Basilica, also from the 13th century, houses the relics of St Clare, original robes that belonged to her, as well as the miraculous crucifix that spoke to Francis. We have some time at leisure to explore this historic and beautiful town before we proceed to Rome.

Sunday, September 10
We visit a very special place which few pilgrims go to: the beautiful Rieti Valley in the Lazio region, where St Francis and companions moved to after they left Assisi. Here we visit the Santuario Francescano del Presepio in Greccio, where St Francis invented the Nativity Scene. We can see the Dormitory with the cells of Saints Francis and Bonaventure, and the chapels in which Franciscans have had Mass over the course of almost 800 years. Pope Francis visited this place on his day off in January 2016. In Fonte Colombo with the San Michele Church, St Francis wrote the Rule for his order. We can see the rock he used as a bed and go through the cave in which he wrote the Franciscan Rule. We can also see tiny Chapel of St Mary Magdalene, which is almost unchanged since St Francis used it. We then proceed to Rome.

Monday, September 11
We visit the basilicas of St John Lateran, the pope’s cathedral as Bishop of Rome, and St Mary Major, one of the oldest churches in the world, having originally been built in the fifth century. We see the  Pantheon, the Roman forum, the Arch of Constantine and the Colosseum, as well as the Rome of the Renaissance: the Trevi Fountain, Piazza di Spagna (or Spanish Steps), Navona Square.

Tuesday, September 12
Today is our Vatican day! We visit St Peter’s Basilica with its many religious and artistic treasures, including the tombs of Saints John XXIII and John Paul II. We visit the Vatican Museum, which houses the Sistine Chapel and some of the most important art collections in the world. We will have reservations to skip the long tourist lines at both St Peter’s and the Vatican Museums. We have the afternoon at leisure in Rome.

Wednesday, September 13
Today we see the pope at the general audience in St Peter’s Square. It is an unforgettable experience to see Pope Francis close-up (subject to the Holy Father being in Rome). After lunch and some free time we proceed along the ancient Appian Way to the Catacombs, the long underground cemeteries which the early Christians used as a place of hiding to escape persecution.

St Paul's Outside the Walls

Thursday, September 14
We visit the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls, with the tomb of St Paul and the images of every pope in history. We also visit the Basilica of St Lawrence Outside the Walls, with the tomb of St Lawrence the Deacon. The Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, consecrated in the fourth century, was built to house the relics brought to Rome from the Holy Land by St Helena, some of which are still there, and other important churches before we make our way to the airport for our flight home.

Friday, September 15
We arrive in Johannesburg in the morning, tired but spiritually enriched by our holy journey.


Est. Price: 34,690 (sharing, ex-Jhb; subject to currency, airport tax fluctuations, calculated on 31 passengers; R13,93 to the Euro)

Includes: All flights ex-Johannesburg (incl. airport taxes), accommodation in 3 and 4-star hotels (sharing) with breakfast and dinner, Seine cruise with three-course lunch in Paris, travel insurance, transfers, travelling on air-conditioned luxury buses, English-speaking guides and tour escort, entrance fees as per itinerary.

Excludes: Visas, tips & hotel taxes (mandatory), lunches, personal expenses, travel to and from O.R. Tambo Airport/Jhb.

A deposit of R3,500 secures your place on this unforgettable pilgrimage. For account details and booking form, please download the illustrated itinerary.
Click Here to Book or for Further Information