Medjugorje • Rome • Assisi • Padre Pio: March 2022

• Led by Fr S’milo Mngadi •  7 – 18 March 2022

Join Fr S’milo Mngadi (right) on this wonderful pilgrimage to Medjugorje, Rome, Assisi, San Giovanni Rotondo (Padre Pio), St Michael’s Cave, Loreto and Lanciano, with a guided tour of Split in Croatia.

Monday, March 7, 2022
We meet at OR Tambo International in Johannesburg to catch our flight and begin our pilgrimage.

Tuesday, March 8
We arrive in Rome, and visit the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls with the authenticated tomb of St Paul the Apostle, and the images of every pope in history, from St Peter to Pope Francis, represented in medallion mosaics. We then explore the Rome of the Renaissance, including the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Navona Square as well as the Pantheon. Overnight: Rome

Wednesday, March 9
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 pope being in Rome at the time) — and at Fowler Tours, we know exactly where to be for the best view! After lunch we visit St Peter’s Basilica, which was built on the site where St Peter was martyred. At St Mary Major Basilica Pope Francis has a special devotion to the statue of Mary Salus Populi Romani in the basilica which he visits before every foreign trip. See also the relic of the Lord’s manger. St John Lateran Basilica is the official cathedral of Rome and of the pope. It includes many great artworks as well as a remnant said to be of the table of the Last Supper. We also have opportunity to see the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Overnight: Rome

Thursday, March 10
After breakfast we leave Rome and go to Lanciano in the Abruzzo region, site of the first Eucharistic Miracle recognised by the Catholic Church, dating to the 8th century. We have Mass in the Sanctuary of the Eucharistic Miracle. Then we go south to San Giovanni Rotondo, the town of Padre Pio. Overnight: San Giovanni Rotondo

San Giovanni Rotondo Pilgrimage Church.

Friday, March 11
At San Giovanni Rotondo 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 possessions, his confessional, the crucifix from which he received the stigmata, and the Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church.
We then visit St Michael’s Cave, one of the holiest places in Italy, based on a 5th-century miracle. St Francis of Assisi considered it to be so holy that he wouldn’t even enter it. Overnight: San Giovanni Rotondo

Saturday, March 12
In the morning we return to San Giovanni Rotondo follow the Way of the Cross (Via Crucis) on the forested hillside above Santa Maria delle Grazie and complete our spiritual programme there. We then proceed to drive north-west to Assisi, the town of St Francis.

St Francis Basilica in Assisi

Sunday, March 13
Today we explore Assisi, guided by a local expert. The 13th-century Basilica of St Francis contains the sacred 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. 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 here 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 an important stop on the pilgrimage to the Franciscan holy city. We then visit the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli (St Mary of the Angels), just outside Assisi. This is the place where St Francis’ great mission really began and where he died. Inside the grand Baroque basilica is the Porziuncola, the tiny church in the meadows which St Francis was called to renovate Overnight: Assisi

Monday, March 14
After breakfast, we leave Assisi and drive across Italy to the town of Loreto where we see the Holy House of Nazareth and the beautiful Madonna of Loreto which more than 50 popes have visited. According to legend, angels miraculously carried Our Lady’s house from the Holy Land to Loreto. Historians have a simpler view: a family named d’Angelis transported Mary’s house from Nazareth to Europe after the Crusader kingdom in the Holy Land fell to the Saracens. We then proceed to Ancona where we take the overnight ferry across the Adriatic to Split, Croatia. Overnight: Cabin on the ferry

Split in Croatia. (Photo: Katarzyna Tyl)

Tuesday, March 15
In the morning we arrive in Split in Croatia where we enjoy a guided tour of this historic and picturesque coastal city in Croatia region of Dalmatia. We see sights such as Diocletian’s Palace, built in AD 305. The ancient St Duje Cathedral is the mausoleum of Diocletian, the persecutor of Christians, turned into a church. Peristil Square is an original Roman court.

After our tour, we proceed to Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the evening we participate in the Joyful and Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, Holy Mass, Blessings of Objects, Prayer for health of soul and body, and the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. Overnight: Medjugorje

Wednesday, March 16
Today we have a guided tour of Medjugorje and there will be opportunity for encounters with visionaries of Medjugorje. Three of the visionaries still see the Blessed Virgin every evening during the recitation of the Rosary at 18:40. There will be time for prayer, silent adoration and, if requested, confession.

We climb the Hill of the Apparitions where bronze plaques depicting the Mysteries of the Rosary help us meditate on the life of Our Lord. On top is the site of the first apparitions of the Virgin, a place of contemplation. We also follow the Way of the Cross on Mount Krisevac. The massive cross on the peak was erected long before the apparitions, in 1934 to mark the 1,900th anniversary of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. Overnight: Medjugorje

Thursday, March 17
After breakfast, we drive to Dubrovnik, on Croatia’s Adriatic coast. Subject to our flight schedule, we will have time at leisure in the city of history and beauty before we begin our journey home.

Friday, March 18
We arrive in Johannesburg in the morning, spiritually raised by our holy journey which brought us in contact with Our Lord, Our Lady and many great saints in Medjugorje, Rome, San Giovanni Rotondo, Assisi and so on.

 

A deposit of R4,800 secures your place on this unforgettable pilgrimage. Send proof of payment, completed booking form and a clear copy of your passport — and your place will be secured! Booking form and info in the detailed, illustrated itinerary.

Est. Price: R42,350 (sharing, ex-Jhb; subject to currency, airport tax fluctuations, calculated on 35 passengers; R16,58 to the Euro)

Includes: All flights ex-Johannesburg (incl. airport taxes), accommodation in 3 and 4-star hotels (sharing) with breakfast and dinner (in Italy; Medjugorje breakfast only), ferry from Ancona to Split (accommodation in cabin), travel insurance (up to age 69), transfers, travelling on air-conditioned luxury buses, English-speaking guides and tour escort, entrance fees as per itinerary.

Excludes: Visa (Schengen for Italy, applies to all three countries), tips & hotel taxes (mandatory), lunches, dinners in Medjugorje, personal expenses, travel to and from O.R. Tambo Airport/Jhb.

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