Rome and Assisi: October 2024

Join this special Pilgrimage of Ezakheni parish to Rome and Assisi, led by Fr Msuzi Msimango. All are welcome to join!

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Fr Msizi Msimango • 6-14 October 2024

Join this special Pilgrimage of Ezakheni parish to Rome and Assisi, led by Fr Msuzi Msimango. All are welcome to join!

Sunday, October 6, 2024
Today we depart from OR Tambo International in Johannesburg for our pilgrimage to Italy.

Monday, October 7
After arrival in Rome we proceed to the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls where we visit the tomb of St Paul the Apostle, with the reputed prison chains of St Paul. We then go on the ancient Appian Way to visit the Catacombs where early Christians buried their dead and held their forbidden services to escape persecution. We then check into our hotel and have the rest of the day at our leisure. Overnight: Rome

The tomb of St Paul in Rome • St Peter’s Basilica • General audience in the Vatican

Tuesday, October 8
Today we explore ancient and baroque Rome. We visit the Pantheon, the imposing 2nd-century structure that once was pagan temple and since 609 AD is a Catholic church, make a photo stop outside the Colosseum and survey the Roman Forum. We visit the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona and the Spanish Steps, among other great sights.

St Mary Major Basilica is dedicated to the greatest of all the saints: Our Lady. Pope Francis has a special devotion to the statue of Mary Salus Populi Romani in the basilica, in front of which we too may pray. St John Lateran Basilica, is the pope’s cathedral as Bishop of Rome. Look out for the relic of the table of the Last Supper. Nearby we have an opportunity to climb the Holy Stairs, which are said to be those walked by Jesus at his trial before Pontius Pilate. Overnight: Rome

The Colosseum in Rome • The Sistine Chapel in the Vatican • The dome of Basilica of St Rita in Cascia

Wednesday, October 9
With our guide, we visit the Vatican Museums, containing some of the world’s greatest art treasures. We visit the famous Sistine Chapel, with Michelangelo’s masterpiece of the Last Judgment, where the popes are elected. We have an expertly-guided tour of St Peter’s Basilica, built over the tomb of St Peter. We also see the tombs of St John Paul II and St John XXIII.

We then proceed to Assisi. On our way, we stop at Cascia, the town of the famous St Rita, patron saint of mothers and marital problems. Overnight: Assisi

Thursday, October 10
Today we see Pope Francis at the general audience in St Peter’s Square. It is an unforgettable experience to see the pope close-up. Afterwards we have some time at leisure to explore the Vatican and Rome, and engage in some shopping therapy. Overnight: Rome

ASSISI: San Damiano crucifix in St Clare Basilica • The Porziuncola in the basilica of Mary of the Angels • Basilica of St Francis

Friday, October 11
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. We also see Giotto’s beautiful frescoes of St Francis’ life. St Clare Basilica, also from the 13th century, houses the relics of St Clare of Assisi, original robes that belonged to her and St Francis, 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. St Clare died there in 1253 — it is an important stop on our pilgrimage to the Franciscan holy city. The Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli (Mary of the Angels), just outside Assisi, is the place where St Francis’ ministry really began. Inside the grand Baroque basilica is the Porziuncola, the tiny church in the meadows which St Francis was called to renovate. A few metres away is the Capella del Transit, the place where St Francis died on October 3, 1226. Overnight: Assisi

The village of Gubbio • La Verna, where St Francis’ received his stigmata • Spot of first Nativity Scene in Greccio

Saturday, October 12
After breakfast in our hotel we travel through the beautiful Umbrian mountains to Gubbio. This town seems painted onto a hill, with a succession of backdrops against which towers and houses stand out, surrounded by walls. Through the power of God, St Francis freed the town from a terrible and fierce wolf that afflicted it.

After free time for lunch, we continue to La Verna, the “holy mountain” where St Francis received the stigmata in 1224. Overnight: Assisi

Sunday, October 13
In the morning we check out of our hotel in Assisi and proceed to Greccio, where St Francis and his Franciscan companions established a monastery. We visit the spot where St Francis set up the very first Nativity Scene and see the cell in which the saint lived. We also visit Fonte Colombo to see the cave in which St Francis wrote the Rule of his Order and the little chapel of St Mary Magdalene, in which the saint prayed.

We then return to Rome to catch our flight back home.

Monday, October 14
We arrive home, tired but fortified by our holy journey, having made memories that will last a lifetime.

Breakfasts and Dinners included. Daily Masses in holy churches!

Projected price: R46,380 (sharing, ex-Jhb; subject to currency, airport tax fluctuations. Calculated on 30+ passengers, at R18,00 to the euro)

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

Excludes: Tips (for guides/drivers), hotel taxes, visa (Schengen), personal expenses, travel to and from O.R. Tambo Airport/Jhb.

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