For the past two decades, I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my speaking and/or music with over a million Catholics across America. Now, I invite you to join me on a faith-filled journey rooted in Catholic tradition!
The only thing missing from this itinerary is you. Come, together we will make this a trip of a lifetime! – Paul Koleske
May 4: Our pilgrimage to Italy begins as we board our flight from the U.S. for an overnight flight to Rome, Italy.
May 5: Upon arrival into Rome, we transfer via deluxe motor coach to Assisi, home of the Franciscan Order. Following hotel check-in and some leisure time, we will celebrate Mass at the Hermitage of Carceri, located in the hills of Assisi. Dinner. Overnight Assisi
May 6: After breakfast, we will visit the quaint hilltop birthplace of St. Francis that still retains something of the atmosphere of the early 1200s, when St. Francis began his ministry. After lunch at one of the trattorias in Assisi, we will proceed to the Church of St. Clare to view the Saint’s body, barely corrupt since her death centuries ago. St. Clare was the foundress of the Order of Poor Clare’s. Then on to the basilica of St. Francis, to view some of the saint’s possessions and the many frescoes depicting his life. While at the Basilica, our Spiritual Directors will celebrate Mass. A quick bus ride to the lower village for dinner. Overnight Assisi
May 7: Following breakfast, we leave the hilltop town for the lower village of Assisi to visit St. Mary of the Angels, where St. Francis spent most of his life. We’ll visit the Chapel Portiuncola, the rose bush and the cave where the saint retired for prayer. Next, we depart for Florence, located on the Arno River. Our guided tour will include the magnificent Franciscan church of Santa Croce with it’s beautiful facade, a burial place of nobles, including Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli. We’ll continue through Republic Square to the Santa Maria del Fiore, a 13th century cathedral. Time permitting, there will be an opportunity to explore the numerous museums, before returning to Assisi. Dinner and an evening at leisure. Overnight Assisi
May 8: We depart Assisi for San Giovanni Rotondo. En-route we will visit Lanciano, site of the Eucharistic Miracle of the eighth century. Next, we’ll continue to San Giovanni Rotondo, and the shrine of St. Padre Pio. We’ll visit the church of Santa Maria della Grazie, home of the tomb of St. Padre Pio, the Capuchin priest who bore our Lord’s stigmata for most of his life. Dinner. Overnight San Giovanni Rotondo
May 9: Our pilgrimage continues to Pietrelcina and the Almalfi Coastline. Enroute we will visit the town of Pietrelcina where St. Padre Pio was born to see the home he grew up in. We arrive in the town of Sorrento, where we overnight for two nights. This town offers stunning panoramic views of the bay of Naples, where you will marvel at the picturesque narrow streets, parks, and villas. Dinner. Overnight Sorrento
May 10: Depart Sorrento by boat as we cruise along the rocky Almalfi Coast. Our destination is Positano which looks onto a small bay and has a pleasant beach backed by mountain buttresses. The houses are built on terraces among gardens. We’ll visit and participate in Mass at St. Maria Assunta. Overnight Sorrento
May 11: All roads lead to Rome. Our first stop along the way is Pompeii to visit one of the most important and interesting archaeological museums in the world, having been buried in the ashes of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. We will also visit the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Pompeii. Next, we visit Montecassino, a beautiful town founded by Saint Benedict in 529. Onto Rome by way of the Colosseum, Arch of Constantine and the Forum. Dinner. Overnight Rome
May 12: We visit the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls (the burial place of St. Paul, one of the five patriarchal Basilicas and the second largest church in Rome). In the afternoon we will visit the Patriarchal Basilica of St. Mary Major. We also visit Santa Pudenziana, one of the oldest churches in Rome, where St. Peter and St. Paul resided for a time. Finally, we visit Santa Prassede a 9th-century basilica with glorious Byzantine mosaics celebrating images from the book of Revelation. Dinner and evening at leisure. Overnight Rome
May 13: Today Ancient Rome will be explored beginning with Mass at the Church of Santa Maria Ara Coeli (a Church on the Capitoline Hill which commemorates a vision of Augustus Caesar of the Virgin Mary). Next, we will visit the Mamertine Prison where St. Peter and St. Paul were imprisoned for 9 months. We also visit the remnants of the Roman Forum around the Colosseum. After lunch we will visit the Church of San Clemente where each of its three levels has historical and spiritual significance. Dinner, an opportunity for an optional walking tour to Piazza Navona. There we will enjoy the beautiful Fountain of the Four Rivers while tasting some Italian Gelato. Overnight Rome
May 14: Following breakfast, we have an early departure for St. Peter’s Square to participate in the Papal Audience (subject to the Pope’s schedule). After lunch, we have a guided tour of the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. Tonight, we gather for our Farewell Dinner. Overnight Rome
May 15: With an invigorated love of our Catholic faith, we will board our plane for our return flight home.