Parish trip to Rome, San Giovanni and Assisi 2011
On Thursday 26th of May 2011. Twenty Four Pilgrims departed St Richard’s by mini buses to Manchester Airport on the start of our journey to Rome. Our flight was on time so we arrived in Rome by 6pm. A coach took us to our Hotel, the “Pacific”, where we were able to wash and change in time for dinner.
Next morning, Friday, our first day, we walked to the Vatican where we had Mass in the chapel of St Anne, just inside the gates of the private part with very smart guards at the gate. After Mass we had our group photograph take in front of the Vatican, then, joined the queue to go inside. After lunch we boarded a coach to take us round the three other main basilicas, first St Paul’s outside the walls, then on to St John Lateran, after this we crossed road to the Church of Scala Santa ( Holy Stairs ) where lots of people were going up the steps on their knees, then on to St Mary Major.
The next morning Saturday, we decided to get the bus to Mass as the church the Sacred Heart was across town. After Mass we had free time to wander around then in the evening we went for a tour of “Rome by night” A marvellous experience to walk around all the sites in the warmth of the evening.
Next morning Sunday, we departed the Hotel for San Giovanni Rotondo, on the way we visited the monastery of St Francis at Monte Casino. It is a marvel to see especially when you realise it was destroyed by the Allies during the war because they mistakenly thought the German troops were occupying it. Now completely restored and looking fantastic perched on top of the mountain. From there we went down to the commonwealth war cemetery and had Mass. A very moving experience. When everybody had had chance to look around the graves we moved on to San Giovanni Rotondo.
This morning, Monday, we had Mass in the ancient chapel followed by a visit to the English book shop to be shown a couple of videos on St Padre Pio then on to visit the Basilica of St Padre Pio. After we were able to have some free time and take in the sights.
Today, Tuesday, we leave for Assisi, on the way we stopped at Loreto where we had Mass in the Crypt chapel of the Holy Cross Church, after a short visit we continued on to our Hotel in Santa Maria del Angeli in time for dinner.
Next day, Wednesday, we went by Coach up to Assisi to spend the whole day. We had Mass in the Basilica of St Francis, at the Altar of St Catherine, after this we visited St Clare’s Basilica. We had some free time to look around then on the way back to the Hotel we called in at the Commonwealth war graves just outside Assisi as One of the families who were with us had a relative there so we had a nice little service for them and all the soldiers who were remembered there.
Thursday, our last day here, after breakfast we crossed the road to the Church of St Mary of the Angels for Mass in the Porziuncola chapel.
After a relaxing coffee break we then boarded our coach for the return journey to Fiumicino Airport in Rome. Everything went according to plan and we were even early getting back. A wonderful pilgrimage and great company, enjoyed by all.