Join Catholic Answers on a once in a lifetime pilgrimage to Rome! You’ll be joined by the President of Catholic Answers, Christopher Check, Catholic Answers Live Host, Cy Kellet, and spiritual Chaplain, Fr. Hugh Barbour, O.Praem.
Our pilgrimage begins as we depart from our local airport for an overnight flight to Rome, Italy.
Tuesday, November 5
Upon arrival in Rome, we’ll be greeted by our Canterbury tour manager and will stop by the hotel before an afternoon walk to explore the Velabro, where Romulus and Remus were raised there by the Palatine Wolf. We will visit San Giorgio in Velabro (relics of Sts. Sebastian and George) and Santa Maria in Cosmedin (relics of St. Valentine). If time allows, we will also see the best-preserved buildings of Rome during the Republic: The Forum Boarium, the ruins of the Largo Argentina, the Portico of Octavia, the Jewish Ghetto, and the theater of Marcellus. We enjoy a welcome reception, dinner on our own, and have the remainder of the evening to rest.
Wednesday, November 6
After breakfast, we’re off to Saint Peter’s Square for the Papal general audience with the Holy Father (subject to the Pope’s schedule). Following a lunch break, we’ll tour the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica, built on the site where Saint Peter, the chief apostle, died a martyr and was buried in 64 AD. We walk back to our hotel by way of The Via Pellegrini (The Way of the Pilgrims) and see Castel Sant’Angelo, Ponte Sant’Angelo, and Chiesa Nuova, St. Philip Neri’s Church. We enjoy Mass together and a group dinner.
Thursday, November 7
Following breakfast, we will have a full-day walking tour of the Centro Storico, the Historic Center of Rome today. We will celebrate Mass at San Luigi dei Francesi, the French national church in Rome; and visit St. Agostino where St. Monica rests and the Jesu, the Jesuit Church in Rome, home to the right arm of Francis Xavier. Following a generous break for lunch we will visit the Pantheon and Santa Maria Sopra Minerva where Galileo was tried, and St. Catherine of Siena rests. We’ll then walk back to our hotel by way of three of Rome’s most famous piazzas: the Piazza Navona, the Piazza Farnese, and the Campo de Fiori. Group dinner.
Friday, November 8
Following breakfast, we will depart the hotel by bus and have Mass at the Church of St. Agnes Outside the Walls where her bones are kept. We will also see one of the less busy catacombs in Rome, a foundation of one of the earliest Constantinian basilicas. Next, we will visit St. Lawrence Outside the Walls which is home of the relics of Justin Martyr, St. Lawrence, and Pius IX. After a group lunch we will visit Santa Croce in Gerusalemme built over the home of Constantine’s mother, St. Helena, where the Passion Relics reside. We’ll end out tour with the oldest church in Rome, St. John Lateran and have a chance to climb the Scala Sancta, the steps from Pontius Pilate’s palace brought to Rome by St. Helena. Independent dinner.
Saturday, November 9
Today we will walk to the one of the loveliest and quietest parts of Rome, the Caelian Hill. On our way, we will pass the Circus Maximus viewing to our left and Palatine Hill. Following Mass at Santi Giovanni e Paulo we will explore the Roman houses beneath this church before visiting Santi Quattro Corinati including the Capella San Sylvestro and the Cloister. Next we’ll see San Stefano Rotunda. After a group lunch, we will visit San Clemente and its excavations. Pilgrims who wish to visit the Flavian Amphitheater (Colosseum) the Roman Forum or the Palatine Hill may do so independently. Independent dinner.
Sunday, November 10
Today’s walk will start on the Aventine Hill. We will start with Mass at Santa Sabina, headquarters of the Dominican Order in Rome. We’ll visit Santa Maria del Priorato, the church of the Knights of Malta and then stroll through the medieval neighborhood of Trastevere, literally “across the Tiber.” We’ll visit San Franceso a Ripa, home to a magnificent Bernini statue and St. Francis’s “pillow.” We’ll visit Santa Cecilia’s Basilica and admire Moderno’s sculpture of this saint. After an independent lunch in Trastevere, we will visit San Chrysogono and Santa Maria in Trastevere followed by free time for shopping before our group dinner.
Monday, November 11
Today we will see some of the most brilliant and important apse mosaics in Rome, crucial to our understanding of early Christina liturgy. Following Mass at Cosmas and Damien we will stroll up the Esquiline hill and visit Santa Pudenziana built over a home where tradition holds St. Peter offered Mass. Next we’ll visit the Church of Santa Prassede, her sister. We’ll end our morning at the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore. After this easy morning, pilgrims will have free time until our group dinner.
Tuesday November 12
We will start our day with Mass at Santa Maria Della Vittoria, home to Bernini’s most famous sculpture, St. Theresa in Ecstasy. From there we will walk to the Piazza Barbarini where we visit the creative ossuary of Santa Maria Concezione. We then make our way to the famous Spanish steps before visiting the Trevi Fountain and throwing a coin to be sure we will return to Rome. After a break for lunch and shopping, we will have a short ride to the Galleria Borghese a Renaissance Palazzo, home to some of Bernini’s greatest works. We will meet for a reception and dinner in the evening to bid each other farewell and to say, “arrivaderci Roma!”
Wednesday, November 13
Following breakfast, we transfer to Rome's airport this morning. With a renewed sense of pilgrimage, and an invigorated love of our Catholic faith, we’ll board our plane for the return flight home.