Published March 10, 2005
Archdiocesan Catholics have the opportunity to make a special pilgrimage with Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory to Rome, Italy, June 22-July 2, as he receives the pallium from Pope John Paul II.
On June 29 at St. Peter’s Basilica the Holy Father will celebrate a special Mass during which he will present the pallium to Archbishop Gregory as well as other new metropolitan archbishops from around the world.
A circular band of white wool which the pope places on the shoulders of each archbishop of a metropolitan see appointed during the past year, the pallium symbolizes an archbishop’s twin responsibilities of shepherding the flock entrusted to him and fostering communion with the pope. The event takes place each year on June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, to remind each archbishop that he is to be a shepherd in union with Peter and an evangelizer in imitation of Paul.
In addition to the pallium Mass, pilgrims will have an opportunity to tour some of the major Catholic landmarks in Italy.
Pilgrims will depart on June 22 via an overnight flight to Rome. Upon arrival in Rome, the travelers will be met by their English-speaking tour escort and will travel by luxury motor coach to the Italian seaside village of Gaeta, a Mediterranean coastal resort famous for its beaches, shopping and restaurants. The village is also home to the U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet flagship. Pilgrims will have free time to rest and explore their new surroundings before a welcoming dinner with their tour guide. They will then spend the night in Gaeta.
On Friday, June 24, pilgrims will depart Gaeta for San Giovanni Rotondo, where Mass will be celebrated at the tomb of St. Padre Pio. Following Mass, there will be a tour of the sanctuary, old church and crucifix from which Padre Pio received the stigmata in 1918. Later, the Atlanta group will visit the Grotto of Michael the Archangel, one of the most celebrated shrines of Christianity, where many popes and bishops have prayed, seeking the protection of St. Michael.
After spending the night in San Giovanni Rotondo, the pilgrims will depart June 25 for Assisi, with a stop in Lanciano to see the eucharistic miracle in the little church of St. Legonziano. In this church in the eighth century, a monk, expressing doubts about Christ’s true presence in the consecrated host, found himself holding a host that had changed into flesh and wine that had changed into blood.
Pilgrims will then depart to the Marian Shrine of Loreto and visit the holy house of Nazareth and the Madonna of Loreto, where more than 50 popes have made a pilgrimage. The group will then make its way to Assisi and stay there for three nights.
On Sunday, June 26, morning Mass will be celebrated at the Basilica of St. Clare in Assisi, where the pilgrims can also view her incorrupt body. They will visit St. Mary of the Angels Basilica where St. Francis spent most of his life and will also tour the chapel within it, known as the Porziuncola, the rose garden and the cave where the saint retired for prayer.
Later, the group will make an excursion to Cascia to view the incorrupt remains of St. Rita who had a great devotion to Christ’s Passion and is the patroness of impossible cases. After a group dinner, the pilgrims will spend the night in Assisi.
On Monday, June 27, Archbishop Gregory will celebrate Mass at the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. The pilgrims will have the rest of the day free to explore the city on their own.
On Tuesday, June 28, the group will travel to Orvieto where Mass will be celebrated at the Orvieto Cathedral. They will then tour the Chapel of the Corporal to see the Eucharistic Miracle related to Corpus Christi. Pilgrims will have free time to shop on the classic Italian winding streets of Orvieto for local ceramics and famous Orvieto white wine, before continuing on to Rome, where they will spend the night.
Pilgrims will spend most of Wednesday, June 29, on a Christian Rome tour, including the Basilicas of St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran, the Holy Steps climbed by Christ in Jerusalem, and the Basilica of the Holy Cross, where some of Christianity’s most important relics, including a piece of the True Cross, thorn and nails are housed. After lunch, the group will visit the catacombs. The Holy Father will celebrate the pallium Mass at 6 p.m., the highlight of the pilgrimage. The Mass will be followed by a reception at the North American College.
On Thursday, June 30, Archbishop Gregory will celebrate Mass in the historical chapel of the Casa, providing the space is sufficient for the group. Mass will be followed by a celebration luncheon at Cecelia Metella. The rest of the day will be available for pilgrims to explore Rome on their own.
Mass at Santa Susanna, the American church in Rome, will start the day on Friday, July 1, and will be followed by stops at the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel, as well as a tour of St. Peter’s Basilica. After free time for lunch, time will be available to shop for religious souvenirs around St. Peter’s. In the evening, a gala farewell dinner will be held to celebrate the success of the pilgrimage.
After spending their last night in Rome, those making the trip will make their return flight to Atlanta the morning of July 2.
An early booking special of $3,489 per person based on double occupancy rooms is offered to those who make a $350 deposit by April 1. After April 1, an additional $100 will be added to tour prices. An additional air tax is estimated to be $135. The balance will be due 75 days prior to departure.
The total cost includes roundtrip airfare from Atlanta to Rome on scheduled air service, nine nights of hotel accommodations, Mass celebrated daily at sacred churches and basilicas and 15 meals, including breakfast daily and six dinners including the gala farewell dinner. The cost also includes guided sightseeing tours in San Giovanni Rotondo, Assisi and Rome, entrance fees, the pallium Mass celebrated by the Holy Father, services of a professional English-speaking tour manager in Italy, hotel porterage for one piece of luggage and local taxes.
Rates are based on local tariffs, exchange rates and taxes in effect February 2005 and are subject to increase before tour departure. Space is limited.
A registration form is available on the archdiocesan Web site at www.archatl.com. For more information contact Corporate Travel Service, Inc., at (313) 565-8888, ext. 121.