Mary Queen of Love, St Anthony & St Josephine Bakhita Pilgrimage to Italy
11th - 16th May 2020
This pilgrimage offers a new and unique experience combining three significant spiritual destinations all in the Veneto region of Northern Italy: the Shrine of Our Lady Queen of Love and the Convent of St Josephine Bakhita in Schio and the well-known basilica of St Anthony in Padua. The base for the 5 day trip will be the Shrine of the ‘Regina Dell’Amore’, or Queen of Love, in the area of San Martino in Schio. Set in the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains this peaceful and beautiful modern shrine began on 25th March 1985 when a local man called Renato Barron reported having apparitions involving a statue of Mary becoming alive in the small 10th century church of San Martino. Since then a shrine has developed with many thousands of pilgrims visiting there and making a consecration of their lives there to Our Lady. Until his death in 2004 Renato said that the Blessed Virgin Mary was coming to Schio to initiate a movement of renewal in the Church, involving a deeper call to understand the love of God and to be missionaries of God’s love in the world. Many times the extraordinary phenomenon of a miraculous perfume was detected which seemed to confirm the presence of the Madonna. The local Bishop of Vicenza consented to the presence of the shrine while the Church could then discern its message and fruits over a period of time. The pilgrimage will also take us to the convent and home of the Sudanese Saint Josephine Bakhita. Stolen from her home as a child, Bakhita was sold a slave until she was released by an Italian family. She eventually joined the Canossian sisters in Schio, where for over 40 years she lived an exemplary life of forgiveness and charity until her death in 1947. Bakhita was canonised in 2000 by St John Paul II and has since been adopted as the patron saint for those who work against all forms of trafficking and modern slavery. The pilgrimage will also be visiting the Basilica of St Anthony in Padua where the relics of this Doctor of the Church are venerated. St Anthony was born in 1195 and became a Franciscan friar known for his holiness and preaching. He died aged just 36 and was canonised shortly after, becoming one of the Church’s greatly loved Saints.
DAY ONE: Gatwick - Venice - Schio
Midday departure from Gatwick to Venice Marco Polo, transfer to coach for Schio where we will head to the pilgrims’ guest house called ‘Casa Nazareth’. Dinner will be included in a local restaurant. We will then pay our first visit to the ’Cenacolo’ or ’Upper Room’, which is the Queen of Love chapel situated in the shrine park. There we can join the local community for the Monday evening Prayer group and Rosary.
DAY TWO: Schio
Today will be spent in the shrine in San Martino and the surrounding local areas dedicated to the Regina dell’Amore – the Queen of Love. We will celebrate Mass at the Cenacolo chapel, followed by a tour of the shrine park including the Rosary Way and the life size statue scenes of the House of the Holy Family and the Grotto of the Nativity. Lunch will be included in a local restaurant; the rest of the afternoon will be at leisure. For those who wish, in the afternoon there will be the opportunity of ascending the Monte di Cristo to follow the Via Crucis, Way of the Cross, and visit the places where many of the apparition gatherings were. A light supper will be served in the guesthouse followed by a healing service of prayer and music, with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and opportunities for Confession.
DAY THREE: Padua
Travel by coach to Padua (about 1 and a half hours). This morning’s guided tour will be focused around St Anthony and the great basilica constructed by the townspeople of Padua, where St Anthony is buried. Here we also hope to celebrate Mass. We then continue onto the 16th century cathedral (Duomo) and the 12th century baptistery next to it, with frescoes depicting scenes from the Bible including the Passion and the Resurrection of Christ. This afternoon there will be a visit to the magnificent Capella degli Scrovegni, built in 1303 by Enrico Scrovegni, the interior of which contains Frescoes of New Testament scenes by Giotto, which have been acclaimed as his masterpiece. Before returning to Schio by coach we stop off at the Sanctuary of Arcella, just outside Padua, which is the site of St Anthony’s death. Anthony was taken on a farm wagon, when dying, and where he received the last rites from the chaplains of the Poor Clares, and passed away serenely n the early evening. We will have a light supper at Casa Nazareth. There will then be the option for those who wish to go to the Cenacolo chapel to join the evening prayer group.
DAY FOUR: Schio
After breakfast and Mass at Casa Nazareth we transfer by coach down to the centre of Schio town to visit the convent and church of the Canossian sisters there. This was the home of St Josephine Bakhita, where she spent nearly 40 years of her life. We will be shown around the convent, which includes the perfectly preserved cell of the Saint and an exhibition of many of her belongings and facts related to her life. The sisters will give us a talk explaining the events and significance of her life to us. We will then have lunch (at our own expense) at a restaurant in Schio town centre followed in the afternoon by free time in the town. In the late afternoon we will transfer back to Casa Nazareth. A light supper will be served in the guesthouse followed by Testimonies from those who have been living and working in the shrine, relating the story of the events there for us, as well as providing some musical entertainment.
DAY FIVE: Schio
The last full day in San Martino will be a ‚Retreat‛ day to engage more deeply with the message and charism of the shrine. In the morning we will follow the Via Crucis for those who are able or simply take time to pray in the shrine. Lunch is included at a local restaurant. We then visit the Casa Annunziata which is the home for the elderly and abandoned, which Renato said Our Lady asked to be built as an example of Christian love. There we will have a meeting with Rita Barron, the widow of Renato Barron. Through an interpreter she will explain to us her experience since the initial events began there in 1985. Finally we will finish our visit there by joining the community for Mass there. A light supper will be served at Casa Nazareth. We finish the day with a service of prayer to the Holy Spirit with music, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, opportunities for Confession and an act of Consecration to Our Lady, Queen of Love.
DAY SIX: Schio - Venice - Gatwick
This morning we hope to celebrate Mass at Cenacolo, followed by a last chance to visit the gift shop and the shrine park. Lunch at a local restaurant (at our own expense) and time at leisure before transferring to Marco Polo Airport for our return flight to the UK, arriving Gatwick at 8pm.
This tour involves a substantial amount of walking, some of which will be over irregular surfaces such as cobblestones and badly-maintained walking areas. If everyday walking is something you find difficult, this tour may be unsuitable for you.
This itinerary is a guide and subject to change.
Single room supplement: £60
11/05/20 - 16/05/20
Return scheduled flights with easyJet: Gatwick - Venice. Current UK and Italy airport departure taxes. 23kg luggage allowance per person. 5-nights accommodation in shared twin or double-bedded rooms with private facilities at Casa Nazareth (or similar), Schio. Meal plan: 5 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinner in a local restaurant and 4 light suppers in the guesthouse. All touring and transfers in Italy by air-conditioned coach as per the itinerary. Local guided tour by fully licensed English-speaking guide in Padua. Italian/English speaking Tour Manager to accompany the group whilst in Italy. Entrance fees as per the itinerary. Daily Mass at different shrines and churches. ATOL and ABTA financial protection.
Travel insurance. If you will be under 80 years old when travel commences you may like to arrange cover through Travel & General Insurance Services Ltd. Visit their website http://www.tgic-online.com/ti/jsp/start.jsp?AccountID=4299 or phone them for details: 020 3794 2954 and quote ‘Pax Travel’. If you will be 80 or more years old when travel commences you may like to contact Goodtogo on 0330 024 9952. Single room supplement at £60 per person for 5 nights (limited availability). UK transfers. Catering during the flights. 3 lunches and drinks. Gratuities to guides, coach drivers and accommodation staff. Fuel surcharges if passed on by the airline.
Terms of Payment:
To reserve your place on the tour you will need to complete a booking form and return it to Pax Travel with a deposit of £250 per person. Cheques are to be issued in favour of Pax Travel Ltd. The tour price is guaranteed for bookings Pax Travel receives by Friday 15th November 2019. You can of course submit a booking after this date, but any bookings Pax receives after 15th November may be subject to a flight surcharge. If this arises, we would advise you before processing your booking.
Final payment due no later than 11th March 2020.