Pilgrimage to The Veneto Region of Northern Italy

Travelling to Italy. Led by Father Martin Plunkett, 30th Sep - 5th Oct 2017
This pilgrimage offers a new and unique experience combining 3 significant spiritual destinations all in the Veneto region of Northern Italy: the Shrine of Our Lady Queen of Love in Schio, the Convent of St Josephine Bakhita in Schio and the wellknown basilica of St Anthony in Padua. St. Anthony, born in Lisbon in 1195, came to Italy at the age of 26 and after meeting St. Francis during the feast of Pentecost in 1221 was inspired to become a great Franciscan preacher, missionary and teacher. After his death at the age of 36 near to Padua, his body was later buried in the great Basilica constructed by the townspeople of Padua. The base for the 5 day trip will be the Shrine of the Regina Dell’Amore, the Queen of Love, in the area of San Martino in Schio. Set in the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains this peaceful and beautiful little modern shrine started from 25th March 1985 when a local man called Renato Barron claimed to be having apparitions of Mary in the small Xth century church of San Martino. Since then a shrine has developed which many 10,000’s of pilgrims have now visited. Until his death in 2004 Renato said that Our Lady was coming to Schio to initiate a movement of renewal in the Church, based in a deeper call to understand the infinite love of God. Many times the extraordinary phenomenon of a miraculous perfume appeared to confirm the presence of the Madonna. The local Bishop Beniamino Pizziol has consented to the presence of the shrine and has appointed a spiritual director whilst the Church discerns the 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. Eventually joining the Canossian sisters in Schio, where for 40 years she lived an exemplary life of forgiveness and charity until her death in 1947 and was then canonised in 2000 by St John Paul II. St Bakhita has been adopted as the patron for all those who work against all forms of trafficking and slavery.
Fr Martin

DAY ONE: UK - Venice - Schio
Scheduled flight from the UK to Venice, transfer to coach for Schio where we will head to the pilgrim’s 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 will join the local community for the Saturday 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 la Regina dell’Amore – the Queen of Love. We will participate in Sunday 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, this afternoon there will be the opportunity of ascending the Monte di Cristo to follow the Via Crucis – Way of the Cross and seeing the sight of where many of the apparition gatherings were. 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.
Travel by coach to Padua (about 1.5 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. Return to Schio in the early evening where 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 in the evening where there will be a prayer group which concentrates on prayer for families and is attended by many of the locals.
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 private cell of the Saint which is preserved and an exhibition of many of her belongings and facts related to her life. The sisters will give us a talk explaining the events of her life to us. We will then have lunch 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 where we will have rest time and then a light supper. The rest of the evening is at leisure. For those who wish, there is the option to attend the Cenacolo prayer group or the Via Crucis.
On this day – the last full day in the shrine the idea is to have a “Retreat” day in San Martino to be able to engage more deeply with the message and spirit of the shrine. We will have a meeting with Rita Barron, the widow of Renato Barron in the morning. Through an interpreter she will explain to us her experience since the initial events began there in 1985. Time permitting there will be the chance to follow the Via Crucis on the Monte di Cristo. Lunch is included at a local restaurant. In the afternoon we will visit the Chiesetta di San Martino where Renato used to go and pray and where he said that Our Lady appeared and spoke to him the first time. We then visit ‘Piccola Opera dell’Amore – the ‘Little Work of Love’ – which is the community of consecrated men who work in supporting the shrine. We will then have a tour of 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. Followed by Mass. A light supper will be served at Casa Nazareth. We finish the day with a service of prayer and healing with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament opportunities for Confession and music and an act of Consecration to Our Lady as Queen of Love.
DAY SIX: Schio - Venice - UK 
This morning we hope to celebrate Mass at Cenacolo, followed by a last chance to visit the gift shop and the shrine park. Flight time permitting a light lunch will be included at a local restaurant and time at leisure before transferring to Marco Polo Airport for our return flight to the UK.
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. 


Travel Insurance: £33

Single Room Supplement: £60

30/09/17 - 05/10/17
Price Includes:
Return scheduled flights from U.K. to Venice. Current U.K. and Italy airport departure taxes. 20kg luggage allowance per person, airline dependant. 5 nights accommodation in shared twin or double bedded rooms with en suite facilities at Casa Nazareth, or similar, Schio. Meal plan: 5 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 2 light dinners and 3 dinners. All touring and transfers in Italy by air-conditioned coach as per the itinerary. Local guided tours by fully licensed English-speaking guides in Padua. Pax Travel tour manager to accompany the group whilst in Italy. Entrance fees as per the itinerary. Daily Mass at different shrines and churches.
Price Extras:
Travel insurance at £33 per person. Single room supplement at £60 per person for 5 nights (limited availability). U.K. transfers. Catering during the flights. Meals not included in the itinerary and drinks. Gratuities to guides, coach drivers and hotel staff. Flight surcharges if passed on by the airline.
Terms of Payment:
You can confirm your place on the tour by completing a booking form and returning it to Pax Travel Ltd with a deposit of £200 (plus the insurance premium if the cover we offer is required) per person. The above price is guaranteed for bookings received by 31st May 2017. Any bookings received after this date may be subject to a flight surcharge.
Religious denomination and worship:
Members of all Christian denominations are welcome on this pilgrimage. There will be the opportunity to attend daily Roman Catholic Mass.