Pilgrimage to The Veneto Region of Northern Italy
Travelling to Italy, Led by Fr Martin Plunkett , 29 April - 5 May 2019
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 city of Verona. 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 shrine started from 25th March 1985 when a local man called Renato Barron reported having apparitions of Our Lady in the small 10th century church of San Martino. Since then a shrine has developed which many tens of thousands of pilgrims have now visited. Until his death in 2004 Renato said that Mary was coming to Schio as the Queen of Love to initiate a movement of renewal in the Church, based in a deeper call to understand the immense love of God and to become missionaries of love in the world. Many times the extraordinary phenomenon of a miraculous perfume appeared to confirm the presence of the Madonna. The local Church has consented to the presence of the shrine whilst its message and fruits are discerned. 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 over 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. The pilgrimage will also be visiting Verona: Although Verona is famous for being the city of Romeo and Juliet, it is much more than that. San Zeno was a 5th century bishop and the Romanesque church which houses the Saint’s relics, is one of the finest of this period in Europe.
Fr Martin Plunkett
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: Verona
This morning we meet Paola in the guesthouse and join our coach for the transfer to Verona, to the Basilica of St Anastasia where we celebrate Mass. Afterwards we meet our local guide for this morning’s guided tour. We will visit some delightful medieval squares as well as the famous balcony at Juliet’s home! We also visit Romeo’s home, the Piazza dei Signori, San Pietro Incarnario and Juliet’s Tomb. Today lunch is at choice. There will be some time at leisure before we join our coach for the return trip Schio. We will then have a light supper in the guesthouse. The group will then gather in the Casa Nazareth meeting room to share testimonies, reflections and music.
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
29/04/19 - 04/05/19
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 Verona. Pax Travel 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.
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:
Deposit of £200 (plus the insurance premium if the cover we offer is required) per person on booking with a completed booking form. Final payment is due no later than 28th February 2019.
The tour price of £599 is guaranteed until Friday 2nd November 2018. Any further bookings may be subject to a flight surcharge.