12th to 24th September 2011
|Early on the morning of 12th September 2011, 23 bleary
eyed pilgrims boarded JET2.com flight LS791 to Rome Fiumicino airport at
the beginning of a 12 day pilgrimage to Rome, Assisi and Palazzola.
The pilgrims were Christine Bodley, Anne & Brian Cunningham, Joan Fitzgerlad, Thelma Gownlock, Ruth Hamilton, Ninette Harris, Elsie Hedges, Elizabeth Humphries, Father Paul & Andrea Lomas, Delia & Peter Lucas, Bernadette & John McNaughton, Sandra McDermott, Audrey O'Brien, Celia Rollason, Graham Rollason, Bernard Ronan, Ellen Shaw & Barbara Warren. They would all be joined by Anthony Coles in Rome, Antony being the pilgrimage organiser and leader (Delia & Peter Lucas were the local parish co-ordinators)
ROME - Monday 12th September... Transfer to The Lancelot Hotel was by Ialungobus coach. On arrival and settling in we were welcomed with a wonderful outdoor lunch on the vine covered patio. A real flavour of what was to come throughout our stay in Italy. After Lunch we visited the Basilica of San Clemente with its 1st, 4th and 12th century levels. This was followed by a visit to the Basilica of Saint John Lateran the cathedral church of Rome.
In the evening at 18.30 hrs we had the option, which many took, of attending vespers with the Augustinian Sisters at San Quattro Coronati. After dinner there was again the option of taking a guided evening walk around the Colosseum built by the emperors Vespasian and his son Titus from AD 70, with Anthony
Tuesday 13th September... An early start this morning to visit the Basilica of St. Paul's Outside the Walls with its many English connections and also the mosaics of 265 Popes! A guided tour was followed by Mass at 10.00 hrs celebrated by Father Paul. This was followed by some free time to allow us to visit the cloisters and of course the souvenir shop. We then continued by way of a short walk to visit the Tre Fontane where St. Paul was martyred.
We then returned to our hotel and the afternoon was free for personal sightseeing with suggestions for visits to the Piazza Navona or the Pantheon. In the evening there was an optional walk to the Trevi Fountain - some of the party chose to go by a No 85 bus.
Wednesday 14th September... Wednesday morning was free with the option of attending the Pope's General Audience in St. Peter's Square to which a number of the group chose to go, although it meant an early start. Others in the group had chosen to visit the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. In the afternoon there was a walk over the Esquiline Hill to visit the church of San Alfonso (Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour) and for Mass at 15.30 hrs. After Mass we then moved on to the church of Santa Prassede with its 9th century mosaics and then the Basilica of Saint Mary Major (dedicated to Our Lady). After dinner back the hotel we took a walk on the Caelian Hill to see from where Augustine was sent to England in 597.
Thursday 15th September... A very early (7.00 hrs) transfer by coach to Saint Peter's Basilica for for Mass at 8.00 hrs in the crypt near the tomb of Saint Peter. After Mass many of us took the opportunity of visiting Saint Peter's before the crowds which would soon be milling around. Some of the more hardy and energetic pilgrims decided to brave the steep climb of some 323 steps to the top of St. Peter's dome - and what a climb it was! but the views over Rome were magnificent and well worth the effort.
The rest of the day was free for individual sightseeing, shopping or just soaking up the unique atmosphere of Rome, as you might sit in one of the many cafes, snack bars or restaurants. On returning to the hotel and enjoying yet another wholesome and filling meal the rest of the evening was free. After such a busy day many just settled for a seat in the bar and glass of whatever took their fancy.
Friday 16th September... This morning we took a trip by coach to visit the Catacombs of San Callixtus where we visited burial grounds that went back to the first century AD. These have been well excavated over the years and it was fascinating to get this glimpse back into early Christianity.
Later we all had the privilege of participating in the Mass celebrated by Father Paul in these historical surroundings.
From the Callixtus Catacombs we then set off on a late morning drive of 4.5 hrs to take us to Assisi.
Now let us travel on to ASSISI