In 1585, in the height of the chaos caused by the Reformers, Pope Sixtus V determined on certain reforms that, he prayed, would strengthen the universal Church by strengthening the reciprocal relations between the world’s bishops and the Vatican. This papal legislation codified the ancient practice of bishops reporting on the health and well-being of their dioceses to the Pontiff and regulated when and how regularly each bishop would come to the threshold of the tombs of the Apostles to make his report.

All bishops who are charged with leadership of a diocese are required to make an Ad Limina visit every five years and present a report on the pastoral situation of the local Church. It is an important spiritual pilgrimage and a reminder of a local bishop’s wider role in communion with the bishops of the world.

The Vatican instructions on the Ad Limina make it very plain to bishops that: “The best preparation is spiritual”. The instruction says each bishop will “undoubtedly sense the need to involve the entire diocesan community in reflection and prayer” on behalf of the action he is to perform for the good of the Church.

Saturday February 8 Day 1: Departure: Depart for your overnight flights to Rome.  


Sunday February 9 Day 2: Arrive Rome: Upon arrival in Rome, we are met by our representative who will remain with us for the duration of the tour. We immediately start our pilgrimage by celebrating Mass at the Church of the Santo Spirito in Sassia (Holy Spirit in Saxony). The church in Rome is located near St. Peter’s Square (by the Vatican). Not only is it famous for its beautiful and very rich decorations, (it is adorned with numerous paintings, frescoes, and works of eminent artists from many periods) but it also has a long history of bringing mercy to the human spirit and body. We then head to our hotel for check in.

Overnight: Rome (D)


Monday February 10 Day 3: Rome: This morning we head to the Basilica of St. Mary Major, one of the oldest shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin (here we celebrate Mass). We then visit the nearby Sanctuary of the Holy Stairs (Scala Santa) and the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the former residence of the popes prior to their return to Rome in 1377. The tour continues with a visit of the Church of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem, housing the Passion relics brought to Rome from the Holy Land by St. Helena of Constantinople. Free afternoon.

Overnight: Rome (B, D)


Tuesday February 11 Day 4: Rome: This morning we make our way to the Vatican and visit The Papal Basilica of St. Peter, here we celebrate Mass. We then enjoy an extended tour of St. Peter’s Basilica with a chance to visit the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in St. Peter’s. Free afternoon.            

Overnight: Rome (B, D)


Wednesday February 12 Day 5: Rome /Papal Audience*: This morning we leave to the Vatican to attend the Holy Father’s general Papal Audience at St. Peter’s Square (Pending the Papal Schedule), otherwise we will head to the 4th Century Basilica of St. Paul’s outside the Walls, here we celebrate Mass. We continue to Tre Fontane Abbey, where St. Paul was beheaded by order of Emperor Nero. Rest of day is at leisure.           

Overnight: Rome (B, D)         


Thursday February 13 Day 6: Assisi: Today we drive to Assisi, home of Saint Francis. Once we arrive, we celebrate Mass at one of the chapels at Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and see the tomb of Saint Francis. Our walk through the beautiful town of Assisi takes us to the Basilica of St. Clare, where we view her incorrupt body in the crypt. Free time to explore the city on your own before we continue to Florence.             

Overnight: Florence (B, D)


Friday February 14 Day 7: Florence: We start our day by visiting the Basilica of the Holy Cross. Rebuilt in 1294 by Arnolfo di Cambio on the site of a former Franciscan oratory, the Basilica is now the largest Franciscan church in the world. It features sixteen chapels decorated with marvelous frescoes by Giotto or Donatello. Here we celebrate Mass. Free time afterwards to explore further this Renaissance city. We return to Rome.

Overnight: Rome (B, D)


Saturday February 15 Day 8: Return Home: This morning we transfer to the airport for our return flights home with memories and keepsakes to last a lifetime.