Tuesday August 30 — Thursday September 08, 2016
Spiritual Leader: Fr. Frank Freitas

Father Freitas (pronounced "freight-us") was raised in Kitchener-Waterloo, and following graduation from St. Jerome High School and the University of Waterloo, he attended St. Peter's Seminary in London and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Hamilton in 1997. He has served as Associate Pastor in various parishes throughout our Diocese and was a Member and Secretary of the Diocesan Council of Priests from 1999-2012. In 2013 he authored "Are We There Yet?". He is a columnist with The Catholic Register, and a frequent speaker to various conferences and groups. He recently finished his second book "More than Survive" which will be published in 2016. Read more...

Contact Father Freitas or check out Father's blog. Check out the parishes "Media Section" for Father's Homilies and talks. You can also follow Father Freitas on Twitter.

*Plus air taxes. Price per person from Toronto,
based on double occupancy.
  • Roundtrip airfare from Toronto
  • 8 nights’ accommodation in 3* and 4* hotels
  • Breakfast and Dinner daily
  • Transportation by deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach
  • Sightseeing and excursions as per itinerary
  • Local English speaking guides
  • Admission fees to sites visited
  • Baggage handling at hotel where available
  • Daily Mass at unforgettable locations
  • Spiritual Leader: Fr. Frank Freitas
  • Services of a Professional Escort to take care of all services from beginning to end
*Not included: Air taxes and fuel surcharges (approx. $595.00), gratuities, insurance, meals not specified.

Balance is due 75 days prior. (Wednesday, June 15, 2016)
For more information, contact:
Itinerary:    Details in PDF
Day 1 - Depart Toronto
Tuesday, August 30
Meet at Toronto Airport for departure to Rome. Enjoy complimentary meals and beverage service during the overnight direct flight.
Day 2 - Rome / Assisi
Wednesday, August 31
On arrival to Rome, we board our waiting coach and make our way north to the beautiful Umbrian town of Assisi, known as the birthplace of St. Francis and St. Clare. With its sacred shrines, and rich tradition of culture, Assisi has been a pilgrimage destination for centuries. On arrival, we will have mass in one of the many churches, followed by a gentle walk through Assisi “the green heart of Italy”. As we get oriented to the historic town, we become acquainted with the beauty of Assisi’s cobblestone lanes, flowering balconies and medieval architecture. After check in to our hotel, we will have our first delicious Italian dinner. The rest of the day is ours to continue our exploration of this quaint town before retiring for the evening.

Dinner included
Hotel: S. Maria Degli Angeli – Hotel Los Angeles (or similar)
Day 3 - Assisi
Thursday, September 1
Assisi, set amid Umbria's rolling hills, is best known as the birthplace of St. Francis of Assisi — patron saint of Italy, founder of the Franciscan order, and one of the most popular Catholic saints in history. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis was inspired by this beloved Saint. A humble man himself, Pope Francis has identified with a life rejecting luxuries for simplicity and humility. The exceptionally well-preserved town of Assisi, with its Roman ruins, winding medieval streets and sacred shrines, has been a major Catholic pilgrimage destination for centuries and is today one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy. We begin our day with Holy Mass at the Basilica of St. Francis, followed by a guided tour visiting the major sites associated with St. Francis and St. Clare. Kneel before the crucifix from which Jesus spoke to St. Francis asking him to rebuild his church and focus on the life of St. Francis as depicted in Giotto’s frescoes in the Basilica.

On our walking tour, we visit St. Mary Major Church, the site where 800 years ago, St. Francis renounced his family inheritance, disrobing in the presence of his father and the bishop. We then go to Chiesa Nuova, a seventeenth-century, Renaissance-style church. With its high dome and frescoes, this church was built on the grounds where St. Francis was born. Next, we will visit San Damiano, the church where St. Francis heard God’s call and where St. Clare created her religious community. We also visit the Basilica of St. Clare a 13th-century church that houses the incorrupt relics of St. Clare, friend and protégé of St. Francis as well as the miraculous “San Damiano” crucifix that spoke to Francis.

Breakfast and dinner included
Hotel: S. Maria Degli Angeli – Hotel Los Angeles (or similar)
Day 4 - Assisi / Eremo delle Carceri / Assisi
Friday, September 2
The morning, we taxi up the winding road to the Eremo delle Carceri located in the caves on the densely wooded slope of Monte Subasio just outside the walls of Assisi. St. Francis first began coming to this beautiful place in the forest in 1205. He often returned here during his life to pray and contemplate. The peacefully isolated church and monastery retain the tranquil air loved by St. Francis. The tour through the site is a delightful circuit that involves ducking through tiny medieval doorways and squeezing down narrow stone stairways. We take time here for private reflections. Later in the afternoon, we continue to Rivotorto, a stream at the foot of Mount Subasio where St. Francis and his followers lived in an abandoned hovel. We will then travel to village of Santa Maria degli Angeli, to visit the Porziuncola and the Church of St. Mary of the Angels, headquarters of St. Francis and his brothers, and the place to which St. Clare ran away from her family to embrace her call to serve God. Nearby is the site of Francis’ death. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.

Breakfast and dinner included
Hotel: S. Maria Degli Angeli – Hotel Los Angeles (or similar)
Day 5 - Assisi / Cascia / Rome
Saturday, September 3
This morning, after breakfast, we depart Assisi for Cascia, best known for two main events. First, it is the home of Saint Rita of Cascia, one of Catholicism's most revered saints, often referred to as the "Saint of the Impossible". It is also the place where a Eucharistic Miracle that took place in Siena, is preserved. We’ll visit the Basilica of St. Rita where her body rests in a separate chapel as well as her relics including the Crucifix from which she received the Stigmata. We will also see her cell where she spent her life. From here, we continue onward to Rome, the Eternal City, which remains one of the most beautiful and interesting cities of the world. We have a “get acquainted” panoramic tour, and after our day filled with the beauty of Italy, we’ll check into our hotel and enjoy a tasty dinner.

Breakfast and dinner included
Hotel: Rome – Princess Hotel (or similar)
Day 6 - Rome / Canonization Ceremony of Blessed Mother Teresa
Sunday, September 4
We have a very early morning departure to Vatican City. Pending more specific plans by the Vatican, we will head over to Saint Peter’s Square for the Canonization of Blessed Mother Teresa. We walk to Vatican City to attend Holy Mass and the Canonization Ceremony celebrated by his Holiness Pope Francis. Following this important event, go to the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica for an impressive view of Vatican City. Return to our hotel and remainder of the day is free to explore.

Breakfast and dinner included
Hotel: Rome – Princess Hotel (or similar)
Day 7 - Rome
Monday, September 5
We begin our day with a visit at the Basilica of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls, housing the Tomb of St. Paul the Apostle, and one of the 4 Papal Basilicas that have a Holy Door (Porta Sancta). We enter through the Holy Door and celebrate Mass. After Mass, we will have a tour of the basilica. The Holy Doors (Porta Sancta) are normally sealed shut, but during this Jubilee Year of Mercy, they are opened so that pilgrims may enter through those doors to gain the plenary indulgence. We will enter through the Holy Doors of all four major basilicas during our time in Rome. We continue this day exploring the Rome of Catholics with our guide. We will pass through the Holy Doors and visit The Basilica of St. Mary Major (Our Lady of the Snows) one of the oldest shrines dedicated to the Blessed Mother, that contains a relic from manger of the infant Jesus; and The Basilica of St. John Lateran, known as "Cathedral of Rome and of the World." We will visit The Sanctuary of the Holy Stairs (Scala Santa) where we find the very steps that Christ climbed when he appeared before Pontius Pilate. There are 28 marble steps, covered in wood but with slots in the wood so that you can actually see the steps. Return back to our hotel to rest up before dinner.

Breakfast and dinner included
Hotel: Rome – Princess Hotel (or similar)
Day 8 - Rome
Tuesday, September 6
Wake up in the spiritual capital for all Catholics around the world. We start this day at the Tomb of St. John Paul II, entering first through St. Peter’s Holy Door, known also as “Door of the Great pardon”. Following our Mass, we continue with a tour of St. Peter’s Basilica, built over the tomb of St. Peter, martyred on Vatican Hill, We will visit the Vatican Museums to see some of the priceless and irreplaceable art, treasures and relics, the beauty of which reflects a positive joy and hope. We will go on to visit the overwhelming Sistine Chapel, one of the most famous art galleries in the western world and the place in which papal elections in conclave are held still to this day. We will delight in the astonishing artistry of Michelangelo’s Last Judgement.

Hotel: Rome – Princess Hotel (or similar)
Day 9 - Papal Audience & Vatican City
Wednesday, September 7
Early this morning, we make our way to St. Peter’s Basilica to attend the Papal Audience and Blessing given by His Holiness Pope Francis (depending on Vatican schedules). Following the audience, we will go on tour to explore some of the ancient cultural sites around the city. This promises to be a full and satisfying day that will be followed by our Farewell dinner at a local restaurant before returning to our hotel for a restful night.

Breakfast and dinner included
Hotel: Rome – Princess Hotel (or similar)
Day 10 - Return to Toronto
Thursday, September 8
After breakfast, we depart Rome airport for our same day flight back to Toronto.

Breakfast included