A Personal Invitation from Dr. Robert Moynihan
I am writing to invite you to join me in Rome for a special “Fall Family Pilgrimage” at the end of September 2017. Rome is lovely in September and this pilgrimage would be an extraordinary time of grace for you and your entire family.
In order to make this possible financially, we have designed a more economical pilgrimage package, priced to enable you to bring your children, yet maintaining the integrity and special “Inside the Vatican” quality of our signature pilgrimages.
Inside the Vatican Pilgrimages began in 2008. Over the past nine years we have organized and led more than 30 pilgrimages to “the heart of the Church.” We have found that keeping the pilgrimages small allows for a more intimate, personal experience, which means that I will not be leading 95 people through the streets and traffic of Rome holding high a yellow umbrella. Rather, we will walk at a normal pace, with time to pause, talk, discuss, take photographs, stop for a snack for the kids in a Roman cafe. At the end of our journey together, we hope our pilgrims will discover that they have not only visited some of the most important shrines in the Christian world, but have made deep friendships that will last a lifetime with one another and with those they have met along the way.
During these pilgrimages, we eat real Italian food, talk to real Swiss Guards, stroll across real Italian piazzas, and taste real Italian gelato. It should be an experience you and your children will never forget and it should give you something to talk about at family gatherings for decades to come.
But the pilgrimage is not primarily a tourist trip; it is a spiritual journey. A pilgrimage can become the source of deeper understanding and deeper insight into the Faith, and into everything that threatens or weakens or replaces the Faith.
Many pilgrims say they come to a clearer understanding of these things while staying with us at the Villa Serenella, a small Maronite monastery on the outskirts of Rome owned by an order of monks from Lebanon. Still within the boundaries of modern Rome, the monastery is about three miles from the geographical “heart” of the Catholic Church, yet we are also removed — removed from the noise and hustle and bustle of the world, secluded in a grotto of peace.
There, a small group of Lebanese Maronite monks celebrate the morning Office in the Maronite rite, using the Syriac language, a dialect of Aramaic — the language that Jesus spoke 2,000 years ago. Hearing their voices, we feel a special closeness to the son of Mary, the teacher from Nazareth who suffered and died in Jerusalem.
We have a chance to go each day into the center of Rome and visit the places where St. Peter and St. Paul lived, walked, were imprisoned, and were executed. And each day we can return to the Villa Serenella, where we enjoy an evening meal of genuine Italian food, prepared for us by Anna, a smiling Italian lady who provides for us as if we were members of her own family.
I will be able to be with you throughout the entire pilgrimage. During the pilgrimage, I will share stories from my 30 years of working in and around Vatican City, and answer your questions. I will also be inviting friends of mine who work and live in Rome, and have stories of their own. In addition, I will lead you on a walking tour of St. Peter’s Square and Baroque Rome. We would like your journey with us to be “an oasis of mercy” in your life, one that enriches your life and deepens your faith.
So, please consider joining me on this extraordinary journey. We expect it to be a wonderful, joyful, and memorable time for you and your family.
Founder and Editor of Inside the Vatican magazine
Inside the Vatican Pilgrimages
Fall Family Pilgrimage
September 20-29, 2017
Rome, Assisi, Manoppello, Lanciano and Vatican City
Spend eights (8) nights at the Villa Serenella , the Maronite monastery in Rome
Attend a Sunday Angelus with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square
Attend a Papal Audience as a guest of Inside the Vatican magazine
Meet Dr. Robert Moynihan, leading Vatican analyst and founder and editor of Inside the Vatican magazine, Deborah Tomlinson, Chief Operating Officer, and friends of Inside the Vatican magazine
Dine with Dr. Moynihan and special guests and friends of Inside the Vatican magazine
Gain insight into the workings of the Vatican from Dr. Moynihan
Enjoy a walking tour of Baroque Rome led by Dr. Moynihan to the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and Piazza Navona
Join Dr. Moynihan on a private tour of St. Peter’s Square
Pray at the Basilica of Santo Spirito, the Divine Mercy Sanctuary in Rome
Visit the famous Domino Quo Vadis Church and St. Sebastian-Outside-the-Walls
Visit the four major Basilicas of Rome: St. Peter’s, St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran , and St. Paul-Outside-the-Walls
Climb the Holy Stairs near the Basilica of St. John Lateran
Visit Santa Croce, the church containing relics of the Passion from Jerusalem (time permitting)
Experience a driving tour of Ancient Rome and see the Roman Forum, the Coliseum, Palatine Hill, Circus Maximus, and the Arch of Titus
Travel along the Appian Way
Explore the Catacombs of Callixtus
Enjoy a guided tour of the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Vatican Museum
Basilica of Santo Spirito
Basilica of St. John Lateran
Tour the Basilica of St. Francis and visit his tomb
Attend Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels
Pray in St. Francis’ Portiuncula
Visit the Basilica of St. Clare and pray at her tomb
Enjoy a walking tour of Assisi
Experience the Piazza del Commune, the main piazza of Assisi, and one of the most beautiful in all of Italy.
Lanciano and Manoppello
Venerate the famous Eucharistic miracle in Lanciano
Attend Mass celebrated before the Holy Face of Christ
Family Friendly Pricing
• $2,699.00 — 1st adult
• $2,199.00 — additional adult in the same household*
*The additional adult rate is applicable only if the additional adult is from the same household as the 1st adult and is sharing the same room.
Child Rates – A custodial parent must accompany the children in order to be eligible for the reduced child rates:
• $600.00 — 1 – 10 years old**
• $850.00 — 11 – 16 years old**
Children under 1 year of age from the same household with at least one (1) paying custodial adult are free. Please note – bed and meals will not be provided for children less than 1 year of age. If meals and a bed are needed, provisions can be made for a fee.
** Limited number of child rates available. For the reduced rate,
children must stay in the same room as the paying adult(s).
$700.00 additional fee for a single room
Land Package Only
Deposit — A deposit of $500.00 per participant is due at the time of booking by check made payable to Inside the Vatican. (Note: This deposit is non-refundable.)
Number of Pilgrims — The minimum number of pilgrims is 15 paying adults. (See our Terms & Conditions regarding Cancellations.)
Meals — All meals are included, with the exception two (2) “on your own” meals on our travel days: breakfast daily (8), seven (7) lunches, and seven (7) dinners included.
Bus — Private, first-class motor coach bus and all group transfers are included.
Taxes and Fees — All local taxes are included. Bus driver tips are not included.
Entrance Fees — All entrance fees are included.
Arrival Transfers — For the group transfers from FCO (Rome airport) to the Villa Serenella, you must arrive by 12:00 noon on Thursday, September 21, 2017. There will be 2 transfers from the airport to the Villa Serenella.
Departure Transfers — For the group’s transfer from the Villa Serenella to FCO (Rome airport), your departure time must be 10:00 a.m. or later on Friday, September 29, 2017. There is only 1 transfer to the airport from the Villa Serenella.
Not mentioned in this sketch of our itinerary are two important points…
1) We prefer to schedule Mass in the morning, but there is a possibility that Mass times can fluctuate due to circumstances and Vatican events. Each day we will have the opportunity to attend Mass. The Mass schedule will be finalized closer to the time of our departure.
2) Plenty of free time has been built into our schedule to allow families to rest or explore Rome at their leisure.