Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano
Lanciano, which translates into “the lance,” is named after the lance of Longinus, the Roman soldier, who thrust his spear into Our Lord’s side. Lanciano bears this name because it is the birthplace of St. Longinus. Around the year 700, a Basilian monk offered mass in Lanciano’s small church of St. Legontian. The monk, who had doubts about transubstantiation, wondered if the bread and wine really became the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
At the words of Consecration, the doubting priest witnessed the bread transform into living flesh and the wine transform into five actual drops of blood, which then congealed. The five drops, of course, represent the number of wounds Christ suffered. on the cross: one in each hand and foot from the nails, and the wound from the spear
Easter Monday, March 28 – Rome/ Lanciano / Manopello. Today is la Pasquetta (“little Easter”) in Italy. It is a national Italian holiday in order to continue the joyous Easter celebration. We, too, will continue our celebration by traveling to two very important shrines which house the most important miracles in Italy – the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano and the Shrine of the Holy Face.
Father Cucinelli, friar at the Shrine of the Holy Face
We will be up early to travel about 2 1⁄2 hours, across Italy to the Adriatic Sea, to the town of Lanciano in the rugged Abbruzzo region. Once we arrive in Lanciano, we will enter the church that houses the Eucharistic Miracle (photo above) to behold the wonders of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ made visible. After venerating the miraculous substance, we will listen to the Franciscan Friars to learn more about the Eucharistic miracle.
We then will turn back towards Rome, heading to the little town of Manoppello, Italy (population 157 — yes, it’s tiny!) still in the Abbruzzo region. Our drive is short — only 40 minutes. There, we will visit the Shrine of the Holy Face — the shrine which contains a mysterious cloth (photo right) bearing the image of a man with wounds on his face, an image some believe is the actual face of Christ, formed at the moment of his Resurrection and celebrate Mass.
Pope Emeritus Benedict visited this Shrine in 2006 to venerate the Holy Face of Manoppello. Before our visit to the shrine, we will first have lunch at the same restaurant Pope Benedict dined at when he visited Manoppello — a family- owned restaurant where Nonna, Grandma, cooks with the fresh ingredients from the region. A real Italian experience! After a few hours in Manoppello, we depart for Rome and enjoy another snack or meal in an Italian Autogrill. This will be the second of two meals on your own.
Easter Tuesday, March 29th – Vatican City. We will wake to have our breakfast, then we will depart for the three other patriarchal basilicas in Rome, St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran, and St. Paul’s Outside the Walls. St. Peter’s Basilica is the fourth patriarchal basilica. Each of these churches is a glorious monument to the Faith and contains treasures of art and faith that can take one’s breath away. We will have a private Mass at one of these Basilicas.
In St. Mary Major, there is a painting of Mary (photo left), which is believed to be painted by St. Luke himself, making it the oldest painting of Mary in the world. It is called the Salus Populi Romani (English: Protectress of the Roman People — Protectress is a translation of the Latin “salus” which means “salvation” or “health.”) It has historically been the most important Marian icon in Rome, and was crowned by Pope Pius XII in 1954. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI venerated the Salus Populi Romani on different occasions, and asked Mary on each occasion to “pray for us.” One of the first acts after his election was Pope Francis’ prayer before Salus Populi Romani. In May of 2012, the month dedicated to Our Lady and the Holy Rosary, Pope Francis also prayed his first public Rosary before this ancient and venerable image. And, he has continued to honor this important Basilica, visiting it over six times since his election.
The Roman Breviary states: “After the Council of Ephesus (431) in which the Mother of Jesus was acclaimed as Mother of God, Pope Sixtus III erected at Rome on the Esquiline Hill, a basilica dedicated to the honor of the Holy Mother of God. It was afterward called Saint Mary Major and it is the oldest church in the West dedicated to the honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”
St. John Lateran (photo right) is the oldest and ranks first among the four Papal basilicas of Rome, since it is the cathedra or “seat” of the Bishop of Rome. So, it was the first church built in Rome. For centuries, the Popes lived here. The façade has the inscription Christo Salvatori, “To Christ the Savior,” indicating the church’s dedication to Christ—the cathedrals of all patriarchs are dedicated to Christ himself.
As the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, it ranks above all other churches, including St. Peter’s, and so, unlike all other Roman Basilicas, it holds the title of Archbasilica. In ancient Rome, it was the baptism church. The Archbasilica was built in the time of Constantine and was consecrated by Pope Sylvester in 324.
St. John Lateran contains several important relics: an ancient baptistry built by Constantine; beneath the High Altar, which can only be used by the Pope, contains a relic said to be part of St. Peter’s communion table; and the Altar of the Holy Sacrament containing a cedar table that is said to be the one used by Christ at the Last Supper.
St. Paul’s Outside the Walls (photo left) is dedicated to St. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, who was beheaded in Rome, and contains his tomb. This very impressive church contains the images of all the Popes in little circular portraits.
Because we only have a few hours to see these magnificent, historic basilicas, we will concentrate on the meaning of each of the buildings, and the life and work of each of the saints to whom these basilicas are dedicated. We will stop along the way for a quick café and light lunch.
We will end our afternoon back at the Hotel Michelangelo and you will have some free time to shop, rest or to visit St. Peter’s Basilica again on your own before dinner.
Wednesday, March 30 – Vatican City. Our last full day together begins with breakfast at the Hotel Michelangelo. We then head to the Papal Audience, which begins at 10:30 a.m.
During the audience, Pope Francis will share a small teaching and reading in Italian, but it will be translated into English, French, German, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, and sometimes other languages, depending on the groups visiting.
The Pope will follow with a greeting to all gathered in St. Peter’s piazza. At the end of the Audience, the Pope will lead us in the Our Father in Latin. This prayer will be printed on the back of the Papal Audience ticket. After the Our Father, Pope Francis will impart his Apostolic Blessing upon the crowd, which also extends to our loved ones at home. He will bless any item that you may have purchased along our journey together.
After the Papal Audience, we will have lunch together near the Vatican. A visit to one of our cardinal friends in his apartment will follow lunch. These encounters remain with our pilgrims for many years as they are intimate and personal. We will hear stories about the universal Church from a very wise man who has lived many decades in Rome at the service of the popes.
Later that afternoon, following our meeting and lunch, we will have a brief rest or free time. Our farewell dinner, hosted by Dr. Robert Moynihan and Deborah Tomlinson, will be a celebratory feast and special friends and guests of Inside the Vatican magazine will be joining us.
Thursday, March 31 – Farewell. After an early morning Mass, breakfast, and farewell, your driver will escort you back to the airport for your return home. Farewell to all our fellow pilgrims, our friends, until we meet again…
Not mentioned in this sketch of our itinerary are perhaps the two most important points…
1) During our days in Rome, we will have the chance to meet with a number of Vatican monsignors, and perhaps even an archbishop or cardinal, who will listen and respond to pilgrims’ questions and concerns about the Church today, about issues of concern to Church members, and about working alongside Pope Emeritus Benedict and Pope Francis. These meetings change from pilgrimage to pilgrimage, but they are always remembered by pilgrims as special moments to be close to the Pope as he leads the Church in this difficult period of history. Many of these are unexpected encounters as we walk near the Vatican.
2) We prefer to schedule Mass in the morning, but there is a possibility that Mass times can fluctuate due to circumstances and our daily events. Each day we will have the opportunity to attend Mass. The daily Mass schedule for the Rome portion of our pilgrimage will be finalized closer to the time of our departure.
We will make every effort to adhere to the printed program and itinerary. On rare occasions it may be necessary to adjust arrangements due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control (including such circumstances as the weather, airline schedule change, hotel requisitions, political disturbances, or transportation mechanical problems). Should such adjustment be necessary, substitution will be made to the best of our abilities.
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