Easter 2012 with Pope Benedict

April 3-12, 2012

A Note from Dr. Robert Moynihan:

I would like to share with you some very exciting news. We have always wished to make our pilgrimages unique — so special that people would say they were “once-in-a-lifetime” experiences. Now we are sure we can provide that: our upcoming pilgrimages will enable pilgrims to stay inside the Vatican itself – in the very residence where the cardinals stay during a papal conclave.

This is a great honor and we are grateful to offer our pilgrims this unusual opportunity to stay inside the Vatican itself. We will stay in a residence that is not open to the general public. The front door of our residence is only a short distance – a two-minute walk – from the back entrance to St Peter’s Basilica, usually reserved for diplomats and bishops only.

All of our pilgrimages are planned to be quiet and prayerful. We want your journey with us to be a peaceful, enjoyable, and unforgettable experience, which both enriches your life and deepens your faith. Although we will visit many very special places, our journey is a pilgrimage, not a tour. The spiritual dimension, the search for a deeper understanding of God and of the history and life of the Church, is central. This is why the pace of our pilgrimages will be slow and peaceful, not rushed. There will be time to think and to pray.

Our Easter pilgrimage will begin a few days before Easter in Assisi, in the Umbrian hills, the city of St. Francis, which is one of the prettiest and most peaceful cities in the world. We will spend one night there. The Franciscan friars who live there will hear confession and we will attend Mass next to the tomb of St. Francis.

The second day, we will travel to Norcia, the birthplace of St. Benedict. Norcia is tucked in under sparkling white, snow-capped mountains in the center of Italy, and seems a city that time forgot. It is quiet and peaceful. In Norcia, we will begin the Easter Triduum together with the Benedictine monks of Norcia, many of whom are Americans (they are refounding the Benedictine abbey in the city center, and using the ancient Latin liturgy in their daily round of prayer). We will spend Holy Thursday and Good Friday here, in a place that truly seems timeless. The town of Norcia celebrates Good Friday with live Stations of the Cross after sunset. 

On Good Friday morning, we will take a very short journey, about 15 minutes ride, to the small town of Cascia, where St. Rita of Cascia lived (1381 – May 22, 1457). We will visit St Rita’s Basilica and see her incorrupt body, on display in a glass class. (St. Rita received the stigmata on a Good Friday some 600 years ago.)

After the solemn procession and celebrations of Holy Thursday and Good Friday, we then journey to Rome for the joyous celebration of Easter. The Easter Vigil Mass will be celebrated on Holy Saturday evening in St Peter’s Basilica by Pope Benedict. We will also attend Easter Sunday Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict on Easter Sunday morning. These liturgies, celebrating the triumph of Jesus Christ over sin and death, are among the most splendid and moving in the Church’s calendar.

Monday, the day after Easter, is “la Pasquetta” in Italy (“little Easter”). It is a national holiday in Italy to continue the joyous Easter celebration. We, too, will continue our celebration by traveling about two hours to the little town of Manoppello, Italy (population 157 — yes, it’s tiny!) in the rugged Abbruzzo region. There we will visit the Shrine of the Holy Face — the shrine which contains a mysterious cloth containing an 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. Pope Benedict visited this Manoppello Shrine in 2006 to venerate the Holy Face of Manopello.

And, of course, we will travel to special places inside the Vatican while staying inside the Vatican. I will introduce you to some of our friends of the magazine. So, please consider joining me on this journey. It should be a quiet, peaceful, joyful time, with many hours devoted to prayer and meditation, in the places of St. Francis, St. Benedict. St. Rita, and St. Peter, and close to Pope Benedict.

— Robert Moynihan

founder and editor of Inside the Vatican magazine

April 3-12, 2012: Assisi, Norcia, Cascia, Vatican City and Manoppello

In Assisi:
  • Spend one day and night touring the beautiful and peaceful ancient city of Assisi. We will celebrate Mass at the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi and confession will be available to prepare for the Easter Triduum.

In Norcia (the birthplace of St. Benedict and his sister, St. Scholastica, born 480):
  • Holy Thursday – the Mass of the Lord’s supper at the Monastery of St Benedict with the Benedictine monks of Norcia, the birthplace of St Benedict and his sister, St Scholastica.

  • Good Friday – the celebration of the Passion of our Lord with the monks at the Monastery of St. Benedict.

  • Good Friday evening – participate in a live Stations of the Cross procession around the walled-medieval ancient city

  • Daily reflections with Father Cassian Folsom, OSB, prior and founder of the restored Benedictine monastery.

  • Afternoon excursion to Cascia to the Basilica of St. Rita, the 14th century saint who was known as a peacemaker and the saint of forgiveness and of desperate and impossible situations. We will also visit Roccaporena, the birthplace of St. Rita.

  • Celebrate evening vespers and the morning offices with the monks – optional

  • Accommodations in Norcia: Hotel Grotta Azzurra

  • A video on the monks of Norcia: Monks in Norcia

In Rome:
  • Daily Mass celebrated in the Domus Santa Martha or in St Peter’s Basilica

  • Private tour of St Peter’s Basilica and Sistine Chapel after hours

  • Tour of Vatican Gardens

  • Tour of the tomb of St Peter, the Scavi Tour

  • All meals inside the Vatican

  • Accommodations inside Vatican City, next to St. Peter’s Basilica

  • Holy Saturday – Easter Vigil Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI.

  • Easter Sunday – Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica and Pope Benedict’s urbi et orbi message in St. Peter’s Square.

  • Dinners with Dr. Robert Moynihan, plus meet special guests and friends of the magazine.

  • $6,995.00 per person – land and air package ($1,000 air allowance)

  • $5,995.00 per person – land only

  • No additional fee for a single room

  • Travel insurance is included

  • All tips are included

  • All meals are included.

Additional Information:
  • Deposit of $500 by check made payable to Inside the Vatican magazine is required at the time of booking.

  • A map with the places we visit during our pilgrimages https://g.co/maps/5vnym

  • Due to private access to sacred areas, we request all pilgrims provide a brief note of recommendation from their bishop or local parish priest.

  • Number of pilgrims is limited for a peaceful and personal experience.

  • This pilgrimage helps to support the monastery of the Benedictine monks of Norcia, the Domus Sanctae Marthae inside the Vatican, and Inside the Vatican magazine.

  • 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.

  • For more information or to reserve your spot, email [email protected] or call 202.657.4833