Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School

Pilgrimage to Rome

29 June – 6 July 2014 

Sample Itinerary only


Sunday 29 June 2014

Assemble at Aquinas for 10.00am.  Depart for Dublin airport.

Depart Dublin airport on Aer Lingus direct flight at 15.45.

Arrive Rome Fiumicino airport at 19.45 and transfer to IrishCollege.

Get pupils settled into College (twin bedded rooms) and go for a walk down to the Colosseum for an ice cream.  Finish the evening with a walk in the roof top garden of the College and enjoy the beautiful views of Rome.


Monday 30 June 2014

07.30 breakfast and then tour the IrishCollege and its grounds.  Then walk across to the Pope’s Cathedral, the Basilica of St John Lateran, which is 5 minutes walk from the college.  We will celebrate Mass there and then receive a guided tour of the basilica and then walk across the road to the Holy Stairs.  Tradition holds that these were the stairs ascended and descended by Christ as he was sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate and then led away for crucifixion.  They were brought to Rome by St Helena, the mother of the first Christian Emperor, Constantine.

Light lunch in the area around the Basilica.

In the afternoon, we will walk down to the Colosseum for a guided tour and then walk on to the Roman Forum, the heart of the Roman Empire for another guided tour of the famous temples and Senate House.

We may include a tour of the famous basilica of San Clemente which is on our way back up the street to the college.  Below the present day church there is a fourth century basilica, perfectly preserved, and below it, a first century Roman house with a Mithraic temple in the back garden,  perfectly preserved!

We will return to the college and make use of its facilities and then either eat at the college or go to a local family run restaurant. Then, onto the coach for a night time tour of this beautiful city.  We will, of course, finish the day with an ice cream!

Before bed time,  we will gather in the chapel and then finish with an outline of the next day’s activities.


Tuesday 1 July 2014

After breakfast we will board the coach and head off to the Vatican where we will spend most of the day.

We will begin with a tour of St Peter’s basilica, including Michelangelo’s Pieta, the tomb of Blessed John Paul II and then go down into the crypt to see the tombs of the Popes.

After a quick lunch of pasta, we will head into the Vatican museums, finishing off in the Sistine Chapel.

Back in the College we will make use of the grounds, freshen up and head off to a local restaurant for pizza.

The coach will then take us to the famous Campo dei Fiori for an evening walk.

Then back to the college, gather in the chapel and have an outline of the following day’s activities.


Wednesday 2 July 2014

After breakfast, we will attend the General Audience of Pope Francis.  Hopefully, the IrishCollege will get us good seats near the front and close to his chair.

Afterwards we will have a light lunch and then walk down to see the Castel Sant’ Angelo.

We will then travel across to the beautiful basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Santa Maria Maggiore.  Here we can see the relic of the crib from Bethlehem and other beautiful paintings and chapels.  We will then walk across the road down to the RedemptoristChurch and see the original painting of the Mother of Perpetual Help, believed to have been painted by St Luke, which is promoted as a Novena in Redemptorist churches throughout the world, including the famous Clonard Novena.

We might just walk back to the IrishCollege from here, taking in the former headquarters of the Gestapo during the German occupation of Rome.

Dinner this evening will be a BBQ  by the pool. This will be followed by a football match in the grounds and then up to the roof garden for ice cream.

Finally we will meet in the Chapel and then talk about arrangements for the next day


Thursday 3 July 2014

After breakfast we will board the coach and go to the catacombs of St Callixtus for a guided tour.  This is where many of the early Christian martyrs were buried after their execution. We will celebrate Mass in the ancient chapel where Pope Sixtus II was buried following his execution on 6th August 258.  We will then see the tomb where St Cecilia, the patroness of musicians, was buried after her execution.  Her tomb was opened in the year 821 so that her bones could be brought to the church that had been built over her former home in her honour.  When the tomb was opened they discovered her body perfectly in tact, 500 years after her death.  The tomb was reopened in 1599 and her still intact body was reburied in the church of her name.  A sculpture of her body as it lay in the tomb has been placed there.

After the catacombs we will have refreshments and then move on to the Basilica dedicated to St Paul.  We can go in and view his recently discovered tomb in the sanctuary.

In the afternoon we will head into central Rome and visit such famous sites as the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain.

Back to the college, freshen up, and then head off for something to eat.

Then go for a walk up to the Aventine Hill to the famous Dominican Basilica and monastery of Santa Sabina.  St Thomas Aquinas was a member of the community here and we might just be able visit his room in the monastery.

Back to the College with an early start in the morning


Friday 4 July 2014

A full day trip to either Assisi or Pompeii


Saturday 5 July 2014

A morning trip to Castel Gondolfo one of the beautiful hill towns outside Rome and home to the Papal summer residence.  Alternatively, we may head to Nettuno, where many of the Allied troops landed in the last days of World War II.

After lunch we will head into the centre of Rome for some more sightseeing, including the area around the Spanish Steps, followed by a chance to do some shopping.

We will return to the College for the Vigil Mass of Sunday.

Our final dinner together we hope will be by the pool of the IrishCollege.  We will then go for a last walk and the obligatory ice cream before retuning to the College to pack and prepare for our journey home the following morning.


Sunday 6 July 2014

Transfer to airport for direct flight to Dublin (11.50).

Arrive back at Aquinas circa 17.00


Cost of Pilgrimage

This itinerary is subject to change.  For example, we may take two days out of Rome and go to both Assisi and Pompeii. 

To be confirmed in September when plane seats are released but at the moment around 795 Euro.