Father Richard Boyle was born in Mount Holly, New Jersey in 1985. He attended high school at St. Joseph’s Academy, SSPX in Michigan and graduated in 2002. He was ordained from St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Winona, MN in June 2009 by Bishop Tissier de Mallerais. He was assistant priest in Denver, CO for six years, prior at St. Joseph’s in Michigan for two years, and he is currently prior and principal of Blessed Virgin Mary Priory and Academy in Warners, NY.
Father Boyle has led pilgrimages to Spain and France for SSPX faithful, and he has attended and helped with many Mother Cabrini Pilgrimages in Denver, CO. His offering of daily Holy Mass and spiritual input on the visited saints and shrines will provide a wonderful opportunity for learning and sanctification.
Day 1. Monday, July 27: Transatlantic flight to Milan
Day 2. Tuesday, July 28: Milan – Pavia
Welcome to Italy! Upon arrival in Milan, visit the Basilica of St. Ambrose to pray before this great bishop of Milan. Continue to Pavia to visit the 12th-century Basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro, housing a magnificent shrine to St. Augustine, whose relics were brought to Pavia from Carthage in the 8th century. Dinner and overnight in or near Pavia. (D)
Day 3. Wednesday, July 29: Pavia – Florence
Journey to Florence to visit its magnificent Cathedral, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and Europe’s fourth largest church. Admire Brunelleschi’s famous dome, Giotto’s bell tower, and the magnificent Baptistery’s East Door, known as the “Gate of Paradise.” Walk across the famous Ponte Vecchio, built in 1345 and the oldest surviving bridge in the city. Dinner and overnight in Florence. (BB, D)
Day 4. Thursday, July 30: Florence
This morning, visit the Convent and Museum of San Marco, where the incorrupt body of St. Antoninus is kept. St. Antoninus was the convent’s first prior and later became Archbishop and patron saint of Florence. Admire a series of devotional frescos on cloisters and cells by Fra Angelico. Then, visit the Servite Chapel to pray before a miraculous painting of the Annunciation, painted by a friar with the help of an angel; also render homage to the Servite St. Juliana Falconieri, who became a Servite tertiary in 1285, taking the habit from her spiritual director, St. Philip Benizi. The rest of the day is free to perhaps visit some of the beautiful Renaissance churches or one of the many famous museums. Tonight, dinner is on your own. (BB)
Day 5. Friday, July 31: Florence – Siena
Journey south to the medieval city of Siena. Visit the Gothic Church of San Domenico, where the preserved head of the city’s patroness, St. Catherine of Siena, can be seen. Next, visit the Casa di Santa Caterina surrounded by chapels and cloisters. Among them is the Church of the Crucifixion, where she received the stigmata. Afterwards, admire Fontebranda, the oldest and most famous of the numerous fountains in Siena. Continue to Salita del Costone, the place where St. Catherine had her first vision at seven years old. Next, visit San Giovanni Baptistry and Staircase, adjacent to the Cathedral and where St. Catherine was baptized, and pray at the Oratorio di Santa Caterina della Notte, where St. Catherine prayed and did penance. Afterwards, stroll along Piazza del Campo, Italy’s loveliest piazza that occupies the site of the old Roman forum. Enjoy a free afternoon with independent dinner. (BB)
Day 6. Saturday, August 1: Siena – Orvieto – Genazzano – Rome
En route to Rome, stop at the magnificent city of Orvieto and admire its Duomo, one of Italy’s greatest Romanesque-Gothic cathedrals. Its breathtaking façade was inspired by the Miracle of Bolsena, in which real blood from a consecrated host fell on the altar cloth of a church in nearby Bolsena. Afterwards, visit the Church of San Domenico, one of the first churches of the Dominican Order, housing the desk used by St. Thomas Aquinas for his lessons at Orvieto during his sojourn in the city (1263–1264). Continue to Genazzano to venerate Our Lady of Good Counsel. This miraculous image traveled from Albania, crossed the Adriatic Sea, and descended onto one of the church’s unfinished walls. The portrait is suspended in the air and has been so for over 500 years. Arrive in Rome for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)
Day 7. Sunday, August 2: Rome: Monte San Giovanni Campano – Fossanova – Nettuno
Today’s excursion will take you to Monte San Giovanni Campano, where St. Thomas Aquinas was imprisoned by his family for two years. Next, visit the Cistercian Abbey of Fossanova, where St. Thomas Aquinas fell ill and died on March 7, 1274. In 1368, his relics were moved from Fossanova to Toulouse, France. Journey to Nettuno to visit the home and the Shrine of St. Maria Goretti. She died a martyr for purity on July 6, 1902, at the age of 11. Tonight, dinner is on your own. Overnight in Rome. (BB)
Day 8. Monday, August 3: Rome
Begin your day in Rome with a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica, the world’s largest church and the center of Christianity. The church is built on the site where St. Peter died a martyr and where he was buried in 64 AD. Touch the beloved statue of St. Peter and admire Michelangelo’s Pieta. Pray before the incorrupt body of St. Pius X and render homage to the many buried popes. Visit also the Treasury, which contains church ornaments, statues, papal miters, and various objects, usually gifts of kings or princes. Then, visit the Basilica of St. Mary Major, housing two of Christianity’s greatest treasures: the manger from Bethlehem in which the Baby Jesus was laid following His birth, and a painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Salvation of the Roman people. The basilica was built on the site where a miraculous snowfall occurred in August of 356. Next, in the Church of St. Alphonsus pray before the original icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Finally, admire the mother of all churches, St. John Lateran, and the largest relic in the Christian world, the Scala Santa, the 28 “Holy Steps” that Our Lord ascended to be judged by Pontius Pilate. The rest of the day is at leisure with independent dinner. Overnight in Rome. (BB)
Day 9. Tuesday, August 4: Rome
Today, enjoy a walking tour featuring Il Gesu, the Jesuit Mother Church and the headquarters chosen by St. Ignatius shortly after he founded the Society of Jesus in 1540. Continue to St. Ignatius Church to venerate the relics of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, St. John Berchmans, and St. Robert Bellarmine. Here, also visit the rooms of St. Aloysius. Next to this church are the rooms of St. Ignatius. Afterwards, visit the Venerable English College, founded in 1579 as a seminary to train priests for England and Wales. St. Robert Southwell, the poet, was educated here, and Cardinal Wiseman, author of Fabiola, was rector in 1828. In the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, pray before the relics of St. Catherine of Siena; a devotional chapel made from the room where she died can be visited by entering the sacristy. Then, visit St. Augustin Church, which enshrines the tomb of St. Monica. Finally, visit the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer and St. Frances Cabrini, which houses the skull of the saint. Dinner and overnight in Rome. (BB, D)
Day 10. Wednesday, August 5: Roccasecca – Mugnano – Pagani – Naples
Travel to Roccasecca, the birthplace of St. Thomas Aquinas to view the ruins of his family castle and the medieval Church of St. Thomas Aquinas. Continue to Mugnano, to pray before the relics of St. Philomena, the miracle-worker. A short drive will take you to Pagani to venerate the relics of St. Alphonsus de Ligouri, Bishop, Doctor of the Church, and founder of the Redemptorist Congregation. Dinner and overnight in Naples. (BB, D)
Day 11. Thursday, August 6: Naples – Rome
In Naples, visit San Domenico di Maggiore and pray before the relic of the left arm of St. Thomas Aquinas and the relics of St. Tarcisius. Also see the miraculous image that spoke to St. Thomas Aquinas. Continue to visit Naples’ Cathedral, where three times a year the blood of St. Januarius, or San Gennaro, liquefies when brought close to his relics. St. Charles Borromeo, this great figure of the Counter-Reformation, is buried here. Leisure time and lunch on your own before returning to Rome. Dinner and overnight in Rome. (BB, D)
Day 12. Friday, August 7: Rome
Begin the day by visiting the Basilica of St. Sebastian Outside the Walls, which enshrines the relics of St. Sebastian, and the Catacombs. In this church also, St. Philip Neri beheld a sphere of fire entering his heart, which enlarged it, and cracked his ribs. At Domine Quo Vadis Church, see the footprints on a marble left miraculously by Our Lord. Visit the Church of St. Cecilia in Trastevere that encompasses the remains of a calidarium, a room with hot baths where she was confined for three days and exposed to the steam in an attempt to suffocate her, before she was finally beheaded. Transfer to Piazza Navona for independent lunch; the rest of the afternoon is free. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner to celebrate the success of a wonderful pilgrimage. (BB, FD)
Day 13. Saturday, August 8: Homebound flight
Transfer to Rome’s airport for your flight back home.
Buffet Breakfast (BB); Dinner (D); Farewell Dinner (FD)
* In case of unforeseen events, this itinerary is subject to change.