event

Italy Prayer Pilgrimage

September 13, 2021

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Sept 13-18

"A geographical pilgrimage is the symbolic acting out of an inner journey."  –Thomas Merton 

Grace Commons is partnering with Axiom Monastic Community, an arm of Youth with a Mission, to offer a prayer pilgrimage to Assisi, Italy as the culmination of our year of Live Prayer. Axiom builds upon monastic traditions while providing contemporary opportunities to practice and express prayer rhythms in Christian communities. This pilgrimage will take us to St. Francis’ home of Assisi including Mt Subasio where Francis and his friends went often to pray. 

About the Journey

Our Pilgrimage Experience will include:

  • Historical teachings and tours of this beautiful and culturally rich part of Italy, as well as of the life of St. Francis. 
  • An exploration of Contemplation and Prayer, after which we'll enjoy an afternoon of Silence and Solitude on the slopes of Mount Subasio that towers above Assisi. 
  • Indulging in many different flavors of Gelato, a couple times a day, since it's only 1 Euro!  
  • Watching the sunrise next to the ruins of Rocca Maggoire Castle, above Assisi, as it casts its rays across the Umbrian plains.  
  • Making friends with local friars, and learning more about the Axiom Monastic Community.

Our journey will begin on the Monday evening at 7pm on Sept 13. Each attendee is free to depart Assisi anytime Sat, Sept 18, before check out time, which is usually between 10 and 11am. If scheduling flights from Rome, allow enough time to get to the airport by train (usually 2-3 hours). We will stay at Hotel Posta Panoramic, located just two blocks from the center of the city. Breakfast is included in the hotel stay. 

Everyone will cover their own lunch and dinner meal expenses, including choosing their own lunch and dinner destinations, both as we tour together, as well as during free time.  Some have expressed a desire to experience various Italian cuisines during the pilgrimage, some have mentioned they are on a strict missionary budget, and a few may fast a meal or two. This gives freedom for this variety. (We have good recommendations for those with, or without much money!) 

Assisi is a beautiful two hour train ride north of Rome, from Roma Termini. Arriving at either Rome airport one is required to take public transport to the Roma Termini train station. (Always remember before boarding a train in Italy you need to go by and make sure your train ticket is stamped by a stamp machine that is always right next to each train you board. Regional trains are the cheaper ones, versus express.)

Total Estimated Cost 

$2,695 (plus lunches & dinners) for single occupancy or $2,575 (plus lunches & dinner) for double occupancy.

Cost breakdown

  • Pilgrimage Cost:  $435  
  • Hotel Posta Panoramic:  $400 single occupancy, $290 double occupancy
  • Flights:  $1750 (Denver to Rome)
  • Internal Transport:  $100  (Train from airport to train station, and train from Rome to Assisi)
  • Meals:  Breakfast included in room cost, on own for lunch and dinner.

Costs of hotel and airfare subject to change based on cost at time of booking. Grace Commons staff is available to help you book your travel.

Registration

Follow the link to register for this trip.

Questions

Contact Janet Schultz with any questions.

Book Recommendations

In preparation for your time in medieval Umbria there are a few books we recommend:

  • A good novel that's a both interesting and fun  read, with a very intentional post-modern bent is Chasing Francis; A Pilgrim's Tale by Ian Morgan Cron. 
  • For those who love history, Reluctant Saint by Donald  Spoto, is both thorough and insightful in its approach to the life and times of St. Francis. 
  • For those who appreciate both the wit and charm of G. K. Chesterton's works you will enjoy his book on St. Francis as well.

FAQs

What is the weather like in Assisi, Italy in May?

Low to mid 70’s during the day while nights are cooler. Be prepared for an occasional rain shower as we will be in the mountains. Dress in layers.

How do you sign up?

Complete the registration form and submit the digital form along with the deposit of $435.

Is any portion of the money refundable?

The $435 deposit is refundable up to 1 month before the trip. If we are within one month of departure, the deposit will only be refunded if the vacancy on the trip can be filled.

What do I need to book and reserve?

The deposit covers the pilgrimage itself. You will pay for the hotel separately but we will book the hotel for you. You will need to make the plane reservations to and from Italy along with the train ride from Rome to Assisi. If you plan any side excursions while in Italy, you need to make those reservations yourself.

Is there a sign up deadline?

Yes and no. Any spots not reserved by Feb 28 will be opened up to others.

Is this trip exclusively Grace Commons?

Registration is open to Grace Commons only until Feb 28

Is the trip size limited?

Yes, the trip size is limited to 20 people.

Is this the only time this trip will happen?

Probably. Although there is talk about doing other spiritual trips in the future, there are no plans for more trips at this time. Don’t miss out in the hopes of a future trip!

What if we have physical limitations?

All ages and abilities can join this pilgrimage. The team will be there to help as needed. If a walk to a site is too far, there are taxis available. If there is a hike too challenging, you do not have to participate. The hikes and walks can be hilly.

Due to the pandemic, travel to Italy is not allowed at this time. How does that impact this trip?

If this trip cannot happen in May, we will look for a new date later in the year. Many airlines offer refunds if travels is not allowed at the time of the trip or offer flight credits for future travel.

Why are we booking our own plane reservations?

In the event the trip is postponed, you will be able to manage your own refund or flight credits and not have to work through Grace Commons or Axiom. In addition, some of the trip attendees will want to take advantage of the opportunity to spend additional time in Italy before or after the pilgrimage.

How will we spend out time?

Here is a sample itinerary for this trip. A “typical” day might include some group teaching in the morning while the afternoon and evenings are more open for walks and wandering. There is a lot of walking. Many times we will gather for dinner. We intentionally do not pack the days.

Who from Grace Commons staff will be going on the pilgrimage?

Daniel Susenbach is going. Ash McDonald  may be joining the trip.

When do I really need to be there?

Plan to arrive in Rome with enough time to catch a 2-3 hour train ride to Assisi. You might want to arrive the night before the pilgrimage begins and spend time in Rome before catching the train on May 10 to Assisi. Daniel is willing to meet a group in Rome on Saturday so that many can travel by train together to Assisi.


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