December 21, 2023 – January 11, 2024
This Christmas, the Domus Winter Program 2023-2024 is designed as a pilgrimage to Rome, the Eternal City, and Assisi, the City of Peace, and Florence, the Capital of Tuscany and the city of beautiful art and architecture, for three weeks during the Advent and Christmas season. Participants should arrive in Rome Thursday, December 21 and depart from Rome on Thursday, January 11, following the Feast of the Epiphany, which is much celebrated in Italy.
The pilgrimage will include:
Christmas Eve Mass with Our Holy Father Pope Francis at Saint Peter’s Basilica.
Attendance at Pope Francis’ address and apostolic blessing “Urbi et Orbi” (“to the city and to the world”) at noon on Christmas Day in St. Peter’s Square decorated with a life-size nativity scene and a huge Christmas tree.
A papal audience
The Basilica of Saint Mary Major, where the first Christmas Eve Mass in the western world was celebrated. In the confessional below the main altar there are three pieces of the original manger. Displayed in the Basilica is the oldest permanent presepio or nativity scene, carved in the late 13th century, a commission for the first Jubilee Year in 1300.
The Basilica and Convent of Saints Cosmas and Damian, locale for the General Curia of the T.O.R. Friars, where we will see one of the largest Neapolitan-style nativity scenes that dates to the 18th century.
The Church of the Ara Coeli and the statue (made of wood from Gethsemane) of the Santo Bambino. We find here also the relics of St. Helena, Emperor Constantine’s mother, who played a significant role in building the churches at Bethlehem and on the Mount of Olives, and the one who found the True Cross on which Christ was crucified.
Holy Mass in various churches throughout Rome and visits to the four Major Basilicas.
Basilica of Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill, the Mother Church of the Dominican Order. The Church of Saint Anselm on the Aventine Hill together with the adjoining monastery that form the Primatial Abbey of the Benedictine Order.
The Colonnade of St. Peter’s Square where 100 presepi, nativity scenes, from all over Italy and other parts of the world are on display.
Two days and one night in Florence with its Duomo and Baptistry, the Uffizi Gallery, the convent of San Marco with paintings of Fra Angelico, and the Accademia.
Three days and two nights in Assisi, the city of St. Francis, who invented the first living Nativity Scene in history. Here we will visit:
The exhibition: “All nativity scenes of the World” in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli.
The Basilicas of St. Francis and St. Clare.
The monumental crib in the meadow of the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi with human size terracotta figures, the huge Christmas fir tree at the entrance of the Lower Basilica, and the artistic works that every year the Italian region chosen to honor the Patron of Italy gives to the Convent.
The tomb of Blessed Carlo Acutis in the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, the one-time cathedral of Assisi. His beatification took place in Assisi on June 10, 2020 in the Basilica of St. Francis.
Enjoy the Christmas markets and live nativity scenes.
The cost for the program is $1,500 and includes lodging and meals; transportation in Rome and to Assisi and Florence; and guided tour and admission costs. Travel to and from the program is not included. Payment is due upon registration by December 1, 2023.
Please consider this special pilgrimage for you and for your sisters at this time when prayers for all peoples of the world and for peace are greatly needed.
This program is open to all CMSWR communities. The program is supported in part by a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.