The Pontifical North American College

Travel Information

It is the hope of the Diaconate Planning Committee that this resource will provide you with helpful information in the planning of your pilgrimage to Rome for the 2018 Diaconate Ordination. Please look over this document carefully and direct any questions you may have to the deacon candidate or the DPC Chairman, Brad Berhorst.

Deacon Scott Valentyn (Diocese of Green Bay) pauses for a photo with family and friends at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica shortly after his ordination last year.

  1. Travel Planning Suggestions
  2. List of Travel Agencies (in no particular order)
  3. Sample Itinerary for Diaconate Week
  4. Popular Travel Websites
  5. Bus Companies in Rome
  6. Getting Around Rome
  7. Popular Sites in Rome
  8. Top Ten Churches to Visit in Rome

 

Travel Planning Suggestions

  • Using a travel agent for your stay in Rome/Italy is strongly suggested.
  • Deacon candidates – or a family member/friend – should negotiate the contract (itinerary and price) with the travel agent as soon as practical; the contract should include an offer of one free traveler for every 8 or 10 or 12 paying travelers. Candidates may decide to offer just a “land package” or a complete package include air and land.  The diaconate week schedule should be taken into account when planning the itinerary.
  • Deacon candidates should not plan to serve as “tour guides” for their guests during diaconate week. From the time of the candidates’ return from retreat on Saturday, September 22nd through the ordination on Thursday, September 27th candidates should be free to visit with family/friends, to accompany them for tour or meals, and to have time for personal prayer, community liturgies, and rehearsals for the ordination.  These are the most important days to have a travel agent – or to have tours pre-arranged – so that candidates are free and relaxed and rested and at peace as they approach ordination.
  • Travel agents should be advised not to contact the administration of the Pontifical North American College directly. All questions/queries regarding Masses, receptions, holy hours, tours, and tickets should go through the deacon candidate and the Diaconate Planning Committee Chairman.
  • Deacon candidates should be in contact with pastors or diocesan priests who may be planning a pilgrimage to the ordination. This does occur (sometime unbeknownst to the candidate).  Again, these priests and their travel agents should work through the deacon candidate and the Diaconate Planning Committeeregarding details of diaconate week.  All questions/queries regarding Masses, receptions, holy hours, tours, and tickets should go through the deacon candidate and the Diaconate Planning Committee.
  • NAC room guests:  Generally rooms – during diaconate week – are reserved for bishops and Vocation Directors.  Student guest rooms, on the student corridors, may be reserved for seminarian brothers, or male family members (brothers and fathers of candidates).  Also, priests, not Vocation Directors, who are directly involved with a candidates’ formation – pastor, former Vocation Director, etc. – may also stay in a student guest room.

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List of Travel Agencies

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Sample Itinerary for Diaconate Week (may be adjusted to fit group needs and agency offers)

Friday, September 21: Participants depart for Rome.

Saturday, September 22: Participants arrive in Rome. The tour providers may furnish transportation from Leonardo da Vinci Airport (Fiumicino) to the participants’ respective accommodations. It is important to ensure that the place of accommodation can receive and safely secure baggage until guest rooms are available.

Sunday, September 23: Participants may attend the Angelus with the Holy Father. There will be an Arrival/Welcome Mass and Reception for guests at the College in the late afternoon. (Transportation should be coordinated ahead of time with individual Travel Agents/coordinators)

Monday, September 24: St. Peter’s Basilica Scavi tours can be scheduled for the participants with the Scavi office throughout the week, beginning with Monday the 24th (tours unavailable Thursday morning for Deaconate Ordination). The College will provide tour guides for Scavi tours, and for tours of St Peter’s Basilica.

Tuesday, September 25: Assisi Day Trip. Many groups choose to do a day trip pilgrimage to Assisi. Optional/extra tours and trips must be planned accordingly and are separate from College functions. (see individual Travel Agency for more details)

Wednesday, September 26: Wednesday Morning General Audience with the Holy Father (10am in St. Peter’s Square -tickets will be provided by the College). There will be a vigil/evening prayer service for the families and friends of the candidates at a Roman church to be designated by the College. (See Travel Agents/coordinators about transportation to and from this evening service.)

Thursday, September 27: Ordination at St. Peters Basilica 9:30am at the altar of the Chair of Peter. Reception at the College to Follow. (See individual travel agents/coordinators for further assistance on transportation)

Friday, September 28: New deacons offer first Masses at pre-arranged chapels or churches in and around Rome. (See travel agent/coordinators for further assistance on transportation)

Saturday, September 29: Closing Vigil Mass at the North American College at 5:30pm.

Sunday, September 30: Guests often choose Sunday to depart for home but are free to do so whenever. (See individual Travel Agency coordinators for any further transportation concerns)

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Popular Travel Websites

  • TripAdvisor
    • Good for checking reviews on restaurants and hotels.
  • Skyscanner
    • Good for finding flights.
  • Airbnb
    • For “vacation rental” as a hotel alternative.
  • Booking.com
    • For hotel and vacation rentals.
  • Expedia and KAYAK
    • For flights, hotels, and car rentals.

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Bus Companies in Rome

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Getting Around Rome

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Popular Sites in Rome

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Top Ten Churches to Visit in Rome

  • Peter’s Basilica (Piazza San Pietro)
    • The greatest church in Christendom. Too much to say and describe without writing at least a few paragraphs, but suffice to say that it is a masterpiece of architecture and under the iconic high altar rest the bones of the Prince of the Apostles.
  • John Lateran (Piazza di San Giovanni in Laterano, 4)
    • The official title of the church is Papal Archbasilica of the Most Holy Savior and Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist in the Lateran, and such a chain of honorifics is justified for the Cathedral of Rome. Notable are its beautiful Cosmatesque floor, the high altar that contains the skulls of Saints Peter and Paul in twin reliquaries, and the connected Baptistery—the first in the world—and the Holy Stairs and Sancta Sanctorum, formerly part of the (now destroyed) Lateran Palace.
  • St. Paul Outside-the-Walls (Piazzale San Paolo, 1)
    • Originally founded by Constantine over the burial place of Saint Paul, its current form is the result of a nineteenth-century reconstruction that was necessary because of a catastrophic fire in 1823. Nevertheless, it retains the rather primitive character of a Roman basilica, with a grand central nave and unadorned columns. The mosaics that survived the fire date from the 400s.
  • St. Mary Major (Piazza del Esquilino, 34)
    • One of Rome’s five papal basilicas, Santa Maria Maggiore is the largest church dedicated to Mary in Rome, and houses an important relic under its high altar: the crib in which the Child Jesus rested in Bethlehem. A side chapel contains an icon beloved of the Roman people, “Salus Populi Romani.”
  • Santa Maria in Trastevere (Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere)
    • Santa Maria in Trastevere is one of Rome’s oldest churches and believed to be the first church in the world where Mass was publicly celebrated after the legalization of Christianity in 313 AD. It originally dates from the late third to the early fourth century but was rebuilt in the twelfth century. The church is famous for a Byzantine mosaic behind the altar and a number of medieval mosaics. The piazza has a beautiful octagonal fountain.
  • San Clemente (Via Labicana, 95)
    • San Clemente, near the Coliseum, is a perfect example of how history still exists in layers in Rome’s churches. The current twelfth century church features probably the most beautiful mosaic in Rome, and sits on top of a fourth century church built over a first century Christian meeting place that’s above a first century BC Mithraic temple and school.
  • Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (Piazza della Repubblica)
    • This church was constructed (according to plans drawn up by Michelangelo) inside the ruins of the Baths of Diocletian. The layout is unique, in that the transept, which runs crosswise to the nave, is longer. It also houses a fascinating solar median that was formerly used to calculate the time in Renaissance to early modern Rome.
  • Sant’Agostino (Piazza di Sant’Agostino)
    • One of the first Roman churches built during the Renaissance, it holds the tomb of Saint Monica, Saint Augustine’s mother. There is also a very popular devotional statue inside, Nostra Signora del Parto, a devotion to Our Lady as protectress of pregnant women and mothers.
  • Sant’Ignazio (Via del Caravita, 8a)
    • Another example of the exuberant Baroque style that the Jesuits popularized throughout Europe, Sant’Ignazio is a worthy companion of the nearby Gesù. The bodies of Jesuit saints John Berchmans and Aloysius Gonzaga are entombed under side altars inside.
  • Santa Maria sopra Minerva (Piazza della Minerva, 42)
    • Santa Maria sopra Minerva is one of Rome’s only Gothic style churches. It was built in the thirteenth century over what was believed to have been the Temple of Minerva (actually the Temple of Isis). Inside is a sculpture by Michelangelo and the tombs of Saint Catherine, Fra Angelico, and some of the Medici popes. Outside is a Bernini sculpture of an elephant with an obelisk on its back.

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[This page was last modified on March 14, 2018.]

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