The Assisi, Italy Peace & Justice Pilgrimage

June 23 – 30, 2024

Sponsored by Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service and the Franciscan Action Network

Led by Pace e Bene’s Dr. Ken Butigan and Friar Michael Lasky, OFM Conv.

with Michele Dunne, OFS, Executive Director of the Franciscan Action Network

SLIDESHOW FROM THE PEACE AND NONVIOLENCE PILGRIMAGE IN 2019

“The pilgrimage to Assisi felt like a week in heaven, surrounded by beauty, spirituality, and warm companionship. The trip really motivated me to look again at how I am living out my values in terms of public activism. It was a deep experience, and I suspect that its fruits will be appearing in my life for years to come”

— Michele D. (2019 Pilgrim)

THE PILGRIMAGE

Join Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service and the Franciscan Action Network on a powerful pilgrimage to Assisi, Italy in the summer of 2024 led by Franciscan Friar Michael Lasky and Dr. Ken Butigan.

This journey is a one-week pilgrimage to Assisi, Italy June 23 – June 30, 2024, to pray, study the lives of St. Francis and St. Clare, build community, and deepen our commitment to Gospel nonviolence. Michele Dunne, Executive Director of the Franciscan Action Network will join Friar Michael and Dr. Butigan in this once-in-a-lifetime experience—and we hope you will too!

For decades Pace e Bene and the Franciscan Action Network have promoted active engagement for justice, peace, and nonviolence in the spirit of St. Francis and St. Clare. Together, we will walk in the footsteps of these peacemakers whose courageous nonviolence, compassion for others, kinship with creation, and work for peace and reconciliation have inspired people everywhere.

The Peace & Justice Pilgrimage of to Assisi seeks applications for 30 pilgrims. Participants would be invited to make this journey not as a sight-seeing trip, but as a pilgrimage to learn how the examples of St. Francis and St. Clare can help us take another step on our own paths of spirituality and action. This trip then will be a retreat time of prayer, personal renewal, and invigorating discussion, a holy pilgrimage in the long tradition of Christian spirituality.

THE DETAILS

Each pilgrim will pay their own airfare to and from Rome, as well as ground travel from Rome to Assisi and back. Each pilgrim will arrive at Hotel Giotto in Assisi, Italy by 3 pm on Sunday, June 23 and depart the Hotel Giotto on Sunday morning, June 30. Breakfast and dinner will be provided each day at the hotel; lunch is on one’s own.

The Pilgrimage will begin on June 23 with a welcome, introductions and a Catholic Mass, then a social and dinner. Every morning, Friar Michael will celebrate a daily Mass and reflect on the Gospel call to justice, peace and nonviolence. Then we will visit a significant site in or around Assisi and have a presentation on the lives of St. Francis and St. Clare and their lessons of nonviolence, presented by Ken and Friar Michael. There will also be time for quiet reflection and group discussion, as well as personal check-ins.

Afternoons will be free for lunch, rest, getting to know other participants, and further sight-seeing. Then we will gather for dinner and an evening check-in and prayer.

THE SCHEDULE

(Subject to change – a final itinerary will be sent to those accepted before the trip )

  • Sunday, June 23, Registration and check-in at Hotel Giotto from 1-3pm. 4pm we will begin with welcomes, introductions, overview of the week, presentation with Ken Butigan and evening Mass with Friar Michael.
  • Monday, June 24, We will spend the morning at the Basilica and grave of St. Francis, and have reflections in the upper church with Ken and Friar Michael on the life of St. Francis. Mass with Friar Michael later that morning in the Chapel of Peace at the Basilica. Lunch and afternoon free. Group reflection, dinner and social beginning at 5:30pm
  • Tuesday, June 25, Presentation at the hotel with Ken Butigan on San Damiano. We will then spend the rest of the morning at San Damiano, the church which St. Francis built and where he heard God speak to him through the crucifix, and where St. Clare eventually lived and died. Mass with Friar Michael afterwards at San Damiano. Lunch and afternoon free. Group reflection, dinner and social beginning at 5:30pm
  • Wednesday, June 26, morning Mass with Friar Michael at St. Clare’s Basilica. We will then spend the morning at the Basilica of St. Clare, and reflect on her life and lessons of nonviolence with Friar Michael and Ken. Afterwards we will visit the Cathedral of San Rufino and Santa Maria Maggiore. Lunch and afternoon free. Group reflection, dinner and social beginning at 5:30pm
  • Thursday, June 27, The day is entirely free; lunch and dinner can be on your own, or you can have dinner at the hotel with those who wish. Feel free to rest, walk, shop, or visit other Franciscan sites such as La Verna, Gubbio, or Greccio.
  • Friday, June 28, we will visit Santa Maria degli Angeli, where St. Francis died, and have reflections from Friar Michael and Ken. We will then have a Mass that morning at Santa Maria degli Angeli inside the Porziuncola if possible. Lunch and afternoon free. Group reflection, dinner and social beginning at 5:30pm
  • Saturday, June 29, Presentation at hotel with Ken Butigan on Eremos della Carceri, St. Francis’ hermitage. We will then travel to Eremos della Carceri where you will be able to walk the trails and see the caves on your own. Lunch and afternoon free. We will have group reflections later that afternoon along with a closing Mass at Hotel Giotto. Afterwards, on Saturday evening, we will have a farewell dinner.
  • Sunday morning, June 30, Pilgrims are on their own to return to Rome for their departing flight or any other personal travel arrangements they may have.

COST AND HOW TO APPLY

Cost for the pilgrimage is $3100 per person. This fee covers the hotel stay for seven nights at Hotel Giotto in Assisi along with breakfast and dinner each night at the hotel and local ground transportation to and from the various sites that day. It will also cover fees associated with certain reservations needed for group access at sights in Assisi. We will also apply a portion of the funds towards a carbon offset program to alleviate the carbon emissions from flights and other transportation that are required for this pilgrimage. We are exploring funding for partial scholarships for participants aged 21-35.

Your flight is not included and participants will be responsible to book their own flights and arrive on time. Ground transportation to and from Assisi on June 23 and June 30 is also not provided though we will give you plenty of information about how to take trains from Rome to Assisi or meet up with other pilgrims traveling in the same direction together.

A non-refundable deposit of $500 will be due within 30 days upon acceptance to the pilgrimage. Final payment will be due by December 1, 2023. If more time is needed for final payment, arrangements can be made on an individual basis with Pace e Bene.

Please Note: In the event that COVID or any other pandemic makes traveling to Italy inadvisable in 2024, any payments made toward the pilgrimage will be refunded in full.

To apply: fill out this application and we will be in touch with you. Keep in mind, we are limited to 30 participants.

To join this pilgrimage all attendees must be 18 years of age or older. Those under 18 may also be accepted if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

PREPARATION

Once you have been selected to attend the Assisi Peace and Justice Pilgrimage we will ask you to prepare for the trip by taking extra time to read, pray and journal in the months ahead.

To make the most out of your journey, we recommend that everyone attending read Marie Dennis et al, “St. Francis and the Foolishness of God” or Dr. Butigan’s book, “Franciscan Nonviolence” as well as at least one biography of St. Francis such as, “Francis of Assisi: A Revolutionary Life” by Adrian House. We also encourage all participants to join or organize at least one event during the Campaign Nonviolence Action Days as active nonviolent public preparation for this private pilgrimage and retreat to Assisi.

Several weeks before the trip, we will also hold a zoom orientation for all those attending the pilgrimage. This will be a chance to meet all those coming along, ask any questions ahead of time for the guides and give everyone some background on the sites we will visit. We will be in touch with you regarding the date.

Finally, we encourage everyone on the pilgrimage to enter the week in Assisi as a week of peace, prayer and pilgrimage. To maintain that atmosphere we request that each person attending be respectful of one another especially during prayer and Mass time and during sessions with Ken and Friar Michael so that we can encourage one another to make this not just a great vacation, but a spiritual pilgrimage into Gospel nonviolence and the footsteps of St. Francis and St. Clare.

OTHER LOGISTICS

As this is an international trip, all participants must have a passport in order to join us. If you do not have one, we encourage interested pilgrims to apply for your passport as soon as we have accepted your application.

Keep in mind that Assisi was built on a hillside so everywhere you go from Hotel Giotto is either up or down steep, uneven cobblestone streets which can be difficult to walk on. We will provide taxis for any pilgrim who needs assistance to each day’s location. Outside of our scheduled activities you are responsible for your own transportation.

Something to consider: We recommend arriving early to Assisi. Even though we begin on June 23, if you arrive a day or two early, this will help you acclimate to the time change and overcome jet lag.

More details will be provided regarding transportation options and directions from Rome to Assisi as the date approaches.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

In order to lower our carbon emissions due to flights and other transportation, we will also be contributing a portion of your pilgrimage payment toward a carbon offset program for the whole group. More details will be provided.

COVID/PANDEMIC PROTOCOL

In the event of another pandemic or if COVID is resurging, as long as travel is still relatively safe, we will proceed with the pilgrimage, but all participants will be encouraged to follow all health and safety guidelines once in Italy. Please remember that going on any international journey has risks, including getting COVID and our team will help in any way we can to support and comfort anyone in this situation, though legally Pace e Bene and the Franciscan Action Network will not be held responsible for any participant who may get sick.

In the event that the pilgrimage gets cancelled all payments made toward the pilgrimage will be refunded in full.

Sponsored by:

“Walking through the same streets, seeing the same views, breathing the air in the same spaces as St. Francis helps to bring alive his transformed life that transformed the world. Exploring Francis’ transformation with a group of people committed to peace and nonviolence make today’s efforts to wake up the world more alive.”

— John E. (2019 Pilgrim)

TESTIMONIALS FROM 2019 PILGRIMS:

“A once in a lifetime peace pilgrimage to Spirit filled Assisi with compassionate, vital leaders who have dedicated their whole lives to Peace and Justice , who inspired us, broadened our understanding of nonviolence, changed us and provided one on one help to realize our dreams of promoting nonviolence in our own hometowns.” – Tara C.

“Well organized, inspiring and insightful. We felt the power of the Holy Spirit through the connection made to Francis and Claire by Ken and John and also a connection with and deep appreciation of each other through the daily reflections and activities. The power of the pilgrimage deepened our awareness and commitment to claim a non violent way of life.”   – Kathleen and Ed S.

“If you have a longing to go deeper on your pilgrim journey, in the beauty of Assisi, I highly recommend Pace e Bene. They will carefully walk you through all the traveling details, give you an itinerary with flexibility, provide daily input from the insightful professor Ken Butigan with inspiring masses. You will be inspired by the participants and the significant historical site.” – Lynn S.

“The Assisi Pilgrimage has inspired me to continue Francis and Clare’s journey of nonviolence and peace in my journey of working for peace and justice in our chaotic world.” – Ellie V.

ABOUT THE PILGRIMAGE GUIDES

Friar Michael Lasky, OFM Conv.

Friar Michael Lasky is a Franciscan Friar Conventual currently living in Rome, Italy. As the General Delegate for Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation for the Franciscan Order, he spends most of his time in the grassroots working with friars on social justice initiatives and offering formation programs on the social teachings of the Church and Franciscan spirituality.

Responding to Pope Francis’ encouragement for us to hear and respond to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor, in 2019 Friar Michael founded Little Portion Farm in Ellicott City, Maryland. It now produces 30,000lbs of organic food a year for the poor in Baltimore.

In 2022, in response to the war in Ukraine, Friar Michael began organizing Franciscan Social Theatre Trainings in Poland, where Ukrainian actors and actresses were taught how to facilitate social theatre for children suffering from war trauma. There are now several programs running in Ukraine and throughout Poland.

In 1999 and 2003 Friar Michael ministered in Assisi, Italy at the Basilica of St. Francis as a pilgrim guide. Over the years, he has worked for Franciscans International at the United Nations as director of the New York office and Americas program, and for the Franciscan Action Network as a board member. He is also the director of the Conventual Franciscan website: FranciscanVoice.org

Dr. Ken Butigan

Ken Butigan is a strategist and consultant for Campaign Nonviolence. A peace and justice worker, workshop facilitator, and writer for two decades, Ken also teaches at DePaul University in Chicago.

Since the early 1980s, Ken has worked with numerous social movements, including movements for a nuclear-free future, an end to homelessness, and freedom for East Timor. He was the national coordinator of the Pledge of Resistance and a national organizer for the Declaration of Peace. Ken joined the Pace e Bene staff in 1990. He developed and for several years directed Pace e Bene’s From Violence To Wholeness program, and was actively involved in creating Pace e Bene’s Engage: Exploring Nonviolent Living program.

Ken earned his Ph.D. in the Historical and Cultural Studies of Religions at the Graduate Theological Union in 2000. He has been a lecturer in the spirituality and practice of nonviolence at the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley, and directed the Spiritual Life Institute at Saint Martin’s College in Washington State for three years.

Ken has published six books, including Nonviolent Lives: People and Movements Changing the World Through the Power of Active Nonviolence and Pilgrimage through a Burning World: Spiritual Practice and Nonviolent Protest at the Nevada Test Site.

Ken lives in Chicago with his spouse Cynthia Okayama Dopke and their daughter.

Michele Dunne, OFS

Joining the team on the pilgrimage will also be Franciscan Action Network (FAN) Executive Director, Michele Dunne, a professed Secular Franciscan. Before joining FAN, in 2021, Michele’s career focused on the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy, including nearly 20 years in the U.S. Department of State as well as heading programs focused on peace, human rights, and democracy in the Middle East at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
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