Catholic Pilgrimage

A pilgrimage is a spiritual journey to a religious destination. Catholic pilgrimages are often to the Holy Land, Catholic shrines and churches, or other holy places where the faithful can spend time growing closer to God.

Catholics emphasize the sacramental nature of holy places, remembering that Jesus became man and used the material world to heal and to save.

Although pilgrimages are a long-standing Catholic practice, they existed before Christianity and other religious people still go on pilgrimages to places significant to their own faith. Like all Jewish people, Jesus and his family journeyed to Jerusalem at Passover each year.

Early Christians visited places that were significant during Jesus’ life, including where He was born, where He taught and performed miracles, and where He was Crucified and rose from the dead. Later, Catholics would visit locations where Christianity originated, where martyrs were killed, and where saints are buried.

Catholics on pilgrimage spend time in prayer praising God, asking for forgiveness, or seeking physical and spiritual healing while growing in their faith and deepening their devotion to God.

The life of a Catholic on Earth is a pilgrimage, journeying as a stranger through a foreign land on their way to Heaven, which is their true home.

A pilgrim seeks God:

A pilgrimage is not a tour:

To go on pilgrimage is not simply to visit a place to admire its treasures of nature, art or history. To go on pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves in order to encounter God where He has revealed Himself, where his grace has shone with particular splendour and produced rich fruits of conversion and holiness among those who believe. Above all, Christians go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to the places associated with the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection. They go to Rome, the city of the martyrdom of Peter and Paul, and also to Compostela, which, associated with the memory of Saint James, has welcomed pilgrims from throughout the world who desire to strengthen their spirit with the Apostle’s witness of faith and love.

Pope Benedict XVI, Visit to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, 6 November 2010

Encountering God where He was in the world:

Experiencing God’s Word in 3 dimensions:

A song of ascents. Of David. I rejoiced when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD. ”And now our feet are standing within your gates, Jerusalem. Jerusalem, built as a city, walled round about. There the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, As it was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD. There are the thrones of justice, the thrones of the house of David. For the peace of Jerusalem pray: “May those who love you prosper! May peace be within your ramparts, prosperity within your towers.” For the sake of my brothers and friends I say, “Peace be with you.” For the sake of the house of the LORD, our God, I pray for your good.

Psalm 122: 1-9

A retreat from ordinary life:

Pilgrimage is about the journey, not the destination:

The church, the house of God, is the proper place for the liturgical prayer of the parish community. It is also the privileged place for adoration of the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. The choice of a favorable place is not a matter of indifference for true prayer. For personal prayer, this can be a “prayer corner” with the Sacred Scriptures and icons, in order to be there, in secret, before our Father. In a Christian family, this kind of little oratory fosters prayer in common. In regions where monasteries exist, the vocation of these communities is to further the participation of the faithful in the Liturgy of the Hours and to provide necessary solitude for more intense personal prayer. Pilgrimages evoke our earthly journey toward Heaven and are traditionally very special occasions for renewal in prayer. For pilgrims seeking living water, shrines are special places for living the forms of Christian prayer “in Church.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church 2691

Restoring order with God, others, and self:

A Catholic tradition from the beginning:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Truly in love with Jesus:

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