On Pilgrimage

The word 'pilgrim' comes from the greek word pereginus meaning 'resident alien'. The notion of pilgrimage therefore reminds us that Christians are strangers and pilgrims on the earth whose true citizenship is in heaven.

Pilgrimages are journeys to holy places. For some, a pilgrimage will be undertaken as an act of thanksgiving. For others, a pilgrimage may be made as an act of penance. Some might also go on pilgrimage in search of physical or spiritual healing.

A pilgrimage to the Holy Land would involve following in the footsetps of our Lord and visiting those places in which important events in the life and ministry of Jesus occurred. Other pilgrimages would normally involve a visit to a shrine dedicated to a more recent event.  Examples of such pilgrimages would include visits to Fatima, Lourdes or Walsingham in which apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary have appeared. A pilgrimage might also be made to visit the relics of a particular Saint or Martyr.

It is important to remember that we might go on pilgrimage not just for ourselves, but on behalf of someone else. Pilgrims should spend some time carefully considering the 'intention' for which they wish to make their journey before setting out.