Life

WHAT IS PILGRIMAGE?

Why would a Christian decide to go on a pilgrimage?

LIFE-PILGRIMAGE-IONA-MACHAIR

Are there any places in the world that you would love to visit? Take a moment to think about why.

Perhaps you chose somewhere that is associated with someone special – for example, the town or country your grandparents were born, or where a hero of yours lives. Perhaps you chose a place you have heard a lot about and would love to see for yourself.

When Christians go on pilgrimage they travel somewhere that is special to their faith. It might be to places written about in the Bible, such as where Jesus and the early Christians lived. It may be a place where a miracle once happened or a saint is buried. Often the journey itself matters as much as being at the special place, because it gives the ‘pilgrim’ – the person on the journey – time to pray and think.

Pilgrimage is an important part of spiritual life for many Christians. By taking the time to go on pilgrimage, people can leave behind everyday concerns from back home and spend time in the presence of God as they travel to a place with special meaning. People have always gone on pilgrimage for many reasons – perhaps to say sorry to God for something they had done wrong (penance), or because they were ill and wanted God to heal them. They might be looking for an answer to a problem or difficulty, or they might be looking for peace or healing. Over the years, places have become special for different reasons, and Christians decide to visit them to become closer to God in these special places.

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