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A space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith

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Why is pilgrimage so important for Christians?


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 connected to someone special, for example, the town or country your grandparents were born. Or maybe, where a hero of yours lives. Perhaps you chose a place you have heard a lot about and would love to see for yourself.

Christians are the same; they have favourite places they like to visit, all connected to their faith. The special journey that they go on to these special places is called 'a pilgrimage.'

The places they choose to go on a pilgrimage to might include places written about in the Bible, such as Israel. It may be a place where a miracle once happened, for example, Lourdes. Or where a famous saint is buried. Often the journey itself matters as much as being at the special place because it gives the ‘pilgrim’ 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. 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.

Have you ever been on a long journey? Where did you go? Who did you go with? What did you pack? These Christians are going on a pilgrimage. How do you think they are feeling? What do you think they are talking about? Why do you think they are doing it?