RE:QUESTA space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith
Lat Blaylock, Editor, RE Today
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The Nature and Purpose of Pilgrimage
Why is pilgrimage so important to Christians?
Pilgrimage: A journey made to a place of importance to a religion for spiritual reasons.
The Nature of Pilgrimage
Are there any places in the world that you would love to visit?
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.
Christians are the same, they have favourite places they like to visit connected to their faith. The special journey that they go on to these places is called a pilgrimage. The Christian faith has a long history of pilgrimage, visiting places where Jesus lived and died, alongside sites where Saints lived or miracles and visions occurred.
The Purpose of Pilgrimage
A pilgrimage is a spiritual journey that Christians go on for a number of reasons:
- They may go on pilgrimage to spend time in the presence of God, becoming closer to him in the process.
- Christians may go on pilgrimage to visit sites where miracles have taken place, to receive healing or a blessing.
- Sometimes they go to special places, like Taize, to seek peace.
- It connects Christians to the wider Church, as they meet people from different denominations.
- They may be interested in the history of the Christian faith.
- They may be seeking favour from God or forgiveness from him, which they feel they can do more effectively at a site of pilgrimage.
- Often the journey itself matters as much as being at the special place because it gives the pilgrim time to pray and think, to process problems they may have.