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Pilgrimage has been part of Christian tradition for hundreds of years.

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Patrick McCafferty 11.S Mrs.Burke 20/10/2003 Pilgrimage: AO1 Pilgrimage has been part of Christian tradition for hundreds of years. It's a journey to a place of spiritual importance. Whether a holy person has lived there or a sacred event has happened. The physical journey to this holy place reflects the spiritual journey Christian goes through. We travel far to get closer to God. Going to the holy place helps us to become part of the spiritual atmosphere and become closer to the history of God's creation. It shows we want to make the effort to become more united with God. Sacrifices are made by pilgrims to prove that material possessions etc. hold no resistance with how important God is to them. The pilgrims want to show that they see God as their Main key in life. The pilgrims do not just give up their time but also give up food (fasting), the comfort of their homes, luxury items and even their sleep (some pilgrims take part in all night vigils). Sacrifice is not the soul reason for pilgrimage. With sacrifice comes self-knowledge. They are taken away from distractions so that they may reflect on their lives and consider what is really important. Some people describe life as a motorway where pilgrimage is a spiritual service station where you can stop and reflect on your journey so far. ...read more.


For instance the two places I previously mentioned, Lourdes and Lough Derg. Places of pilgrimage have a feel of holiness and have the power to relive religious events in the minds and hearts of visiting pilgrims. The place may have been where a saint lived or where a vision was seen. For example, in Lourdes you can go to the Grotto where Bernadette had 18 apparitions of Our Lady. In Nevers you can see the perfectly preserved body of Bernadette. Miraculously there was no special treatment performed in an attempt to sustain the condition of the body (up until recently). People see this as proof that Bernadette had a certain link to God and Mary. Having the opportunity to see the body creates, for pilgrims, a feeling of closeness to the saints that where sent by God. People go on pilgrimage to come closer to God. In Lough Derg people go to be still and listen to the voice of God. You travel away from normal life to make room for God. Maybe the pilgrim wants to seek forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which can be done in both Lough Derg and Lourdes. In Lough Derg people go bare foot and fast as a sign of their sorrow. ...read more.


But there are advantages of having shops nearby the shrine. Shops offer people souvenirs so they may remember the time they spent growing closer to God. They can also sell goods that enhance your pilgrimage, e.g. Rosary beads. An enormous point that must be mentioned is that without the shops money wouldn't be made for the maintenance of the town. Its decline in safety and cleanliness may cause people to cut down on their visits to the place of pilgrimage. More importantly some of the money made by shops goes towards the upkeep of the shrine itself. Without their funds the shrine would most definitely erode away and become unsafe. The shops enable people to buy gifts for the people who can't afford to or are too sick to go themselves. To conclude my evaluation I admit I do see how some people can feel items in some shops are sacrilegious and irreverent but I don't think that the shops are directly involved in making the experience less sacred. People who find these items offensive are not being shown them forcefully. If they don't want to see them they are simple to avoid. If the pilgrimage is made less enjoyable and sacred, which it rarely is as we can see people come back year after year, then I think it is because of other factors. Word Count = 462 words - 1 - ...read more.

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