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Pilgrimage. Many Roman Catholic Christians feel that going on a pilgrimage makes them feel more aware of God.

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Introduction

Weronika Marciniak Pilgrimage The Oxford English Dictionary defines a pilgrimage as being 'a journey to a sacred place for religious reasons.' Many Roman Catholic Christians feel that going on a pilgrimage makes them feel more aware of God. They have time to deepen their understanding of God by experiencing the places connected with the life of his son, Jesus Christ and time to talk to Him about the things they are concerned about. This may be to fulfil a vow made to God to participate in the pilgrimage, knowing that He will answer their prayers. The prayers may ask God to physically cure someone of a disability or sickness or to spiritually heal a person, to forgive them, to help them overcome a problem so that they can return home feeling inspired and determined to change. Through their prayers, pilgrims may also want to thank God for blessing them with the opportunity to spend their time being closer with God in spiritual surroundings. I will now look at two places of pilgrimage Lourdes, France and Rome, Italy to explore the possible reasons as to why some Roman Catholics do decide to go on pilgrimage. Lourdes stands at the foot of the Pyrenees and is perhaps the most commonly visited of the destinations of pilgrimage. Each year over five million people visit Lourdes, many of whom are sick or disabled. There are many reasons as to why people go there, one of the most obvious ones is what actually happened there. ...read more.

Middle

It is also ironic of the belief that Saint Peter was buried in the Vatican at the place where the Church of Saint Peter can be found today. It is not known whether our belief is correct or not, however it is thought to be true because of Saint Peter talking of 'Babylon', an expression used to describe Rome (1 Peter). The importance of St. Peter makes the Vatican a special place to be visited by a pilgrim. In Matthew 16:13 Peter says, 'You are the Christ, the son of the living God." It was him who recognised Jesus as being the 'Messiah'. He rose the awareness in people about Jesus being divine. As pilgrims to the Vatican we hope that we too, feel more conscious of Jesus and identify his virtue. When Peter denied knowing Jesus three times (Matthew 26: 69-75), he showed a true human emotion, selfishness. Peter is a good example to all Christians to never loose faith, particularly at times when others are in need. In visiting the Vatican people can pray to recognise our weaknesses and to gain spiritual strength to overcome it like Peter did. It is believed that in 64 AD Emperor Nero decided to blame the Christians, (who were not approved of at the time, as they wouldn't worship the Roman Gods), for his actions to set fire to the city of Rome. It is said that Nero killed many Christians, even burning some to death in his gardens. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although there are examples of Jesus going away to pray, the Bible does not state that it is necessary to go on a pilgrimage, it doesn't say you are any less of a Christian if you don't go. Although the places of pilgrimage are associated with religious figures such as Jesus, Mary and other Saints, we are taught that God is everywhere and can be experienced anywhere. Many people find that pilgrimage is expensive and find it is not really worth it as we can practice many aspects experienced through pilgrimage, during our everyday lives. We do not need to go away to spend time helping those that need us when we can do it at home. Going on retreats and reflection days can also be experienced without travelling away from home. A few people may find that Pilgrimage is meaningless if they do not get anything out of it and if the people who they met had no impact on their life at all. Having looked at both sides of the argument I think that Christians should be encouraged to make a pilgrimage at least once in their lives. Even though it can be expensive, I think it is worth for a follower of Christ to go to places associated with his life. You can't really get away to fully concentrate and devote your time to God without going on a pilgrimage. If Jesus found it important to get away to pray then it should be important for his followers to do the same. ...read more.

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