Christian Pilgrimage - Canterbury and Lourdes

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1a        State the names of two places of Christian Pilgrimage.

There are numerous places of spiritual significance where some Christians make pilgrimages to, these could include, Canterbury Cathedral in England, and Lourdes in France.

1b        Explain why these two places are important for Christians.

These two places are important for Christians because of the events that are said to have taken place there.  Ever since the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket in the Cathedral in 1170, Canterbury has attracted thousands of pilgrims.  The Cathedral is a holy place of pilgrimage, founded by St Augustine for the worship of Almighty God and the honour of Christ our Saviour.

Although the town of Lourdes has just 17000 inhabitants, 5 million visitors go there each year.  This is due to a vision seen by  Bernadette Soubirous on numerous occasions, although the first visitation is said to be on February 11th 1858. Apparently Bernadette kept asking the lady in white who she was, and eventually she replied "Que soy era Immaculada Conceptiou" - I am The Immaculate Conception, this confirmed that these visions were images of the Virgin Mary.  Lourdes is the most popular place of pilgrimage in Europe and there have been numerous miraculous healings reported related to the shrine and especially the water of the spring.

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  1. How and why might the life of a Christian be changed by going on a pilgrimage?

Most Christians undertake a pilgrimage to a place of special spiritual interest for a variety of reasons.  These could include, an expression of their devotion to God, an individual belief that they should undertake this form of spiritual adventure, or could be a hope that they as an individual will gain something personally out of the experience, for example the curing of an illness or disability.

In Christianity pilgrimage is not compulsory as it is in other religions such as Buddism.  Many ...

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