"Explain the part Pilgrimage plays in the life of Christians"

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                                                                        Georgina Thomas


“Explain the Part Pilgrimage plays in the life of Christians”

There are many reasons for going on pilgrimage. Some go on Pilgrimage searching for God, to reaffirm their faith. Others go to have the opportunity to worship freely with other believers, a feeling of belonging, being ‘allowed’ to worship. Another reason is to go as an act of penance to make up for sin; this reason isn’t as common as it was in the Middle Ages when priests would sometimes give pilgrimage as a penance

The benefits from going on pilgrimage vary from person to person. A sense of belonging is one of the many things gained. The person I interviewed was a relative who went on pilgrimage in May of this year, she said ‘I gained a lot from travelling; I had an overwhelming mountaintop experience whilst proceeding around the Stations of the Cross, meeting new people along the way’. She also said “the spiritual discipline showed me a kind of peacefulness I don’t normally come across.’ my relative believes she can find peace in Lourdes that she cannot get anywhere else. Others may say a lot is gained purely if you stay open to the new surroundings. Lasting friendships are gained in this way. Some pilgrims may strengthen their relationship with God and gain an understanding of their blessings and failings. Also pilgrims can realize how lucky they are, with good health and not take it for granted, and not take free time they ever have for granted either. Going to Lourdes an make you ‘grateful and thankful for what you have’ because pilgrims become aware of the difficulty others have in their lives, for example, the children taken by the HPCT are much less fortunate than others. In Lourdes pilgrims can focus on own gifts and gifts of others, perhaps accept themselves and get rid of negative thoughts about themselves and change the way they perceive others. Those who are sick may gain an acceptance of their illness. Another gain form going on pilgrimage would be the sense of belonging, with believers that all felt the same way. ‘Praying with others feels like your are benefiting them as well, it is nice to share such a good experience’ said my interviewee.

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When on pilgrimages, miracles can happen, big and small. I did some research on the internet and here is a story which made an impact on me. Mr. Micheli had a large tumor in his left pelvic area. A biopsy showed that the tumor was an aggressive, usually fatal form of cancer. For some reason, the man did not receive treatments for ten months as his skeleton was disintegrating. The man went to Lourdes, where he was bathed. Reports from the Medical Commission of Lourdes record that the man had lost significant amounts of weight, was in constant pain, and ...

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