Aaron Sofocleous RE Coursework Question 1

What is involved in pilgrimage?

A pilgrimage is a journey in which people go on for a religious reason. People can go by themselves, with friends or can go on a trip organised by a whole community. The important part is the journey. Every religion has pilgrimages. For example Islam have Makkh, Buddhism has Bodhgaya and Sikhism has Amristsar. The major centre of pilgrimage for Christians is Jerusalem (The Holy land) we also share this with other religions.                                                                                                                 Lough Derg also known as St Patrick’s purgatory is a pilgrimage by the south coast of Ireland. This is where St Patrick established a monastery. On this pilgrimage pilgrims try to walk in the footsteps by living like St Patrick. On this pilgrimage people want to get closer to god. This means that most of the time the pilgrimage is conducted in silence. People are also barefooted. This is because from a text about St Patrick it said, “He rent his clothes, put on sac cloth and ashes and walked softly (barefooted).” This can also show a need to do penance, which Christians believe is an important part of getting closer to God. St Patrick also did a lot of fasting. The pilgrims also fast. They are only allowed two meals on their stay, which include black tea, black coffee or water, dry toast and oatcakes. This is also copying Jesus when he was in the desert for forty days. This pilgrimage has very strict routines, which help us to gain self-knowledge. It also helps the pilgrims to get o know themselves better because they are on an island with none of the troubles from the outside world. The experience of Lough Derg also includes self-sacrifice, so we can appreciate what we have and how fortunate we are. The physical side helps us to clear our minds of all the stress of our busy lives. Lough Derg is a place for quiet reflection on our lives people go to Lough Derg to get closer to themselves and in doing so get closer to God because this is the reason for the pilgrimage most of the time is spent in prayer. There is an all night vigil, four masses, the way of the cross, the rosary, renewal of baptismal vows, the sacrament of reconciliation and people also walk around the penitential beds, which were left over from the monastery days. People go to Lough Derg to get closer to themselves and in doing so get closer to God.

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Lourdes is another place of pilgrimage for Roman Catholics. Lourdes is where Bernadette saw visions of Our Lady. She told Bernadette that the water from the spring was holy and has healing powers. Because of St Bernadette’s love of looking after the ill thousands of Catholics come to Lourdes for the holy healing powers of the water. Like a lot of pilgrimages at Lourdes there are many places to pray but the most know place is probably the grotto where Mary appeared masses are said here and in this cave people can walk around and say their own prayers. Lourdes ...

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