What is Pilgrimage-AO1 Georgina Thomas

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 What is Pilgrimage- AO1                               Georgina Thomas

A pilgrimage is a journey to a holy place. The holy places that Christians choose to visit on pilgrimage can include; where a saint lived, where a relic of a saint is kept, where a vision occurred or where Jesus lived. To travel to holy places (such as Rome or Lourdes) is in itself considered a part of the pilgrimage. Originally pilgrims would have walked and maybe met with other groups on the way. Some choose to make the journey alone or as a group, e.g. - the HCPT takes sick children to Lourdes as part of the charity. In fact many of the pilgrims who go to Lourdes are seriously ill or severely handicapped, has become a place where in numerous cases the sick have been restored to health. Between Easter and December each year two 'jumbulances' travel from Britain to Lourdes weekly. These are large ambulances, capable of carrying twenty-four passengers, including a doctor, three or four nurses, a chaplain, other helpers and about a dozen sick pilgrims. The ambulances pick up their sick passengers and then take them to Lourdes. The help given by the ambulance team is voluntary, and a trust also pays for the accommodation of the pilgrims at a chalet called 'Across' in Lourdes.

Some Christians choose to make this journey uncomfortable as an act of penance and to reflect on the pain Jesus went through. In most recent years pilgrims have used modern transport to reach their chosen place of pilgrimage which some might argues damages the spirit of reason for going on pilgrimage. Those who choose to go on pilgrimage for their own reasons may be seeking a break from routine, some time and space to reflect, but going on pilgrimage is very different from a holiday. The Christians journey through life can itself be considered a pilgrimage. Taking an actual physical pilgrimage is only a small step on our spiritual journey. Our pilgrimage through life is one way of walking with Jesus.

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Lourdes is a good example of a holy place, a place of pilgrimage. Pilgrims visit Lourdes because of devotion to Mary. In 1844 on January 11th a sick child was born, her family was poverty stricken and she had a poor education. In February 1858 Bernadette out to collect firewood with her sister and on the banks of the river Gave, Our Lady appeared to her. Bernadette continued to see visions. One official returned to his faith after witnessing Bernadette during a vision. Mary called herself ‘The Immaculate Conception’ on her 16th appearance. Bernadette spoke words of a dogma just ruled by ...

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