Pope St. John Paul II: Pilgrimage Helps Us Remember Our Roots
Stations of the Cross, Pasierbiec City, Poland
“To go in a spirit of prayer from one place to another, from one city to another, in the area marked especially by God’s intervention, helps us not only to live our life as a journey, but also gives us a vivid sense of a God who has gone before us and leads us on, who himself set out on man’s path, a God who does not look down on us from on high, but who became our travelling companion.
The pilgrimage to the Holy Places thus becomes a highly meaningful experience and in a sense is evoked by every other Jubilee pilgrimage. The Church cannot forget her roots.” ~ Pope St. John Paul II, Letter Of The Supreme Pontiff John Paul II Concerning Pilgrimage To The Places Linked To The History Of Salvation.
St. Therese of Lisieux: In Pilgrimage, We Touch the Sacred
“At Assisi I had a little adventure. While visiting the places sanctified by the virtues of St. Francis and St. Clare I lost the buckle of my belt in the monastery. It took me some time to find and put it back in place, and when I reached the door all the carriages had started except one; that belonged to the Vicar-General of Bayeux! Should I run after those which were no longer in sight and so perhaps miss the train, or should I beg for a seat in the carriage of Father Révérony? I decided that this was the wiser plan.
I tried to hide my extreme embarrassment and explained things. He was placed in a difficulty himself, for all the seats were occupied, but one of the party promptly gave me his place and sat by the driver. I felt like a squirrel caught in a snare. I was ill at ease in the midst of these great people, and I had to sit face to face with the most formidable of all. He was exceedingly kind, however, and now and then interrupted his conversation to talk to me about the Carmel and promise that he would do all in his power to realise my desire of entering at fifteen. This meeting was like balm to my wounds, though it did not prevent me from suffering. I had now lost all trust in creatures and could only lean on God Himself.”
The Papal Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi
“And yet my distress did not hinder me from taking a deep interest in the holy places we visited. In Florence we saw the shrine of St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi, in the choir of the Carmelite Church. All the pilgrims wanted to touch the Saint’s tomb with their Rosaries, but my hand was the only one small enough to pass through the grating. So I was deputed for this important and lengthy task, and I did it with pride.
It was not the first time I had obtained special favours. One day, at Santa Croce, in Rome, we venerated the relics of the True Cross, together with two of the Thorns, and one of the Sacred Nails. I wanted to examine them closely, so I remained behind, and when the monk in charge was going to replace them on the Altar, I asked if I might touch the precious treasures. He said I might do so, but was doubtful if I should succeed; however, I put my little finger into one of the openings of the reliquary and was able to touch the Sacred Nail once hallowed by the Blood of Our Saviour. You see I behaved towards Him like a child who thinks it may do as it pleases and looks on its Father’s treasures as its own.” (~ St. Therese of Lisieux (Story of a Soul, Chapter VI: A Pilgrimage to Rome).
In Tradition and Scripture: A Way of Prayer and Devotion
In Section IV of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on Christian Prayer, pilgrimages are cited as examples for favorable places to pray. “Pilgrimages evoke our earthly journey toward heaven and are traditionally very special occasions for renewal in prayer. For pilgrims seeking living water, shrines are special places for living the forms of Christian prayer in Church.” (~ CCC 2691)
Mount Nebo, Jordan
Many Peoples Drawn to Jerusalem: Thus says the Lord of hosts: Peoples shall yet come, the inhabitants of many cities; the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, “Come, let us go to entreat the favor of the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts; I myself am going.” Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to entreat the favor of the Lord. ~ Zechariah 8:20-22 (NRSVCE)
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: An Opportunity to Encounter God
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM visit The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
“To go on pilgrimage is not simply to visit a place to admire its treasures of nature, art or history. To go on pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves in order to encounter God where he has revealed himself, where his grace has shone with particular splendour and produced rich fruits of conversion and holiness among those who believe. Above all, Christians go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to the places associated with the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection.” ~ Benedict XVI (Visit To The Cathedral Of Santiago De Compostela; Address Of The Holy Father Benedict XVI; Nov. 6, 2010).
A Priest’s Outlook: It’s Not Only for Pilgrims
Pilgrims traveling the Palm Sunday Road to the Chapel of Dominus Flevit
“Pilgrimages to the Holy Land, however, are important not just for pilgrims coming from afar. They are crucial for the survival of the Christian community in the Holy Land and for the pilgrimage sites themselves.
This point was made for all of us in an unforgettable way by our great local guide on our last day together. After expressing how moved he was to have led a group of faithful young adult Catholics about his own age, he made clear what all of the pilgrims were inferring in pieces all along the journey: that the Christian community in the Holy Land has been dramatically dwindling in recent decades to such an extent that, with the exception of Bethlehem, the only way the sanctuaries of the Lord can survive as houses of prayer is for pilgrims to come to worship there.
He appealed to all of us to spread the word and invite as many as we could to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land to support the courageous Christians that are trying to keep the Lord’s memory alive in the land of his birth and to ensure that the Holy Land doesn’t become just a Biblical museum.
It was a healthy dose of realism from a joyful Melkite Catholic about the situation in the Holy Land that believers everywhere should be aware of and be seeking to remedy”. ~ Father Roger J. Landry (The Importance Of Pilgrimages To The Holy Land; Wednesday, March 7, 2018; The Boston Pilot)
Join Franciscan Holy Land Pilgrimages (and their 800 years of unique and expert experience in the Holy Land) on an upcoming pilgrimage or organize a pilgrimage for your own group! Visit the Franciscan Holy Land Pilgrimages website to find and book your 2018 tour today! **Newly Added: September 3- 13, 2018, Pilgrimage to Italy includes stops in Rome, Assisi, Venice, and more!