Once every four years Catholic Youth go on Pilgrimage to World Youth Day.
Thousands and thousands of young people gather to love, sing, worship, dance and pray. Why do they? Has your school taken student groups on tour across the world for some reason?
A pilgrimage is different from a language student tour or a sport tour.
Pilgrimage is not the same thing as tourism. Pilgrims are seekers who expect to meet with some kind of inspiration. They wish to become balanced and to return to harmony with the natural world, for at least a time.
Although a pilgrimage is regarded as a spiritual adventure and is more often than not a pleasant experience, the primary reason people go on pilgrimages is religious, such as the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.
This kind of journey is regarded as a way to return to the roots of tradition, or in the case of Catholic Youth pilgrimages, to join up with other people of the same faith to be blessed by the current figurehead of the church.
Many pilgrims seek clarity and equanimity and therefore they often learn methods of meditation and soul-searching, and walk labyrinths and perform other related rituals.
A pilgrimage may, but does not need to be a difficult journey. They are often to a usually distant and sacred place, and so it is the effort required to make the journey that signifies adherence and a movement towards a particular way of being. Because these are religious excursions, the aim is always to experience the presence of God, or so that the pilgrim can be brought closer to God so that he or she partake in appropriate tradition.
Some common pilgrimage destinations are St. Albans Abbey and the Kaaba in Mecca. Pilgrimages usually involve a lot of walking. However, when pilgrims go to buildings, museums and places and spaces of worship it is for religious reasons and not to be regarded as just pleasurable sightseeing or tourism. When you encounter pilgrims on you be aware that the places you encounter them might have religious significance and just be careful to give them space. Respect their need for quiet, or for the practice of other cultural traditions and if they cause you to become curious – read up on what they might be doing!
At Educational Tours Abroad we’re experts at organising all sorts of group tours, so if you have any questions at all we’re here to help. Give us a call on 02 9281 2741 or complete the form below.