Your Catholic parish should go on a pilgrimage – here are 3 reasons why!
1— Grow in Community
Growing in friendship and community with those in your parish is one of the most rewarding aspects of a group pilgrimage. On pilgrimage, you have the opportunity to deepen your relationship with God while also deepening your relationship with like-minded individuals. A parish pilgrimage is not like forming bonds in your local pickup basketball games, or at your children’s school events, although those also have value too. While on pilgrimage, parishioners have the chance to swap stories, pray together, and come together in fellowship. As you journey together through holy and sacred sites, you will grow together in these shared spiritual experiences and build friendships around the most important thing in our lives – faith in Jesus Christ. Having parish members on pilgrimage with you to learn from and develop with is an invaluable benefit to the pilgrim journey. The bonds formed with the people of your parish will unite you in a very special way long into the future.
2— Explore Your Parish Roots
The name of your parish holds special meaning for the parish culture and community; it is something to be explored and discovered. You and your fellow parishioners can rejoice in connecting yourselves to real life Saints who inspired the creation of your church. Assisi, Italy is the birthplace of St. Francis, one of the most venerated saints, and one of two patron saints of Italy. If you belong to a Franciscan parish as I do, a pilgrimage to Assisi would be a particularly special journey back to the roots of your parish. The grand Basilica of St. Francis celebrates the monumental influence St. Francis had on Assisi and houses the tomb of St. Francis. The Assisi Cathedral transports you back to the baptism of St. Francis. The connection your parish can make with Assisi is entirely unique, and can reorient your parishioners around a common person, ideal, or understanding. A personal witness and experience at holy sites connected to your parish can be an enlightening event that brings your parishes’ identity to the surface of your parishioners’ hearts and minds.
3— Refuel Your Faith
Your pilgrimage experience does not end on the drive back to the airport. Your pilgrimage will lead to a renewed spiritual focus that you can bring back to strengthen your parish. At Verso, we believe in the continued journey of pilgrimage once you return home; we believe your encounters with Christ while on your pilgrimage journey will help you find what God is calling you toward and dedicate yourself to his path. This renewed sense of purpose and understanding will fuel the worship and prayers in your home, parish, and community.
Want to learn more about taking your group on a pilgrimage? Feel free to contact us to hear from a Verso Ministries team member!
Blog contributed by Verso Ministries intern, Josephine Diaco.