World Youth Day USA Guides International Pilgrimage Leaders Guide - Page 25

First and foremost, it is vital that participants the main character makes a trip to Europe to understand that World Youth Day is a identify the body of his son who died making pilgrimage, not a vacation or field trip. the pilgrimage; initially skeptical of such a Pilgrimages are joyful and challenging journeys. dangerous spiritual experience, the father Many of your participants have probably been decides to continue the journey to honor his on several vacations throughout their lives. son – and soon finds his own faith illuminated It can be tempting to approach World Youth along the path and in the company of new Day as one vacation or adventure among many. friends. He is transformed. The pilgrim journey is so much more. In Europe and in the Middle East especially, On a vacation, the goal is rest. pilgrimage has a very long tradition. People go On an excursion, the goal is adventure. to the Holy Land to visit the Church of the On a pilgrimage, the goal is transformation. Nativity in Bethlehem, the Church on Mount Tabor in Galilee, and the Church of the Holy People in the United States are often Sepulcher in Jerusalem, among many other introduced to the idea of “pilgrimage” in high important sites. Pilgrims go to Italy to pray at school through literature classes when they read the tombs of St. Peter, St. Paul, and great Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a fictional martyrs in Rome, or to the Basilica of St. collection of stories shared by people on Francis of Assisi in Umbria. Pilgrims travel to pilgrimage together. The idea of pilgrimage, France to visit the Grotto at Our Lady of then, might be seen as something old, archaic, Lourdes, to Portugal to visit the Chapel of the even outdated – especially in an era when Apparitions in Fatima, and to Poland to visit young people can find their destinations online the Jasna Gorna Monastery to see the Black without ever having to physically go anywhere Madonna of Czestochowa. Europe and the or consult a map. A more modern tale of a Middle East are filled with countless sites that pilgrimage can be found in the 2010 date back to the origins of Christianity. In the independent film, The Way, about one man’s United States, however, there are not as many journey from the mountains of France across pilgrimage sites primarily because, in terms of northern Spain along the Camino de Santiago world history, America is a relatively new to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela country and its religious history is still being where pilgrims have traveled to venerate the written. Many Catholics in the United States tomb of St. James the Apostle. In this movie, have grown up without a significant experience 23