World Youth Day USA Guides Stateside Pilgrimage Leaders Guide - Page 8

Putting Pilgrimage in Context possible. In every city or village who has an When pilgrims go on pilgrimage, where are Olympian going to compete, everyone there is they coming from? What is going on in that invested and glued to the television, radio, or place? What are the blessings and burdens of news reports during the international that community from which they came? competition, wherever that might be. These are not the questions that are usually asked. The main question usually is, “Where The story of the pilgrim without the context are they [the pilgrims] going?” The stories so of the community is incomplete. A million often told about a pilgrim are the stories of people gather for World Youth Day carrying the pilgrim's journey to someplace. But any flags of their countries—the communities good storyteller will remind her audience, from which they came. A full pilgrimage “That is not the full story.” encompasses not just getting from point A to point B. Pilgrims come from a community, All stories start from some place, and that place and journey as a community, to encounter the has an impact. The story is not over until the Lord, so that they can return transformed to hero returns home, back to his or her the community from which they came and community. What can tend to be overlooked transform that community. is that community. The pilgrim does not exist in isolation but is surrounded by an abundance A pilgrim is only a pilgrim when put of relationships rooted in the community in context of the community. from which he or she comes. Our modern culture often gets lost in the role The Olympics clearly demonstrate to us the of the individual. However, deep within the role of community. Much of the media Judeo-Christian tradition is a notion called coverage surrounding the Olympics is the corporate identity. The Jewish people, like many stories of the athletes and their relationships ancient people, saw the world through the and experiences back home. We hear the lens of the community first, not the stories of the high school coach who never individual; what happened to one, happened got rich, but always inspired others to do their to all. The Jewish people held three annual best, or maybe the sweetheart back home who feasts in Jerusalem. These feasts were also is under hardship or the parents who pilgrimages, as the Hebrew word “hag” is sacrificed everything to make this moment translated both as feast and pilgrimage. In 6