A pilgrimage is when people travel to a place of worship that is usually far away. They may have to go to a different city or country. Usually a pilgrimage is done for spiritual or religious reasons. The purpose of Christian pilgrimage was summarized by Pope Benedict XVI this way:
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. They go to Rome, the city of the martyrdom of Peter and Paul, and also to Compostela, which, associated with the memory of Saint James, has welcomed pilgrims from throughout the world who desire to strengthen their spirit with the Apostle’s witness of faith and love.
There are also non-religious pilgrimages; they include for example:
- seeing the Mausoleum of Vladimir Lenin on the Red Square in Moscow, or
- visiting the birthplace of Elvis Presley.
Pilgrims on St. James way to Santiago de Compostela