In order to have a better idea of the meaning of pilgrimages, it is necessary to disprove the myths about it.

Myth 1. Pilgrimages are only for those ‘who believe the most’

Some believe that pilgrimages are exclusively a spiritual practice for the ‘very pious’. However, it is often the other way around. It is for simple believers who strengthen their relationship with God and develop spiritually during pilgrimages.
All you need for the pilgrimage is to be open to God's action in your life and to be ready for the journey.

Myth 2. Pilgrimages are boring.

Perhaps, you imagine the pilgrimage as something quite rigorous, and therefore oppressive and boring. But the experience of our organization shows that pilgrimage is a journey, just as life itself. Sometimes it is fun, sometimes serious, but always full of meaning and love.
In addition to spiritual enrichment, this spiritual journey always brings pilgrims unforgettable impressions and a chance to make new friends.

Myth 3. Pilgrimage is only about the Holy Land.

The Holy Land is certainly one of the most important places of pilgrimage, but it is far from being the only one! Among other destinations of the spiritual journey are Rome, Vatican, Medjugorje, Lourdes, Fatima, La Salette and many others. Nowadays, there are over three thousand destinations for Catholics who would like to go on a spiritual journey.

Myth 4. Pilgrimage is just a simple trip.

It is completely wrong to see a pilgrimage as an ordinary trip or tour. Although, it does involve visiting new places, the main thing is completely different. A real spiritual journey only takes place when we go deep into our soul, discover ourselves and open ourselves to meeting God.

So, what is a pilgrimage exactly?

In a nutshell, pilgrimage is a spiritual journey.

It can be to a holy place, to nature, or somewhere close to home. The main difference between pilgrimage and a simple trip is experiencing a unique way of communicating with God. Anyone can go on a pilgrimage at any time, but always with a spiritual purpose. It is equally important that you change your way of life and thinking during this journey.

It is important to understand

Pilgrimage is much more than a tour around cathedrals and Christian places. It should be a purposeful encounter with the history of God’s action in the world. Therefore, the pilgrimage is complete only if there is prayer, reception of the Holy Sacraments and reflection on the meaning of the destination. Thanks to this, you will experience the pilgrimage with heart, mind and soul.

Pope Benedict XVI gave the following definition of pilgrimage:

To go on a pilgrimage is not just to visit a place to admire its treasures of nature, art or history. To go on a pilgrimage really means to leave oneself to meet God where he has revealed himself, where his grace has shone with special fullness and brought rich fruits of conversion and holiness among those who believe.

First of all, Christians go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to places associated with the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection. They go to Rome, the city where Peter and Paul were tormented. Also, they go to Compostela, a city that is connected to the memory of St. James, receives pilgrims from all over the world who wish to strengthen their spirit with the apostolic testimony of faith and love.

Pope Benedict XVI in a speech delivered at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in 2010,

To sum it all up, here are some points that prove why a pilgrimage is so important.

It gives a unique experience of meeting God
It reveals the beauty of the world created by God and the Lord's action in the world through the talents of people
It gives an opportunity to rethink your life and change
It introduces you to other believers and expands the spiritual kaleidoscope

Would you like to check if that’s true? Go on a spiritual journey together with the Patriarchal Pilgrimage Center!

Current pilgrimages