"The world is a book. Those who do not travel read only one page!" - St. Augustine (354-430)
The call of Baptism into Christ and the Church challenges us to be in communion for mission. Faith Journeys is proud to be your partner in bringing the call of Christ and the Church to life today! Nurturing vibrant parish life is a great blessing and tremendous challenge for pastors, deacons, and parish staff. The Faith Journeys team believes that pilgrimage travel is an important pillar of lifelong faith formation. Our staff is fully committed to supporting your vision for parish renewal and deeper life in Christ.
We design every Catholic pilgrimage with four goals in mind:
- To deepen personal faith,
- To foster lifelong faith formation,
- To develop stewardship through mission education, and
- To create an experience that is fun, carefree, and cost-effective!
At Faith Journeys, we believe with all our hearts that "God is in the details!" So leave the planning and preparation to us. Faith is a Journey...Let's go TOGETHER!
The idea of a pilgrimage
The Second Vatican Council says that each Christian is a "pilgrim, in a strange land, tracing ... the paths Jesus trod."
Pilgrims are sojourners -- travelers on a quest of faith. Each of us is invited to a path of renewal and redemption, following after Jesus Christ. This is the path of the pilgrim.
Pilgrimages have been an important part of Christian history and culture. Beginning in the fourth century, Christians in the Roman Empire journeyed to the Holy Land to experience the places where Jesus Christ was born, ministered, died and was resurrected. St. Jerome, the great Father and Doctor of the Church, encouraged all Christians to journey on pilgrimages. He believed that a journey of faith was the key to growth in holiness. In 386, St. Jerome wrote that a Christian "no sooner makes progress in religion than when he leaves the setting sun in quest of a spot of which he knows only through Scripture."
Pilgrimages are also an important part of Christian literature. Christian authors, all the way back to the early Church, have depicted the pilgrimage as a metaphor for the Christian life. This is done most masterfully by Dante, whose "Divine Comedy" follows a pilgrim narrator on a spiritual journey which runs through hell itself, through purgatory and to completion in paradise in unity with the Holy Trinity.
If you've never read "The Divine Comedy," you should pick it up sometime. The texts are rich with poetic images and they outline for us the ugliness of sin, the challenges of the Christian life and the beauty of God's love.
"The Divine Comedy" also demonstrates what it means to make a pilgrimage. Dante's journey is undertaken with a guide, it involves great personal sacrifice and a spirit of humility. It reveals to him the love of God. Literally, Dante journeys from the darkness of sin to the light of Jesus Christ. This is the essence of a Christian pilgrimage.
Christians make pilgrimages to pray, to offer penance, and to be renewed in the Christian life. A journey to a holy place reminds us of our life's journey to eternity in heaven. A pilgrimage can be a sort of microcosm of our whole life.
I have been blessed to make many pilgrimages in my Catholic life. I have walked an ancient pilgrims' path in Spain. I have prayed in Lourdes, where our Blessed Mother appeared. I have walked in the Holy Land, in the footsteps of Jesus.
Pilgrimages are journeys of prayer to a holy site. They are not always easy or convenient. But they surprise us with the goodness of God.
Most Rev. James D. Conley
Reprinted with permission of the Denver Catholic Register