Friday, August 26, 2011


March 25-27, 2011
Ilocos Sur-Norte

As part of the continued efforts of the Cofradia to further strengthen the devotion to the Virgen de la Soledad, the group brought its official replica to various churches in the Ilocos region for their annual pilgrimage during the season of Lent. More than 90 members and their affiliates took part in this memorable activity.


In a nutshell, a pilgrimage is a journey inward as well as outward. Pilgrims seek to strengthen and renew their faith through travel.

Our working definition of pilgrimage is a transformative journey to a sacred center. That’s what makes being a pilgrim different from being a tourist. For a tourist, travel is an end in itself. For a pilgrim, travel is a means to an end. Pilgrims travel with a clear intention, to draw closer to God. They make their journey with a heightened expectation.

Pilgrimage is sacred travel, travel as a sacrament. You may know the definition of a sacrament: “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.” Our travel to historical and scenic sites is the outward part, our drawing closer to God is the inward part.

And thus we expect to return transformed or changed or converted from the person we were when we began our journey. We will not return the same as we were when we left. Pilgrims return from their journey with a “boon,” something good that will enrich their lives in the everyday world back at home. We’ll experience life differently upon returning.

The Church sees many Christian values in pilgrimage. In the Holy Father’s proposal… pilgrimage becomes a sign of the demanding journey which each of Christ’s followers is called to undertake in order to attain conversion. It is an opportunity to consider once more in the silence of our hearts the path of history; to recall that we are indeed going towards the Lord "not by our footsteps but by our love, and God will be all the closer to our hearts the purer is the love drawing us towards him [...]. Not by our feet, then, but by the goodness of our lives can we go towards him, who is everywhere present";5 and to realize anew that every man and woman, made in God’s image, is walking with us towards a single destiny: the Kingdom.

Prayer is the central moment in which to listen to God and fill the "void" created in us by the purification of fasting and the silence of pilgrimage. The heart of each one of us in fact must be the starting-point for the building of peace: it is through the heart that God acts and judges, heals and saves. We must not forget: there can be no possibility of peace without prayer, in which we learn that "peace goes far beyond human efforts, especially in the present plight of the world, and therefore its source and realization is to be sought in that Reality which is beyond all of us".

No comments: