Rite of passage: Kelsey Wooten
The Hutchinson Encyclopaedia definition of a pilgrimage is as follows: "Pilgrimage - a journey to a sacred place or shrine inspired by religious devotion" it then goes on to mention few places of pilgrimage, for example that Hindus go to the sacred river Ganges and that Muslims go to the shrine at Mecca. However, it fails to mention Christian places of pilgrimage. People forget that as Christians, pilgrimage can play a major role in a person's life. Pilgrims of Christianity go on pilgrimages to help them to feel closer to God. They visit special sites of religious importance, for example many people travel to Lourdes as a symbol of their faith.
Another place of pilgrimage for Christians is Rome, which encloses the Vatican City, the capital of the Roman Catholic Church. On Easter Sunday, the pope makes a speech to a huge gathering of pilgrims from around the world in St. Peters Square outside the Cathedral of Saint Peter.
Although the pope is the head of the Roman Catholic faith, not all the people who go to see him are Roman Catholics, or even Christians. This speech at Easter has become something of a tourist attraction for everyone, and so is visiting the holy sites around Rome. Although sightseeing does not seem very holy, it is still a pilgrimage for those who want it to be as they are making an effort for their religion and getting closer to God in the process.
A successful pilgrimage is when somebody makes an effort and changes their life in order to try to get closer to God, and when they return home that person has changed for the better, be it mentally or physically. The pilgrim does not have to suffer for their faith, as some fundamentalists believe, just show that they are willing to try and change to become closer to God. To show God, and themselves, that they are devoted to their religion is a pilgrim's main objective.
Even though, I am a Christian and...
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