For of years people have been traveling on local and destination pilgrimages and from this we have seen hundreds of shrines emerge.
So, why should I care? What is in it for me? I go to Mass and live the Catholic Life, what else could a shrine have to offer?
A Shrine is officially defined as a holy or sacred place, which is dedicated to a specific martyr, saint, Our Blessed Mother, or similar figure of awe and respect, at which they are venerated. A Shrine gives us another place to truly learn about our God, Our Blessed Mother, and many of the saints, each one honoring and focusing on a story, a history and giving us better understanding our faith.
Those who come to the Miraculous Medal Shrine in Philadelphia tell us that their visit is both a spiritual and physical journey. Coming physically to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal’s altar, just as she told St. Catherine that we are to “Come to the altar and pray and great graces will be shed upon you,” brings a great sense of peace, reflection and even accomplishment.
Fr. Michael Shea, CM, Assistant Director of the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal, tells us that “The Irish call a place that you feel closer to God ‘A Thin Place’. This refers to the veil between us and heaven feeling thinner, allowing a stronger feeling of God’s Love and graces wrap around you like a blanket of reassurance.” This is a wonderful description of a shrine, where you can come, pray, lay your burdens down, and feel wrapped in God’s Love through Mary’s or another saint’s intercession on your behalf.
Shrines are a place of learning, love, and refuge from our hectic and sometimes spiritually deprived lives. Shrines are often associated with intercessory prayers for healing of various ailments or other troubles. They also bring Catholics together in community of prayer and their faith.
Why are pilgrimages important?
By definition, a pilgrimage is a journey or search of great moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person’s beliefs and faith. Many religions attach spiritual importance to particular places: the place of birth or death of founders or saints; the place of their “calling” or spiritual awakening; place where they believe miracles were performed or witnessed; or locations where a deity is said to live or be “housed”.
Taking time for your spiritual well-being and/or physical healing is an important part of our journey here on earth as Catholics. Through a pilgrimage, we can find solace in the planning, traveling and visiting of shrines themselves. When a pilgrim comes to the Miraculous Medal Shrine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or back from a pilgrimage from another shrine they seem to be filled with the Holy Spirit and excited to share about their wonderful experience.
The 100+ shrines in the United States, and hundreds all over the world, are gifts of our Faith given and waiting to be received. They are God’s gifts waiting to help us find more of Heaven’s great graces through understanding and prayer.
From Catholic Exchange
Why the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe?
Watch an 8-minute video about the miracles of St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe:
To take a virtual tour of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse: