Pilgrimage sites

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Can you recommend your favorite pilgrimage sites, either home or abroad (understanding that what is home for you might be abroad for me)?

What was the highlight of the pilgrimage for you? If it changed you, in what way did it change you?
I’d LOVE to go to the Church of the Holy Sepulchure as well as,

Lourdes, Medugorje, Betania
Several years ago our parish sponsored a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about going, except I thought that everyone should go “someday,” and the price was reasonable, and I was able to get the time off at work, and I thought it would be better to go with people I knew, so I signed up.

It was am amazing trip, very inspirational, to be able to read the Holy Scripture in the places it pertained to. We visited Bethlehem, Nazareth, Capernaum and Jerusalem. It’s one thing to read about the birth of Our Lord, but another thing entirely to be at the spot. Or to see the hill that was Golgotha, within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

At the time (8 years ago) it was quite safe, and we were treated well by everyone we met. I don’t think it’s quite as safe these days.

I visited the shrine at Fatima, and it was a nice experience, but I just wasn’t as moved. But that was before the Third Secret was revealed, so perhaps I’d have a different reaction today.

The most popular Marian shrine in the world is comparatively close to Colorado, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. I haven’t been there, but it’s among my goals in life.
Three years ago I made a pilgrimage to the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela in Spain, and had to good fortune to be there on July 25, the feast of St. James. I was able to venerate his relics and to see the bottafumiero (world’s largest incense burner) in action during mass. It was an absolutely incredible experience!
So far I have had the privelege of being able to visit two pilgrimage sites.  Knock, Ireland, the site of a Marian apparition was very moving because of an incident that happened there that was intended just for me.  (Sorry, it is a personal thing I don't feel comfortable sharing, and it most likely wouldn't mean anything to anyone else anyhow.)  It is a beautiful spot, and very peaceful to the soul, knowing Our Lady was there.

But my husband and I were blown away with our pilgrimage to the Vatican!  We had a week to spend in Rome, and intended to spend 2-3 days at the Vatican, and then "do" the ancient sites in Rome.  Well, St. Peter's just drew us in....every time we would start out the day going to go see this site or that, we wound up walking to St. Peter's.
The Churches in Rome are so… so…I guess for lack of a better word, inspirational to this Okie!
The day we took the Scavi tour, I left at the end just sobbing, knowing that our Church is literally, physically built upon Peter. What an awesome God we have who gives us such riches of faith!
Needless to say, we hope to someday be able to go back to Rome to see some of that other stuff!

I hope someday to be able to go to the Holy Land, and to Fatima and to Lourdes and to Guadalupe, but I do want to stress that I don’t believe visiting any of these places is necessary for a strong faith life. Not many people are fortunate enough to be able to make these pilgrimages, and for those of us who can, I think it important to pray for those who wish to be there, that they receive any graces that may come from the pilgrimage.:twocents:
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