What is the Difference Between a Pilgrimage and a Vacation?
As our Youth Group continues in its fundraising efforts to support their 2016 pilgrimage to the Church of England, the question has arisen about what will differentiate this trip from a vacation. This is a valid question, and we are quite clear in our intention to have this be an experience that enriches our understanding of the roots of the Anglican Church, and deepens faith and spirituality on the heels of the conclusion of Confirmation. (By the way, mark your calendars and plan to be present as we support Elora, Hannah, Lindsey and Sam in the celebration of this holy sacrament on November 29th when Bishop Lee will be present!)
In exploring the best way to articulate the differentiation between a trip and a pilgrimage, I turned to the internet...not always the place to find accurate information but, in this case, extremely helpful. This said, I will share a quote from a website which specifically addressed this question:
“It is good to make the contrast between a pilgrim and a tourist. The word 'tourist' comes from the French tour meaning tower; it suggests viewing things from a safe distance, detached, uninvolved. The word for pilgrim comes from the Latin per agri, meaning 'through the fields' - suggesting engagement, perhaps even going out of one's comfort zone. This is the prerequisite of would-be pilgrims. Pilgrims should be alerted in advance to the call to be inspired, disturbed, surprised. Everywhere...there is the juxtaposition between the holy and unholy; there is little leisure to escape into one's private world of devotion, nor should there be, if this denies the message of the Incarnation and our belief in a dusty God!”
While we will naturally have some fun activities, the primary purpose of our pilgrimage is to explore the history of the Anglican Church, to visit and participate in worship and prayer in places such as the Canterbury Cathedral as well as other churches and abbeys, and to bring what we discuss in our Episcopal teachings to life. We will also plan opportunities to volunteer our time to support local outreach efforts. At present, we are working with a local travel agency to identify and route the specific places of highest priority, to explore lodging and travel options, and to clarify a budget. Other parishes within the Diocese of Chicago are also being consulted, as several have also previously embarked upon parish pilgrimages to England.
This pilgrimage is open to anyone who wishes to go! We plan to travel for 7-9 days in early-mid June. In order to proceed with planning, we must know who plans to join us by September 30. Please advise Amy Gustafson of your intentions either in person or by e-mail at [email protected], and feel free to make suggestions regarding destinations/experiences which call to you, or to ask any questions you may have. Even if you do not plan to join us, please share any information you believe would be helpful in our planning process.
As always, thank you for your support of our Youth Group, not only in the form of financial assistance, but also for your prayers, interest in the lives of our children and youth, and for your commitment to early spiritual development - the foundation to lifelong Christian formation.
Tags: Youth Group / Urban and Social Outreach