Chapter Eight (DPPL 261-287) covers special places believers go to deepen their faith, and the journey they make to get them there. Let’s read about these locations where liturgy and popular piety intermix:
261. The relationship between the Liturgy and popular piety is probably most evident at shrines. These are often dedicated to the Holy Trinity, to Christ our Savior, to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to the Saints or Beati. “At shrines more abundant means of salvation are to be provided for the faithful; the word of God is to be carefully proclaimed; liturgical life is to be appropriately fostered especially through the celebration of the Eucharist and penance; and approved forms of popular piety are to be fostered” (canon law 1234.1).
Shrines are not just museums, tourist destinations, or places for commerce. People do, alas, treat them as such.
Pilgrimage is closely connected with shrines, and itself an expression of popular piety.
Pilgrimages are also about developing the faith within the religious travelers.
Even though weakened by the effects of secularism, interest in shrines and pilgrimage remains high among the faithful.
Pilgrimages remain popular for secular reasons and at secular sites. Consider the American religion of big-time sport, and how many aspects of ritual and community are involved with college athletics and professional sports. Americans know pilgrimage quite well, even if our practices are not always Christian.
In view of the object of this Directory, it would seem appropriate to offer some guidelines for the pastoral activities of shrines, and for pilgrimages so that they may be conducted in accordance with a correct understanding of the relationship between Liturgy and popular piety.
And so for the next month, we’ll complete our examination of the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy by looking at locations for liturgy and piety and the trips we take to get us there.