Dimension of communion. The pilgrim who journeys to a shrine is in a communion of faith and charity not only with those who accompany him on the “sacred journey” (cf Ps 84, 6), but with the Lord himself who accompanies him as he once accompanied the disciples on the road to Emmaus (cf. Lk 24, 13-35). He travels with his own community and through that community, he journeys with the Church in heaven and on earth. He travels with all of the faithful who have prayed at that shrine down through the centuries. He appreciates the natural beauty which surrounds the shrine and which he is moved to respect. The pilgrim journeys with (humankind) whose sufferings and hopes are so clearly evident at the shrine, especially as represented through art.
As we conclude our examination of the various aspects of pilgrimage, it is natural and right we return to ponder Christ. Christ is not only the One to be sought at journey’s end, but one to recognize as we move through life. Paying attention in our journey is partly an openness to experiencing the Lord as a companion. It happened unexpectedly on the way to Emmaus, and such encounters continue for the believer who is open to them.
The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy is online at the Vatican site.