A pilgrimage is not a recreational holiday. It is an ancient Catholic tradition which serves to bring the faithful closer to God and the Church by visiting ancient sites recognized by the Church as having a great significance for our faith and an essential link with our glorious past. The public witness to our faith on these occasions is a wonderful expression of the vitality of our spiritual life and a great encouragement to others. The penitential aspect is also very salutary for the well-being of our own soul.
The Holy Mass is offered outside or in splendid churches, in ruined abbeys, in places steeped in Christian tradition. These churches and locations in which we pray are an eloquent testimony to the architectural heritage which is the glory of the Christian Church down through the centuries, whether in the Europe of the Gothic cathedral or the inspiring churches of the New World.
A pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela or the Holy Land or even to a local Marian shrine is an expression of our faith and a deepening of our Christian piety. Pilgrimages are an enrichment of our Catholic life where the temporal and the spiritual happily come together much as in medieval times. They purify our souls and lead us to a closer and more perfect union with Christ and His Blessed Mother, whom we honor with the frequent recitation of the Holy Rosary as requested at Fatima.
This ancient practice of going on pilgrimage is so much part of our Catholic heritage that wherever and whenever possible the Society seeks to promote and encourage it in a lively spirit of devotion to God, the Blessed Virgin, and the Saints.