“Pilgrims often journey to the ends of the earth in search of holy ground, only to find that they have never walked on anything else.” ~novelist Scott Russell Sanders
Christian Pilgrimage requires setting an intentional destination with some significance as a place of prayer to God or the saints. There are well-trodden routes to some famous such sites around the world, but there are also many places in the United States worthy of such attention. Modern Catholic Pilgrim curates pilgrimage experiences with varying scopes, which largely fall into three major categories.
In May 2020, when many houses of worship were closed and there were limitations on gathering in large groups, MCP introduced its first self-led pilgrimage project, 300 Pilgrimages for Mary, encouraging individuals or households to find a place where they felt close to Mary and make their own pilgrimage there. This successful endeavor led to self-led pilgrimages becoming a key part of MCP’s work: pilgrims (whether walking under the guise of a particular project such as May’s Pilgrims for Mary or October’s Walking with the Saints) can register their walk with MCP to receive practical and spiritual materials for before, during, and after their pilgrimage, as well as find virtual community and/or raise awareness of the simple power of pilgrimage.
We partner with parishes, young adult ministries, schools, shrines, religious orders, and dioceses to coordinate single-day pilgrimages to holy sites within their communities. One-day pilgrimages can range from 3 to 18 miles depending on your target community. Examples include a family-oriented pilgrimage for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, a walk east of the Twin Cities to the parish where Bl. Solanus Casey was confirmed for his feast day, and an annual pilgrimage for the Young Adult Ministry of San Diego. To learn more about this year’s pilgrimages, visit our 2023 pilgrimage schedule.
If you are interested in planning a pilgrimage for your organization or community, please reach out via our Contact form. We are happy to collaborate at a range of levels, from basic consultation to long-distance coordination to fully organizing, hosting, and leading the pilgrimage.
While self-led and one-day pilgrimages provide opportunities for anyone to access the spiritual benefits of pilgrimage, multi-day pilgrimages are the origin of MCP and offer the deepest experience due to both the increased duration and the ability to pair the pilgrimage experience with night(s) spent with generous hosts extending biblical hospitality. We coordinate a limited number of multi-day pilgrimages each year so that we can maintain their intimate nature and ensure the safety and proper preparation of hosts and pilgrims alike.
Walking Together Pilgrimages
While the rest of our pilgrimages are offered for a wide variety of intentions, MCP plans and hosts a series of pilgrimages specifically oriented towards racial justice and reconciliation, in partnership with communities around the United States.
The patron of the project is Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman, and its goal is three-fold: Sr. Thea's call for a "truly Catholic" solidarity to the forefront of each pilgrimage, to build community among pilgrims across the various pilgrimages that occur around the country, and to teach pilgrims about this great saint for our age while we seek her intercession each time we walk together as the beautiful, multi-cultural Church that Sister Thea knew us to be.
Due to their particular intentions, Walking Together pilgrimages are often paired with additional programming from our partner institutions. Learn more on the individual pages for upcoming pilgrimages.
National Eucharistic Pilgrimage
We at Modern Catholic Pilgrim are humbled beyond measure to be leading the planning of the first ever National Eucharistic Pilgrimage as an initiative of the 2024 National Eucharistic Congress and the wider National Eucharistic Revival.
Check out the NEP website for all the information about this monumental project!