By Sean Ryan - 29 July, 2016
“A pilgrim and a tourist may follow the same itinerary, but the pilgrim is on a sacred journey in which God is encountered through people, places and situations,” Bishop Denis Nulty of Kildare and Leighlin has said.
He was delivering a reflection on 28 July to Irish pilgrims gathered in the Polish city of Krakow for World Youth Day 2016.
The young pilgrims were being hosted by the parish of Kazimierz, which is also an English language catechesis venue.
During the past year, many young Irish people have been meeting locally and preparing for their pilgrimage.
Yesterday’s gathering was an opportunity for young pilgrims to meet their fellow Irish pilgrims from throughout Ireland, beyond their own diocese.
Speaking about the gathering in Krakow, Bishop Nulty said, “We have come this time as pilgrims not as tourists. A pilgrim and a tourist may follow the same itinerary, but the pilgrim is on a sacred journey in which God is encountered through people, places and situations.”
“The tourist sees sights, discovers new places, learns interesting facts, takes photographs, sends postcards and collects souvenirs; the tourist returns home the same person.”
“The pilgrim gains insights and discerns new truths about themselves, who they are in the world, where they fit into God’s plan.”
“The pilgrim travels with the expectation that the one who returns will not be the same person as the one who set out.”
Speaking about the preparations for World Youth Day he said, “In all our dioceses and movements, we have taken part in a programme of preparation, it was setting our mindsets right. It was preparing us for this experience, the experience of World Youth Day.”
Concluding he said, “Tourists pass through places, they seek out the ‘old town’; pilgrims pass through places, seeking out the new kingdom of mercy, love and peace. May we find that as we travel our journey accompanying Pope Francis over the next number of days’’.