Proclaim your faith with a pilgrimage – Feb 24

Time to know and live our faith – Jan 13
December 18, 2014
The return of St Joseph Day celebrations – Mar 17
December 18, 2014

Proclaim your faith with a pilgrimage – Feb 24

Proclaim your faith with a pilgrimage – Feb 24 PDF Print E-mail

Revitalising Catholic Culture and IdentityBy Vernon Khelawan

Pilgrimages have always been part of our Catholic culture in Trinidad and Tobago. And with the start of the penitential season of Lent, it is expected that there will be an increase in pilgrimages.

Decades ago, when there was a railway system operating in T&T, pilgrims opted to use the train. Many of these pilgrimages were made to churches in parishes at the end of the train line, like Rio Claro, Siparia, San Fernando and Sangre Grande. With the closure of the railway system, pilgrims turned to buses and maxi-taxis.

While the pilgrimages in those days were confined to local destinations, today there are pilgrimages to many foreign lands – Rome, the Holy Land, Spain, France and even neighbouring Venezuela, places which are of some spiritual significance to Catholics or where there are shrines, churches and other places dedicated to saints and other holy people.

Pilgrimages speak volumes for the Catholic faith, its traditions, its identity and its culture and send powerful messages in relation to the depth and strength of the faith. As we approach the half-way mark in this Year of Faith as proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI, it is incumbent on Catholics to make that extra effort to proclaim our faith in every way possible – and participation in pilgrimages is one of the most overt ways of proclaiming our faith.

Lent is also the time when Catholics try to refresh their spiritual lives through fasting and abstinence – including from one’s favourite food, drink or recreation – or by being more prayerful through frequent attendance at Mass and special Lenten services, participation in the Stations of the Cross and more family prayer.

These Lenten resolutions, observed for the six-week period, can provide spiritual upliftment for individuals and their families, and go a long way in profiling in a positive way Catholic culture and identity and ensuring that the Year of Faith is very rewarding for the People of God.