This month, the Holy See gave the okay.
The Cathedral of Saint Paul, Minnesota, is now a national shrine: the first one in Minnesota. The building is already a tourist stop. This designation makes it a destination for pilgrimages, too.
"...According to canon (church) law, 'The term shrine signifies a church or other sacred place to which the faithful make pilgrimages for a particular pious reason with the approval of the local ordinary (bishop).'..."There is a 'tourism' aspect to pilgrimages. I find it hard to imagine someone not experiencing the world around them as they travel to and from a shrine or other holy place.
"...Over the decades, the Cathedral developed as a catechism in stone and glass by evangelizing through its grandeur and beauty...." (Cathedral of Saint Paul)
A pilgrimage is a "pilgrim's journey:" "a journey to a sacred place." WordNet) But pilgrimages are not simply sightseeing trips with a spiritual spin.
For starters, pilgrimage may be a sign of penance (1438), or the fulfilment of a promise (2101). Which is fine, but they supplement the liturgical life of the church. They're not a substitute. (Catechism of the Catholic Church (1674, 1675)
"...Pilgrimages evoke our earthly journey toward heaven and are traditionally very special occasions for renewal in prayer. For pilgrims seeking living water, shrines are special places for living the forms of Christian prayer 'in Church.' " (2691)In a sense, all of life is a pilgrimage in which each of us decides on our final destiny. (1013)
A National Shrine: Just Down the Road!It's just over a hundred miles to Minnesota's Twin Cities, which is not all that far away. I don't know when it will be possible to go to the Cathedral of Saint Paul again, but I'm looking forward to it.
My guess is that quite a few more people will get there first. At this point, according to the Catholic News Service, over 200,000 people go to the Cathedral of Saint Paul each year for one reason or another. Now, "...the cathedral staff expects that number to increase as a result of the designation." (Catholic News Agency)
When I do go, it will most likely be with part of my family: and it most likely won't be a formal pilgrimage. I recognize that pilgrimages are important for some people, but I feel like I've got my hands full with the pilgrimage of my life, without adding 'side trips.'
- "Going on Vacation? Take God Along"
(June 6, 2009)
- "Not All Catholics are Like Me - Thank God"
(March 18, 2009)
- "Happy Lent?! What Kind of a Nut am I?"
(March 3, 2009)
- "Minnesota’s Cathedral of St. Paul designated national shrine by the Vatican"
Catholic News Agency (June 16, 2009)
- "Vatican Designates Cathedral of Saint Paul as National Shrine"
The Cathedral of Saint Paul
- "Archconfraternity of the Apostle Paul"
The Cathedral of Saint Paul