Blessing of Pilgrims
590 Whether in a traditional or a modern form, a pilgrimage to a holy place, to the tomb of a saint, or to a shrine should be regarded as having pastoral value. Pilgrimages are occasions for conversion, spiritual growth, and the advance of the apostolate.
591 The proper, that is, spiritual, character of the Christian pilgrimage must be carefully explained and inculcated ahead of time, so that the pilgrims will truly be "traveling heralds of Christ" (see endnote 24) and will experience fully the good effects of their pilgrimage.
592 For such pastoral purposes it will often be useful to arrange a special celebration for the blessing of the pilgrims at their departure or on their return.
593 When, instead, the celebration of Mass, the liturgy of the hours, or some other liturgical service is preferred as the beginning or end of a pilgrimage, the celebration may be concluded with a blessing of the pilgrims taken from the orders in this chapter.
594 The present order may be used by a priest or deacon. While maintaining the structure and chief elements of the rite, the celebrant should adapt the celebration to the circumstances of the place and the people involved.
Endnote: 24. Vatican Council II, Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity Apostolicam actuositatem, no. 14.
I. ORDER FOR THE BLESSING OF PILGRIMS ON THEIR DEPARTURE
595 When the group of pilgrims has gathered, Psalm 122 or some other suitable song may be sung. After the singing, the celebrant says: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
All make the sign of the cross and reply: Amen.
596 The celebrant greets those present in the following or other suitable words, taken mainly from sacred Scripture. May God, our strength and salvation, be with you all.
All make the following or some other suitable reply. And also with you.
597 In the following or similar words, the celebrant prepares those present for the blessing. Brothers and sisters, as we set out, we should remind ourselves of the reasons for our resolve to go on this holy pilgrimage. The place we intend to visit is a monument to the devotion of the people of God. They have gone there in great numbers to be strengthened in the Christian way of life and to become more determined to devote themselves to the works of charity. We must also try to bring something to the faithful who live there: our example of faith, hope, and love. In this way both they and we will be enriched by the help we give each other.
READING OF THE WORD OF GOD
598 A reader, another person present, or the celebrant reads a text of sacred Scripture. Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians:
5:6-10 We are away from the Lord. So we are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we. walk by faith, not by sight. Yet we are courageous, and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord. Therefore, we aspire to please him, whether we are at home or away. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.
599 Or: Isaiah 2:2-5--Let us walk in the light of the Lord. Luke 2:41-51--They went up to Jerusalem for the celebration as was their custom. Luke 24:13-35--Jesus approached and began to walk along with them. Hebrews 10:19-25--Let us draw near in utter sincerity and absolute confidence. 1 Peter 2:4-12--As strangers and in exile.
600 As circumstances suggest, one of the following responsorial psalms may be sung or said, or some other suitable song.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Psalm 24 The LORD's are the earth and its fullness; the world and those who dwell in it. For he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. R.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD or who may stand in his holy place? He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain. R.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD, a reward from God his savior. Such is the race that seeks for him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob. R.
Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14 R. (see v. 4) One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
601 As circumstances suggest, the celebrant may give those present a brief explanation of the biblical text, so that they may understand through faith the meaning of the celebration.
602 The intercessions are then said. The celebrant introduces them and an assisting minister or one of those present announces the intentions. From the following intentions those best suited to the occasion may be used or adapted, or other intentions that apply to the particular circumstances may be composed.
The celebrant says: God is the beginning and the end of life's pilgrimage. Let us call on him with confidence, saying:
R. Lord, be the companion of our journey.
Or: R. Lord, hear our prayer.
Assisting minister: Father all-holy, of old you made yourself the guide and the way for your people as they wandered in the desert; be our protection as we begin this journey, so that we may return home again in safety. (For this we pray:) R.
Assisting minister: You have given us your only Son to be our way to you; make us follow him faithfully and unswervingly. (For this we pray:) R.
Assisting minister: You gave us Mary as the image and model for following Christ; grant that through her example we may live a new life. (For this we pray:) R.
Assisting minister: You guide your pilgrim Church on earth through the Holy Spirit; may we seek you in all things and walk always in the way of your commandments. (For this we pray:) R.
Assisting minister: You lead us along right and peaceful paths; grant that we may one
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