Year of Pilgrimages Begins

2010 is going to be a banner year for religious pilgrimages.

Ten million pilgrims are expected to travel to Compostela, Spain, to venerate the relics of St. James the Greater. 2010 is a holy year in Compostela, Spain, because the feast Day of St. James the Greater falls on a Sunday.

Another pilgrimage site set to receive a great number of visitors is the Italian town of Turin.

The Italian Archdiocese of Turin will be putting the Shroud of Turin on rare public display between April 10 and May 23, 2010. This is the shroud’s first public display since it underwent major cleaning and restoration in 2002. That work included the removing of 30 fabric patches and a fabric backing that was sewn onto the shroud in 1534 after a fire.

Pope Benedict XVI will make a pastoral visit to the shroud on May 2, 2010. The Italian newspaper Libero is reporting that some 600,000 people have already reserved tickets to see the Shroud during its 44 day display.

Of course, the Year for Priests continues in 2010. Multiple priest and seminarian pilgrimage groups have been making their way to Ars, France, home to St. John Marie Vianney, the patron saint of priests. In addition, an international gathering of priests will be on hand in Rome for the conclusion of the Year for Priests on June 9-11, 2010.

Finally, pilgrims will also be making their way to Oberammergau, Germany, for the performance of the Oberammergau Passion Play, which takes place every 10 years.

The history of the play dates back to 1633. After months of suffering from a plague, the people of Oberammergau vowed to perform the play every 10 years if they were spared. Miraculously, from that point on, they survived, and the villagers have performed the play ever since. This year, the play opens May 15, 2010, and ends on Oct. 3, 2010.

The Legionaries of Christ is sponsoring a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in March. Contact Peggy Lambert at [email protected] or call (800) 532-7478 for more information.