Many of us are stuck inside right now and itching to get out of the house. While the coronavirus pandemic has made travel unavailable for the time being, we believe there are still graces to be gained by making a virtual pilgrimage and exploring sacred sites.
This can be a very special experience where we can continue to support one another and pray alongside one another as we look forward to the day when we can walk the pilgrim road once again.
How to make the most of a virtual pilgrimage
Technology has made it possible for us to visit practically anywhere in the world right from the comfort of our living room! Just as millions of Catholics tune into Mass from home and make preparations to receive Our Lord spiritually into their hearts, we can do the same in terms of pilgrimage.
To experience more than just passing images on a screen, we can truly encounter the Spirit through a virtual pilgrimage so that the significance of sacred places may not be lost on us. Here are some ways to deepen the virtual pilgrimage experience.
Uniting yourself in prayer to the Benedictine nuns of Perpetual Adoration at Tyburn Convent, London – from whose chapel this live video is being transmitted. “A thousand years of enjoying human glory is not worth even an hour spent in sweetly communing with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.” ~ Saint Padre Pio (1887 – 1968)
You can listen to music as you explore some of the above sites, the Sistine Chapel Choir, the Pope’s personal choir, has its own playlist on Spotify.
The Grotto of the apparitions is the heart of the Sanctuary of Lourdes. The spring and the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes within it are the centre of attention of all the pilgrims. A live stream of the Grotto is available 24/7. Bring your intentions before our Mother Mary. A Schedule of Continuous Prayer at the Grotto is also available, to follow the daily Mass, prayers and rosary.
The channel of the Shrine of Fatima provides continuous broadcasting from the Chapel of the Apparitions. Tune in for daily Rosary, Mass and hour of reparation.
The largest Roman Catholic church in North America, and one of the ten largest churches in the world! Take 360° Virtual Tours to see the Basilica’s Great Upper Church, the Great Upper Church Sanctuary, the Crypt Church and Memorial Hall up close and personal! The virtual tours allow you to view all 80 chapels and oratories located on the Basilica’s Upper and Lower Levels.
An opportunity to experience the wonder of the Vatican Museums without the interruption of tourists. Take in the incredible collection amassed by the Roman Catholic Church throughout the centuries and ponder on the greatness of God which inspired them.
Rediscover the great sacraments of the Church in all their theological depth, spiritual effects, and pastoral promise. The Sacraments will help you understand these signs and channels of grace and discover the secret behind their persistence down the ages: the presence and power of the Savior himself. Bishop Barron’s pioneering work in evangelizing through the new media led Francis Cardinal George to describe him as “one of the Church’s best messengers.”
The Visual Commentary on Scripture (VCS) is a freely accessible online publication that provides theological commentary on the Bible in dialogue with works of art. Each exhibition consists of three artworks and associated commentaries grouped around a Bible passage.
Take a virtual walk along Via Dolorosa. This is the path on which Jesus carried his cross as he walked to his crucifixion. Take your time to go with him, recalling the 14 stations of the cross.
The Sistine Chapel is one of the Vatican’s proudest features. Set in the confines of the Vatican City’s ancient backdrop, the chapel is famous for its extensive collection of Renaissance art that has been painted by some of the world’s most famous artists. The frescoes that we are contemplating here introduce us into the world of the contents of the Revelation. The truths of our faith speak to us here from all sides.
The Basílica de la Sagrada Família, also known as the Sagrada Família, is a large unfinished Roman Catholic minor basilica in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Designed by Spanish/Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926), his work on the building is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On 7 November 2010, Pope Benedict XVI consecrated the church and proclaimed it a minor basilica. Take a virtual pilgrimage of the Sagrada Familia.
The Santiago de Compostela Cathedral is part of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santiago de Compostela and is an integral component of the Santiago de Compostela World Heritage Site in Galicia, Spain. The cathedral is the reputed burial place of Saint James the Great, the apostle of Jesus Christ.
The Camino de Santiago Virtual Challenge will take you 480 miles (772 km) along the pilgrims’ ways leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Each time you complete a distance-based exercise activity such as running, walking, cycling etc you advance along the map from France to Spain.
St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the most spectacular churches in the world. Although some may confuse it for the “mother church” of Roman Catholics, it isn’t even a cathedral because it’s not the seat of the pope, who is also the bishop of Rome. That distinction belongs to the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran. But because of its size, grandeur, and location within Vatican City, papal authorities use the church for numerous ceremonies. Its capacity is enormous—it can hold 20,000 seated worshippers or 60,000 standing.
Then He said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
Learn more about the importance of pilgrimage.