We are committed to bringing this vibrant tradition of pilgrimage to New York City, in honor of some of the saints, venerable, and servants of God who have lived in our city.
In fact, your walking pilgrimage itself will be a kind of prayer. Christians have always believed that the physical act of journeying on pilgrimage symbolizes one of our profound Christian beliefs. We Christians believe that our earthly existence is itself a pilgrimage: we are journeying through this world on our journey to be with God in our eternal home. Every step we take on the earthly pilgrimage through the streets of New York can be a reminder of life itself as a pilgrimage.
Some will pray formal prayers through part of the pilgrimage. Others will reflect on their lives during the Lenten season. Some will let their minds wander in constructive ways: in the course of walking for hours, we might think of loved ones or moments from the past and contemplate what God might be communicating to us through the images and memories that cross our minds. Some will admire the beauty of New York City as they walk, both its natural beauty and the marvels constructed by human engineers, and give thanks to God. Others will be struck by the poverty, rampant consumerism, or vulgarity that afflicts our city, and pray that we will be able to create a more just world.
Wear comfortable walking shoes or sneakers. Dress in layers so you can add or take off clothing as the weather changes during the day. You might want to carry a bottle of water. Wear your blue wristband as symbol of your participation in the pilgrimage. Bring a cell phone if you have one, in case you need to get in touch with anyone. You might want to bring a rosary or anything else that will help you to pray. Why not leave the mp3 player or iPod at home for a day, unless you have it loaded with spiritual or classical music that will get you in the proper mood for the pilgrimage. Bring a metro card or some cash in case you become too tired to continue and need to transport yourself to the ending point of the pilgrimage to celebrate Mass with us.
Spiritually: Think about what you would like to get out of this pilgrimage. The pilgrimage will occur during Lent, and you may want to reflect on how you've been living your life as a Christian: you can treat the pilgrimage as a "mini retreat."
Please respect your fellow pilgrims and the prayerful space we are trying to create through our pilgrimage. Of course we will all spend time chatting with our friends as we walk: that's natural, and that's always been part of going on pilgrimage, and we should be grateful for this unique opportunity to spend some enjoyable time in the company of good friends. But the pilgrimage is not only about chatting with friends, and the overall tone of the day is one of reverence: it's not a day for shopping at retail outlets as we make our way south toward our pilgrimage destination!