This year the Pilgrimage of New York will focus on the Jubilee Year of Mercy. As we know, Pope Francis has declared this year in honor of Mercy, which began on December 8, 2015 and will end on November 20, 2016 (Feast of Christ the King.)

We will be visiting churches and making stops in honor of two saints who are examples of God’s tremendous Mercy towards us: Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Saint Peter was an apostle of Jesus and the first pope. But as we know, he is the same person who denied Jesus three times before Our Lord was crucified. Saint Peter wept for a long time but despite this setback, Jesus, Our Risen Lord, forgave Saint Peter and gave him the responsibility to lead our Catholic Church. Saint Paul had a different path towards mercy. He persecuted Christians during the early days of the Church. On the road to Damascus, he experienced a vision by Our Lord that caused him to convert to Christianity. Ever since then Saint Paul became the greatest missionary for the Catholic Church.

During this Year of Mercy, it is a tradition to make a pilgrimage and to pass through the Holy Doors of a basilica or cathedral. In the Archdiocese of New York, Cardinal Dolan has designated five Doors of Mercy where pilgrims will have the opportunity to encounter this profound symbol of Christ’s desire to welcome all into the Kingdom of God. We will be visiting two places that have designated Doors of Mercy and we will be sure to walk through their doors: Shrine Church of Saint Francis Cabrini (where we will begin our journey) and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.

As we walk this pilgrimage route through the streets of Manhattan, let us entrust ourselves to Our Lord’s Mercy through the intercession of Saint Peter and Saint Paul during this Jubilee Year. As Catholics, we need to experience our faith while visiting these beautiful churches, and pray for those we encounter during our walk.

Browse our website to learn more about the famous churches you can visit, the saints you will honor and the route you can follow. You can sign up to participate in the pilgrimage (it's free!), and if you wish, you can make a donation to the St. Nicholas Project of Catholic Charities. You will be able to walk at your own pace (and no one will criticize you if at some point you have to drop out and take a subway part of the way!)

 
What is a pilgrimage?

Why should I make one?

What do I do?

What do I bring?

How do I prepare?

Our Advice
What is a Pilgrimage?
 
By joining in the Pilgrimage of New York, you will participate in a venerable Catholic tradition. For centuries, Christians have traveled to places made holy by association with the lives of great saints or with our faith's history: the Holy Land, Rome, Lourdes, Fatima, or Santiago de Compostela.

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.
 
Why should I make one?
 
Why go on pilgrimage? Throughout history, Christians have journeyed on pilgrimage for all kinds of reasons: to intercede for healing or a special request; in atonement for sins; to find inspiration by reflecting on the lives and examples of great saints; or simply to enjoy the company of fellow pilgrims. Bring your own personal hopes, needs, and desires on your pilgrimage. It's a precious opportunity to escape the frenzied pace of your normal life: take a slow walk with us; listen to yourself think; and reflect on your spiritual life.

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.
 
What do I do on a Pilgrimage?
 
Each person will make a pilgrimage in his or her own way. We will start and end the pilgrimage as a complete group, praying together. But then we will split up, and each person (or small group) can proceed in their own way, at their own pace. Some folks will want to walk alone and savor the solitude in a city that offers us too little of it; others will relish the opportunity to walk in the company of friends.

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.
 
What do I bring?
 
What to bring? That's easy: not much!

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.
 
How do I prepare?
 
Physically: Wear comfortable walking shoes or sneakers, and be sure to break them in before the day of the pilgrimage! If you try to walk thirteen miles in brand new shoes, you could suffer some very painful blisters. Take a few practice walks of three or four miles before the day of the pilgrimage; it will be great exercise and will prepare your body for the long walk of pilgrimage day. Don't try to "gut out" more than a thirteen mile walk with no advance practice. That's inviting the risk of knee troubles or blistered feet.

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."
 
Our advice
 
Don't spend the day plugged into the latest music on your Ipod or listening to talk radio! Take advantage of the time to disconnect yourself from the noise of modern culture.

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!