Festival Aims to Popularize Pilgrimages

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ROME, DEC. 17, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Pilgrimages are neither a thing of the past, nor something just for tour groups of elderly, and the first Journeys of the Spirit Festival is aiming to change people's perception of religious pilgrimages.



The "Josp Fest," with the theme "Sing and Walk" is set for Jan. 15-18 in Rome. It is being organized by the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, the Vatican institution whose mission it is to evangelize through pastoral tourism and the ministry of pilgrimage. Festival organizers are expecting some 40,000 participants and 150 presenters.

Festival-goers will hear about historical pilgrimage itineraries to Rome, Santiago de Compostela and Jerusalem.

They will also learn about the most popular pilgrimage sites today: Guadalupe (10 million pilgrims a year); Lourdes (9 million); St. Peter's (7 million); Santiago de Compostela (6 million) and Jerusalem (3 million).

The festival was presented Tuesday in a press conference by Monsignor Libero Andreatta, vice president of the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi. The attitude of the pilgrim, he said, should be "spiritual reflection and confrontation with the spirit. It becomes a great adventure."

In the festival, he said, "products won't be sold; it's experiences that are being offered."

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On the Net:

Journeys of the Spirit Festival: www.jospfest.com/index.php?lang=en