What is a Pilgrimage?
Pilgrimage is a form of prayer. It is a spiritual journey a person makes to a sacred place, often one marked by God’s special intervention, such as the Holy Land, or that has particular importance in the religious history of a people.
Catholic shrines are places of prayer, liturgical worship, and adoration of God. They are dedicated to the veneration (or honoring) of particular saints, each of whom is a unique source of inspiration and encouragement, and have become beloved places of Christian pilgrimage. Pilgrims come to shrines to ask for a saint’s intercession, and to renew and strengthen their faith.
How can I make a pilgrimage to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine?
The Shrine is a place of prayer and worship that offers sacraments and liturgical activities, including the following:
- Holy Mass: Mass is offered daily in the Redemptor Hominis Church at
12:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday
2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Sunday
- Confession: This sacrament is available before all Masses.
- Veneration: A first-class blood relic of St. John Paul II is present in the Luminous Mysteries Chapel.
- Hour of Mercy Prayer and Chaplet: There is a meditation and recitation of the Chaplet at 3:00 p.m. daily.
The Shrine is also a place to discover the man who became St. John Paul II and learn about the major themes and events of his papacy. Adult pilgrims should expect to spend 90 minutes in the permanent exhibit, A Gift of Love: The Life of Saint John Paul II. Children will also find much to interest them in the exhibit, but will likely spend less time in it. The Shrine has materials, such as student guides and object or image finders, for younger pilgrims.
The Shrine is a place to contemplate the face of God through the beauty of sacred art and meditations on the Scriptures. Pilgrims should plan to spend at least 20 minutes to view the mosaics that fill the Redemptor Hominis Church and the Luminous Mysteries Chapel.
Finally, the Shrine is a place to deepen and strengthen your faith. Be sure and look at our calendar to see if there are any events taking place during your visit.
How can my group make a pilgrimage to the Shrine?
Please submit the Group Tour Form to begin planning your group’s visit and to make any special requests. We encourage you to complete the form so that we can better assist you in planning your group’s pilgrimage.
While we encourage pilgrims to join us for our daily Mass and Confession, a group can request to have a private Mass with its parish priest or chaplain in the chapel or church, depending on the size of the group. A group can also arrange time for Confession with its priest.
In addition, Shrine staff can offer the following:
- Special talks on a variety of subjects, such as themes of the papacy of John Paul II;
- Guided tours of the mosaics and other sacred art in the church and chapel; and
- Meditations on the Divine Mercy.