RELIGIOUS TOURISM AND FAITH – Archdiocese of Vitória

We’re within the vacation season, which, along with being helpful for a yr’s relaxation from work, lets you notice your dream journeys. In a rustic with a strongly non secular inhabitants, one route that has grown so much through the years is that which ends up in non secular websites. It must also be famous that the “Francis Impact” tripled the variety of folks in St. Peter’s Sq. in Rome. Subsequently, not solely sacred locations are sought, but in addition conferences throughout festive celebrations with some non secular leaders, akin to Pope Francis. In Brazil, the three Marian feasts (Círio de Nazaré, Nossa Senhora Aparecida and Nossa Senhora da Penha) are moments that appeal to 1000’s of pilgrims.

We face the sudden revival of conventional types of tourism, when an increasing number of devotees undergo iconic itineraries and locations. Within the Holy See, the variety of members in audiences and non secular celebrations has elevated considerably, pilgrims from everywhere in the world come right here. An estimated 300 to 330 million folks make these journeys yearly, representing roughly $18 billion. So it’s clear that it is a massive motion of individuals and cash.

We face the best cultural manifestations of human historical past, that are situated within the sphere of the non secular area. All of them doc the steps taken by temples, cathedrals, sacred areas and pictures. From a small dimension of non secular expression, it reaches its peak with 1000’s of tourists. Nice religions go away cultural traces all through historical past in probably the most distant locations. So we will marvel on the medieval cathedrals of Europe, however how may we not be touched by Buddhist, Hindu temples, Islamic mosques, the Jewish Wailing Wall in Jerusalem? Because of the breadth of this subject, we are going to stay in our strategy in a Christian context, particularly a Catholic one.

CNBB has already structured a selected ministry for the world of tourism, together with non secular tourism, to assist folks uncover the presence of God in the fantastic thing about creation and in cultural and non secular expressions. It presents this motion, which has grown so much within the Catholic world, as a technique to alternate experiences after which combine the unique group with a view to a simply and solidary society.

Non secular tourism consists of not solely lengthy journeys between continents, however the entire set of pilgrimages and their experiences of religion, pilgrimage, journeys to satisfy vows throughout the framework of people devotions, visits to sacred locations and temples.

The place does this motion of individuals come from by way of tourism? We can not fall into the simplistic view of decreasing every little thing to a market drawback. We all know that this market strikes fortunes all over the world, however we aren’t exempt from additional evaluation of this subject. In all religions, there are two fundamental parts: the sacred place the place the group of believers is widely known, and the sacred time, which consists of moments of worship, prayer, and feasting. Secularism has taken the step of nullifying these two pillars of individuals’s non secular expertise to the extent that it nullifies the sanctity of place and time.

On this manner, there’ll all the time be a want in folks’s religion or non secular expertise to go to some sacred place or take part in a sacred time within the type of a feast or celebration. It’s good to notice that this path may be very ecumenical. For instance, anybody may go to the Buddha statue in Ibiraç with out being a Buddhist, or go to the Penha Monastery with out being a Catholic. Non secular tourism has this attribute, which may be very optimistic, because it permits the coexistence of various beliefs and cultures. This pilgrimage not solely nourishes and strengthens folks’s religion, but in addition promotes a time of reflection and self-discovery.

With out going into the advertising and marketing query that issues these locations, we will say that each sacred place that connects the motion of individuals has an important position, particularly in strengthening non secular reminiscence. With out reminiscence, faith weakens. Subsequently, by sustaining and strengthening the reminiscence of their trustworthy, these locations serve to assemble and strengthen the unity of their members. That is true in all religions. Take, for instance, town of Varanasi (Hinduism’s holiest web site) in India, which receives round 750 million folks a yr, or Mecca, which is a spot each Muslim should go to a minimum of as soon as of their lifetime. It appears to be a believer’s responsibility, a weight to be fulfilled. Nevertheless, within the deepest non secular expertise, folks don’t contemplate it a burden or an obligation, however a “pleasure” of one thing resembling a type of want. It’s within the structure of a human being to want to be in a sacred place or to expertise a sacred time, whatever the faith that’s practiced.

Extra not too long ago, “experiential tourism” has grown amongst us, such because the “Passos de Anchieta” right here in Espírito Santo, the “Estrada Actual Non secular Route”, which incorporates 38 municipalities in Minas Gerais and São Paulo, the “Rota da Fé”. Campo Mourão” in Paraná, the “Caminho dos Santos Mártires do Brasil” impressed by the “Caminho de Santiago de Compostela” (Spain), which runs 140 kilometers in northeastern Brazil, and the “Caminho das Missões” in southern Brazil. Experiential tourism deviates from the obviousness of visiting non secular and cultural locations and leads the pilgrim to the method of immersing himself in a extra intensive expertise of the tradition of the given inhabitants.

Non secular vacationers usually lack this deeper expertise of the locations they go to. A pilgrim who takes these climbing routes not solely consolidates the reminiscence of one thing exceptional in his life, however this journey additionally helps him develop a good larger respect for cultural, moral and non secular variety. With extra time to immerse himself within the native actuality, this expertise contributed so much not solely to the strengthening of his religion and his involvement within the church, but in addition stimulated the up to date man in his want for a larger encounter with himself and with the atmosphere. complete. The journey ultimately turns into a time of reminiscences, retreats, and non secular encounters.

A essential query appears to be mandatory and ought to be requested: it’s important that the non secular authorities answerable for these locations of non secular tourism be certain that there isn’t a absurd financial exploitation of the religion of believers. When faith turns into a enterprise, it loses the connection that feeds religion. Simply as faith turns into political, religion diminishes.

A extra native subject can also be price contemplating. Espírito Santo has stood out as a spot of non secular and experiential tourism. Throughout these holidays, the state is filled with folks, not simply on the seashores. We can not restrict our tourism to seashores. There are numerous non secular, cultural, historic locations. Much more strongly, we observed that the individuals who come right here can not go to the church besides throughout companies or celebrations. In our understanding, the general public sphere ought to align with tourism planning to raised obtain and welcome folks, not simply handle a community of accommodations and infrastructure. Non secular tourism is a supply of assets for the state.

The final query I want to register as a pastoral concern. In Europe, the good cathedrals and historic church buildings are very crowded with vacationers, however nearly all the time empty as areas for the celebration of religion. Amongst us, it could be applicable to ask, how lengthy will this non secular drive final in Brazilian tradition? Analysts of the science of faith not solely current a considerably skeptical image of this, however even warn in opposition to the expansion, particularly within the West, of non-religious, atheistic, secularized societies.

Sacred locations of various religions will likely be allowed to stay as objects of tradition; nevertheless, it would do little or nothing to saturate the reminiscence of religion. It does not apply to them. It’s going to solely be cultural property categorized as historic heritage. In Europe, folks stroll by their areas just for aesthetic contemplation. It’s now not in regards to the religion of those folks. Therefore Pope Francis’ warning that the expertise of religion shouldn’t be merely a journey by sacred locations. This appears to be the good problem of non secular tourism within the sense of transcending the aesthetic magic in these journeys.

Edebrand Cavalieri

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