Pilgrimage is very popular. It is also a unique and privileged practice for inter-religious encounters. People share their shrines. But I’m looking for the cultural and theological processes and grounding behind this kind of inclusive, very rich tradition. The notion of communion comes to my mind when I study this kind of phenomenon.
As a theologian, I try to go deeper into this dynamic of communion — in terms of its history, the founding moments of the shrine, the founders and their hybrid identity, and then in the ritual and arts, and architecture.
In the experience of the pilgrims, I also find hybridity. They are looking for blessings, a certain kind of communion, personal communion with God, the cosmos, the whole community, and so forth. What I see all along is this kind of underlying dynamics of communion. Then I try to identify the similarities that have theological importance because I’m a theologian.
Source: La Civiltà Cattolica