The heads of sanctuaries: â??The pilgrims are not just touristsâ?

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23/01/2016
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The meeting ended with a visit by the Pope in the Vatican. It was held for those responsible for shrines and pilgrimages held for three days in Rome.

On their departure, they recalled the Pope's words and valued the importance of sharing their experience with workers from elsewhere.

This is case for Jesus Edmundo Flores, whose shrine in Guadalupe, Mexico receives more than 50,000 pilgrims annually on December 12th to celebrate the patron saint of America.

EDMUND JESUS FLORES
Guadalupe Shrine Tehuacan (Mexico)
'When I look around and observe the work I do and also see the work of others in other shrines and structures, I am enriched. That is the experience of Rome, rich and other methods and other forms of what is taking place here to welcome all pilgrims at these shrines. Today, I am left with a very strong experience in which not only have to meet the pilgrim, but to come back once again and transcribe this into the parish so that I can preach that experience.�

Cecilia San Miguel leads the Los Angeles Center Missionary of John Paul II, that takes pilgrims to shrines in Krakow, Israel, Mexico, France and Italy.

At the meeting, she greeted the Pope and asked for her blessing and prayers to expand the word of Jesus to the US.

She believes it is important to prepare the pilgrims before they travel to any holy place.

CECILIA SAN MIGUEL
Center John Paul II Missionaries of Los Angeles (USA)
'It is important that a person who comes to a shrine know what they are, where they are going, know the essence of that place. They do not go as tourists, very important, we're not tourists, we are pilgrims, we follow the footsteps of Jesus through the diversity of sanctuaries.�

In parts of England, a faith driven project, offers transportation to pilgrims in buses. This is an initiative that Father Frankie Mulgrew supports.

FATHER FRANKIE MULGREW
Diocese of Salford in Manchester, England
'I'm here in Rome currently because we have a project in our diocese called 'For Mercy Bus� and it's basically a double-decker bus, specially designed to stop off in towns and city centers in my diocese, offering people the opportunity of confession or a blessing for their life or to chat and get advice from a priest.�

Pope Francis praised his work as one of the best ways to promote popular piety.

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