Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, archbishop of Ranchi, highlighted the importance of shrines at the International Consultation on Shrines and Pilgrimages held last week in Bangalore.
“The spirit of God is present when believers make their hearts ready for him and go to sacred places precisely with this readiness,” said Cardinal Toppo.
He pointed out that sacred places are recognized by all religious cultures and that they answer a need in people’s hearts: contact with God.
Cardinal Toppo added: “We find [shrines] in the history of Christianity, right from the beginning; we have the sacred places where Jesus lived.
“In fact, Jesus himself went several times to Jerusalem to celebrate the great Jewish feasts. … Jesus’ life is portrayed as a journey to Jerusalem, a pilgrimage.”
“Christians, when they visit these places experience immense joy and … feel the presence of Jesus,” the cardinal continued. “The shrines and pilgrimage places … are there so that we may be filled by his Spirit, hear the Word of God, and come to know Jesus … more intimately and love him more ardently.”