This was a life changing journey that was excellent in every way!
A college student
See our Pilgrimages especially designed for students.
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References are available upon request.
Serving Schools & Universities
One of our main objectives is to involve students and teachers
on journeys of the spirit.
Schools often organize cultural trips during their semester breaks or in the summer. A pilgrimage is much more than that: it is food for the spirit, a moment of joy, a time for prayer, for being inspired, for healing, and for understanding.
At universities there are many ways to earn credits in religion, history, and art, especially in destinations such as Rome, the Holy Land, and Europe. Religious Studies departments, such Eastern Religions, Theology, and Biblical Studies can integrate their academic teachings with direct experience.
ORP may have a easier access to places usually difficult to reach for a regular travel agency, including possibilities to organize meetings with other universities, especially in Rome and in Jerusalem.
We also offer missionary itineraries (in Nepal, Mexico, Ethiopia, Ghana, the Holy Land, for example) with the view of meeting people with different backgrounds, religions and traditions, to embrace their humanity with full acceptance and respect. During our journeys we organize interfaith dialogues; we encourage peace events such the Marathon of Peace Jerusalem–Bethlehem; we meet together with Israelis, Palestinians, Muslims, Christians and Jews to learn to interact as human beings and not primarily with national or religious identity.
The pilgrimage can become a deep spiritual experience that students and teachers will never forget; it is a wonderful opportunity to strengthen their relationships and understanding. These itineraries are carefully designed with our staff according to each school's and university’s needs and budget.
How do I see things?
A pilgrimage is a spiritual experience that can foster our relationship with God, with other people, and with ourselves. It can help us wake up to life and show us what we usually don’t see. How I can perceive the presence of Jesus in my neighbor’s eyes?
Understanding and knowing
Impressions received through direct experience can stay in our being forever. Learning based only on intellectual knowledge may fade with time.
For this reason we strongly believe in bringing the message of the pilgrimage to schools and universities, encouraging teachers to transform their cultural trip into an experience of faith, that could stay with students for the rest of their lives.
What is the difference between a cultural trip and a pilgrimage?
A cultural trip can satisfy our usual expectation of travelling - looking at masterpieces of art, taking tours, learning about local food traditions, and taking photographs of people and places. However these types of experiences often stay only at the surface of ourselves and not go deeper into our being.
A pilgrimage is an experience of the spirit and therefore must go beyond the surface. To help in this, preparation is required to allow students to contemplate their journey. This process often continues to evolve after the return home.
A pilgrimage is an experience based on faith and as such one needs to establish a deeper connection with Christ. By allowing moments of quiet to manifest during the day, appreciating silence, and letting beauty speak through the wonders that God continuously offers to us, can help in this.
Kairos and ORP assist in allowing these moments of quiet to happen and we focus on quality of time, not just the quantity of place visited. Cooperation with the teachers is essential to accomplish this step.
A theme each day
In order to stimulate a spiritual dialogue, our pastoral assistants can propose a daily spiritual theme around which students can exchange their experiences. In this way experiences can be shared and this can help new thoughts and experiences enter.
Relationship: Recognize the Presence of our Lord
Another important aspect of pilgrimage is rediscovering the human nature in all of us, and seeing friends or local people in a different and new way. Then we will no longer need so many pictures to remember.
How can I “see” the essence of a person? By remembering that people are much more than what I can superficially see and judge. Our judgments prevent us from connecting with people’s hearts and from recognizing the presence of Christ in each one of us. If my attention is in my heart and not so much in my mind while I am with someone, this can help me see people as they really are. I need to exercise this new way of seeing and a pilgrimage is an ideal way to begin this.
Asking questions and being inwardly active
This is a way to make the pilgrimage an active act of exploration. Students should be encouraged not to be a passive element of the planned day. Life is not passive. We are life. I give you an example.
Why is the Pieta of Michelangelo considered a masterpiece of art? What is in there that is different from another example of art? Can I recognize this for myself, going beyond what the guides tell me?
A pilgrimage should help us to find the source of our faith in everything we do, and to recognize how Christ is always close to us.
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