The mission of the Vilnius Center for Pilgrims is to help pilgrims discover Vilnius as the City of Mercy and experience their pilgrimage as a journey of mercy.
The Vilnius Center for Pilgrims provides:
- information about pilgrimage opportunities available within the Archdiocese of Vilnius;
- assistance and guidance in planning pilgrimage tours;
- the necessary social, spiritual, and material infrastructure to ensure that Vilnius becomes a pilgrimage city notable for its hospitality and richness and depth of spiritual experience.
Moreover, pilgrimage brings a person closer to himself. There is an opportunity to discover yourself and see yourself in a new light – more authentic, simpler and more sincere, because those who might otherwise make you uncomfortable, are left behind. On a pilgrimage it is good to get tired, hungry, even dirty, because that helps you to get in touch with your humanity, to see your limits, and feel humbler. How little is needed for the pilgrim's happiness – a cup of hot tea, a safe haven from rain or dry shoes after a long day on the road! Physical discomfort and fatigue paradoxically contrast with returning inner freedom and tranquillity, when joy fills your soul and once again you realize that you haven’t felt this sincere, humble, true to yourself and free for a long time.
During a pilgrimage it is important to remember the reason, which led you to it. That greater goal gives the meaning to your journey, to all your efforts, and all discomfort you might have experienced. If it were just for yourself, and not for this greater goal, you would have probably made it only to the grocery store to buy something for dinner, and would not have gone on this difficult journey. You are going on this pilgrimage because you have this longing, this desire to meet God, who purifies your heart, who loves you and is waiting for you. The true fulfilment of the pilgrimage lies in your desire to come closer to God, by strengthening your trust in Him, by immersing yourself into new surroundings and meeting people. This experience is filled with gratitude for all you see, for sun and rain, because even bad weather is instrumental in reminding you about human fragility and the never-ending guidance of God, who is always there to protect you. For me, a pilgrimage is first and foremost an approach to another person, to my true self and to God, who is loving and teaches me to trust Him.