By Emily Drooby
Pilgrimages are making a comeback after a year of being shut down.
“We have to celebrate! Actually, yes, it’s good news, it’s a positive news,” said Peter Bahou.
For 38 years, Peter owned Peter’s Way Tours. They specialize in pilgrimages and work with Catholics throughout the United States, including the Diocese of Brooklyn.
The pandemic forced them to cancel all of their trips since March of last year, which affected about 200 groups.
Now they’re back!
Twenty pilgrimage groups will head out between July and the end of this year.
“First and foremost, we want to make sure people are comfortable and traveling with confidence,” Peter said.
In terms of safety, Peter and his team have been keeping track of travel requirements as they change. There are precautions in place, like PCR testing, and limiting the amount of people allowed on the buses. Peter is so confident in the safety that he’s going on a pilgrimage himself this summer.
“It is not only business, for us, it’s a ministry,” explained Peter. “It gives us energy to see those pilgrims traveling, coming back so happy.”
The Diocese of Brooklyn’s first pilgrimage is scheduled starting May 17, 2022. It will be a trip to the Oberammergau Passion Play and will be led by Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Octavio Cisneros.
Ironically, the Passion play dates back to 1633 and was started because of a pandemic.
“The people prayed to God that if they were spared the Bubonic Plague, every 10 years they would have a celebration of the passion of our Lord and since then, they have been celebrating it every 10 years,” said Bishop Cisneros.
The 2022 pilgrimage was a rescheduled trip. The original date was set for May 2020, but was cancelled because of the rapid spread of COVID-19. Eleven people are signed up for the new trip so far.
The pilgrimage is intended to deepen one’s Catholic faith and help them take one step closer to a return to normal.
“We go with a spiritual purpose,” Bishop Cisneros said, “to touch base with the faith of other people, to see the history of our faith lived out in others.”