Digital pilgrims invited to experience sacred spaces

sacred spaces

The Vatican has unveiled a new digital initiative to engage young people in the spiritual richness of Rome’s historic sacred spaces – the papal basilicas.

Through a website and podcast, the Vatican hopes to draw in a new generation of “digital pilgrims” to experience the sacred spaces virtually.

The website From Tourist to Pilgrim is dedicated to Rome’s four Papal Basilicas – St Peter’s Basilica, the Basilica of St Mary Major, the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls and the Archbasilica of St John Lateran.

The basilicas hold paramount importance within the Catholic Church. During Holy Years, which typically occur every 25 years, each structure proudly unveils its holy door.

With the Holy Year 2025 on the horizon, the launch is timed to enhance interest in the basilicas.

Launched on February 22, the website offers visitors a virtual table where animated saints and artists are depicted. They are accompanied by descriptions of their significance within the holy spaces.

An empty chair, symbolising an invitation, beckons each digital pilgrim to join the figures and explore the four basilicas.

From tourist to pilgrim

According to a Vatican press release, the website leans heavily on the medium of “voice” to convey the beauty and history of these sacred spaces and the artistic masterpieces that fill them.

The website features a podcast series developed in collaboration with Vatican News. In these episodes, experts delve into the spiritual significance of the basilicas’ history and art to deepen visitors’ understanding.

The project originated from the “Faith Communication in the Digital World” programme which trained young Catholic communicators. Sixteen professionals from ten countries, accompanied by experts, explored the four Basilicas to offer fresh perspectives to those guiding pilgrims.

The young participants emphasised the importance of understanding the roots of faith to communicate its message effectively. Both the website and podcast serve as digital embodiments of their profound connections with the Basilicas.

The Vatican anticipates that this digital experience will reignite interest in the ancient tradition of pilgrimage to the apostles’ threshold. With the Holy Year 2025 on the horizon

The initiative represents a fusion of tradition and technology to foster spiritual connections in an increasingly digital world.


Vatican News

Catholic Standard

CathNews New Zealand


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News category: World.

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