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Sacred Journeys (2014)—Six EpisodesSacred Journeys (2014)—Six Episodes

This six-part series premiered on PBS in December of 2014. In each episode, the narrator Bruce Feiler joins an American pilgrim on a journey to one of six historic pilgrimages around the world: the Hindu Kumbh Mela in India's Ganges River that happens every twelve years ("the largest gathering of humanity anywhere on earth"), the 800-mile walk around the island of Shikoku in Buddhist Japan, the Catholic shrine at Lourdes in France (with war veterans who are seeking healing), Osun-Osogbo in Nigeria, Jerusalem in Israel (which considers the three Abrahamic faiths), and the Hajj in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Feiler is the author fifteen books, including the best-seller and PBS series called Walking the Bible (2001), which tells the story of his own 10,000 mile journey through the desert to retrace the five books of Moses. Whereas religion might be under various threats, notes Feiler, making a pilgrimage is more popular than ever, with 200 million people a year setting out on a sacred journey. A pilgrimage is what he calls a "gesture of action" in which a person seeks the sacred in the ordinary. As a personal footnote, my wife and I have made three pilgrimages—the Camino Santiago in Spain, the route across southern France called Le Chemin du Puy, and La Via di Francesco from Florence to Assisi to Rome.

Dan Clendenin:

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