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In Santiago de Compostela for the Feast of the "Big Flower"

 

October 15th, 2015 two pilgrims arrived in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Granted, Cyndee, a work colleague and I did not walk with pilgrims who yearly make the famous “Way of Santiago de Compostela” or “El Camino”, but this was indeed a “pilgrimage” to us. 

Cyndee from Atlanta, and I from California, came to Compostela by way of Fatima, Portugal where, a couple of days before, we helped deliver 14,108 red roses and more than 6,000 white roses to the Fatima Shrine in the name of a multitude of ANF Rosary Rally Captains and supporters.

Famous statue of Saint James the Apostle behind the main altar in the Santiago CathedralIt was a dream of Cyndee’s to make the “Camino”, and I had long heard of the famous shrine and burial place of the great apostle of Spain, Saint James the Greater.

One of the first twelve apostles, St. James was martyred in Jerusalem in 44 A.D., and his body was immediately translated back to Spain, where he had preached the Gospel of his Divine Master.

History having erased the memory of the place of the saint’s burial, in 813 a shepherd boy saw a star that guided him to his tomb; hence “Compostela” or “Field of the Star”.

A cathedral was erected over the place where the apostle’s body was discovered.

So here we were, two non-Spanish-speaking-just-arrived-by-bus pilgrims handing the taxi driver a slip of paper with the address to San Martino Pinario Hotel. He smiled understandingly and we were off.

San Martino turned out to be a sixteenth century stone building, more like a monastery with a dining area, lounge and patio-garden – bonus: directly across from the Cathedral of Santiago or St. James.

 

An image of a simple room in the hotel, and another of the Santiago Cathedral interior

While in the taxi, I noticed teenagers walking along the streets in band uniforms. Once in my room, looking out of my ancient stone-recessed window, I saw them again, but now heard canon volleys and fireworks. I needed to find out what was going on.

Local band leading the procession from Santiago Cathedral to the Carmelite Convent

Walking outside, we watched a procession of altar servers emerge from the cathedral holding aloft a float with a beautiful statue of Saint Teresa of Avila. I joined the procession, which wound through the cobbled streets for forty minutes to the prayerful cadence of the Rosary.

I finally discovered we were headed for the Carmelite Convent where the “Big Flower”, as the Spaniards lovingly call their Teresa, was crowned in honor of her 500th anniversary which was being celebrated on her feast day that very day and hour (October 15, 2015).

Statue of Saint Teresa of Avila carried through the streets of Santiago of Compostela

Did I feel like a pilgrim now....You bet! And so privileged to have “crashed” such an auspicious celebration! It felt like a special blessing after so many that week.

The famous incensor or thurible called "Botafumeiro" The next day, at 7:30 pm, was the Pilgrims’ Mass where the famous incensor or thurible called “Botafumeiro” (Flame Thrower) is used. This was a sight to behold!

Six men dressed in rich maroon cloaks worked in unison to swing the huge thurible so high that it almost touched the soaring ceiling of the cathedral as it delivered clouds of incense.

In Compostela, we met many people from all over the world from Denmark to New Zealand, from America to Africa. They all had come to walk or bicycle the “Camino”.

There were priests, religious, couples, singles, some Catholic, some not, but all there for the same reason: looking for God.

All to whom we spoke, commented on the uplifting, spiritual experience they had while walking the Way of St. James of Compostela.

Though physically hard, the walk was an experience that brought them closer to God and gave them a better understanding of self.

For us, pilgrims hailing from California/Atlanta/Fatima, it was also an unforgettable experience. And considering we had just been to Fatima to deliver thousands of roses to Our Lady, arriving for the celebration of the “Big Flower” felt like a not-so-far-fetched bonus blessing.

 

Click here for St. Teresa of Avila's Prayer for the Church in Need! 

 


By Lora Lucas-Bailie with Andrea Phillips

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for May 21, 2019

We must pray without ceasing, in every occurrence and employ...

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May 21

 

We must pray without ceasing,
in every occurrence and employment of our lives – that prayer
which is rather a habit of lifting up the heart to God
as in a constant communication with Him.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton


GOD, ALWAYS! SATANNEVER! 

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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Christopher Magallanes and Companions

 Fr. Christopher was arrested on his way to say Mass, impri...

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St. Christopher Magallanes and Companions

Christopher Magallanes was born in 1869 in the province of Guadalajara, Mexico, of devout parents who were poor farmers. As a youth, he worked as a shepherd, but felt called to be a shepherd of souls. He entered the seminary at nineteen and was ordained at the age of thirty.

He worked as a parish priest in his hometown of Totatiche for two decades, and there also opened a carpentry business to help provide jobs for the local men.

When, in the first decades of the twentieth century, the atheistic Mexican government launched a merciless persecution of the Catholic Church, a new constitution banned the training of priests. In 1915, Fr. Christopher opened his own small seminary in Totatiche where he soon had a dozen students.

Consequently accused of trying to incite rebellion, Fr. Christopher was arrested on his way to say Mass, imprisoned and condemned to be shot without trial.  His few possessions he gave away to his jailer and he was executed on May 21, 1927 with another twenty-one priests and three lay Catholics. His last words were, “I die innocent, and ask God that my blood may serve to unite my Mexican brethren.” He was canonized by Pope John Paul II on May 21, 2000.

Second Photo by: Humberto

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

Fatima custodians often meet people who know little or nothi...

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Visiting a Muslim Family

Fatima custodians often meet people who know little or nothing about the Catholic faith.  A few years ago I had such an experience in Florida. 

Upon arrival at the home, an elderly grandmother with a group of young children and teens met me at the door. The group was sullen as I brought in the statue, set up the projector and began the introduction.  Unknown to me, I was speaking to a Muslim family.

At a certain point, one of the teens vehemently objected to the phrase “Mother of God” and accused me of blasphemy since Jesus was not God. Quickly the visit became an interesting defense of the Catholic faith. After answering several more objections to the best of my ability, my Islamic hosts allowed me to explain the Rosary, with an attentive audience, I proceeded to pray alone.

After reciting the Rosary, the attendants and I listened to the hostess, who explained why she had assembled the family for the visit.

Several weeks ago, she was hospitalized for a serious illness. She felt alone and abandoned until one day a stranger walked in with a bouquet of flowers, placed it by the bedside and stayed to listen to all of her concerns. The stranger returned repeatedly to renew her flowers, fix her pillows and talk to her. Then the Muslim mother questioned the stranger’s motives, explaining that her own family wasn’t visiting her. The stranger replied that she was a Catholic and Catholics are encouraged to visit the sick.

Requesting more information about the Catholic faith, the mother was told that it was against hospital policy to discuss religion and therefore she would have to search for information on her own.

Upon her release from the hospital, my hostess entered a nearby Catholic church and encountered an America Needs Fatima flier about Our Lady of Fatima. She called the number and set up a home visit to which she then invited her family.

I may never know what has happened to the family, but I regularly pray that their interest in Catholicism has brought them into the folds of the Catholic Church. Of one thing I am certain: Our Lady will never abandon those who invite her into their homes.

By Michael Chad Shibler

Click HERE to get your Free 8 X 10 Picture of Our Lady of Fatima

Fatima custodians often meet people who know little or nothing about the Catholic faith.  A few years ago I had such an experience in Florida

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