Pope Promotes Pilgrim Spirit

Reflects on Highlights of Trip to Spain

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 10, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is promoting the benefits of the age-old tradition of pilgrimages, noting that pilgrims desire to find the light of Christ.

The Pope spoke of pilgrimages today at the general audience when he reflected on his trip to Spain, which he made last Saturday and Sunday, visiting Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona.

The Holy Father visited Santiago as a pilgrim, thus participating in the celebrations of this year’s jubilee. The cathedral of Santiago de Compostela where, according to tradition, the remains of the Apostle James the Greater rest, celebrates the jubilee year every time the saint’s feast day, July 25, falls on a Sunday, as is the case this year.

The next jubilee year will be in 2021. This tradition has been observed since the year 1122. 

The Pontiff said he reflected on what brought so many people to «leave their daily occupations to undertake the penitential way to Compostela, a way that at times is long and tiring.»

And he proposed this answer: «It is the desire to reach the light of Christ, for which they yearn in the depth of their heart, even if often they are unable to express this well in words. In moments of loss, of searching, of difficulty, as well as in the aspiration to reinforce the faith and to live in a more coherent way, the pilgrims to Compostela undertake a profound itinerary of conversion to Christ, who has assumed to himself weakness, the sin of humanity, the miseries of the world, bearing them to where evil no longer has any power, where the light of goodness illumines everything. It is a people of silent walkers, from every part of the world, who rediscover the ancient medieval and Christian tradition of pilgrimage, going through villages and cities permeated with Catholicism.»

The Pontiff also reflected on the role of Europe, marked by the history of sites such as Compostela.

«Preserving and reinforcing openness to the transcendent, as well as a fruitful dialogue between faith and reason, between politics and religion, between economy and ethics, will make possible the building of a Europe that, faithful to its essential Christian roots, is able to respond fully to its own vocation and mission in the world,» he affirmed.


In Barcelona, Benedict XVI dedicated the Church of the Holy Family, designed by Antoni Gaudí. He also declared it a minor basilica.

«That splendid work,» he said, «very rich in religious symbols, beautiful in the intertwining of shapes, fascinating in the play of lights and colors — virtually an immense sculpture in stone, fruit of profound faith, of spiritual sensibility and of the artistic talent of Antoni Gaudí, refers one to the true sanctuary, the place of real worship, Heaven, where Christ entered to stand in the presence of God in our favor.»

The Holy Father added that he prayed for youth, «who accompanied me throughout the visit to Santiago and Barcelona with their enthusiasm and joy — so that they would discover the beauty, the value and commitment of marriage, in which a man and a woman form a family, which with generosity receives life and supports it from its conception until its natural end.»

«All that is done to support marriage and the family, to help the neediest persons, all that enhances the grandeur of man and his inviolable dignity, contributes to the perfecting of society. No effort is vain in this sense," he stated.

The Bishop of Rome concluded his reflection by recalling that in 2011, he has another trip to Spain scheduled.

«Next year, God willing, I will go to Spain again, to Madrid, for World Youth Day,» he explained. «I entrust henceforth to your prayer this providential initiative, so that it will be an occasion of growth in the faith for so many young people.»

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-30920?l=english

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