Friday, July 3, 2015

Pilgrims' Mass

Hello, everyone.

Today was the Friday evening Pilgrims' Mass. I was a little surprised to see that the priests were vested in red, but Father started out by mentioning that today, July 3, is the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle. And as we know, St. Thomas was martyred. Thus the red vestments.

The priest gave an excellent sermon which tied together the Camino, pilgrimage, Christian life, and related themes. Then at almost the end of Mass Father said that the symbol of St. James's cathedral, the Botafumeiro, would fly today and spread sweet incense in honor of the Apostle (St. James) and the confraternity of strong men in red robes untied the rope. They loaded charcoal and incense into the burner and started swinging it. We were sitting in the pilgrim benches in the transept and it was quite a sight. (I admit it, my eyes watered. But I'm sentimental and it was so beautiful.)

Afterwards we went to the pilgrims' prayer meeting, where we learned new things: the Hail, Holy Queen we say at the end of the rosary was a gift of Santiago (written by the bishop at the time) to the rest of the Church. It was picked up by French pilgrims in Santiago and carried home and the spread from there.