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Cathedral Closed...Is the Camino still worth it?

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AshleyF

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2019)
Hi,

I have been in the advanced-preliminary stages of planning a Camino in September this year, planning to walk the entire route from SJPdP to Santiago, when I was handed a notice from the Archdiocese of Santiago that the Cathedral would be closed until 2021, to prepare for a Holy Year.

Although I come from one of the oldest (acknowledged) Catholic families in my country, I would be what Martin Sheen was described as - a "lapsed Catholic". [I have become a great deal more spiritual in my outlook but according to Church teaching, having received the Sacrament of Confirmation in my late teens, I am & will always be Catholic, something which still forms a part of my identity].

I had been planning to do the Camino, as I believe it is something, not only for me but in honour of my grandparents who were my first teachers in the faith. I would have been travelling from quite far (South Africa - probably being one of the few Africans on pilgrimage, presumably due to the very high costs involved for us).

Although I have read a great deal about the pilgrimage and interacted with others who have done it before, I have also been greatly inspired by Sheen's "The Way". In the movie, a great emphasis is placed on the Pilgrim's Mass in the Cathedral and in particular the censing with insense by the Boafumeiro. Catholics will recognise this point in Sheen's movie where the full realisation of his spiritual journey occurs - it is the only time when he can be seen making the sign of the Cross. For Catholics that is probably one of the most moving scenes in The Way.

The Cathedral will be closed - There will be no Pilgrims Mass there and - No blessing with Boafumeiro Incense. Instead, the Archdiocese is offering pilgrims Mass at other parishes in the diocese.

I am deeply disappointed by what seems like poor preparation on the part of the Diocese - after all, renovations that are needed should have been identified over the last Holy Year (Divine Mercy) and renovation plans executed in stages, so as not to inconvenience pilgrims who will travel from around the world (a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for many).

"Pilgrims will still be able to venerate the relic of St James the Great"???. For Catholics, the centre of our faith is the Eucharist (Mass) where we believe Christ becomes truly present. This happens as much in Santiago as it does in your neighbourhood Parish Church. So there is no real benefit to being in Santiago. As for the possibility to venerate the relic, perhaps this comes from an incomplete understanding of what a Saint is. A Saint is someone we are sure (that's why evidence such as miracles are investigated before canonisation) is in heaven and who is able to intercede for us before the Father. All Saints are united in a Communion. Doctrine holds that they stop being "St. Anne, St Joseph, or in this case St. James" and become of one essence (a single Mystical Body). So while earthly remains may exist, in the celestial realms there is no separate identity. There is no longer a St. James.

What many people may not know is that Saintly relics are placed into every altar at each Catholic Church around the world (including the one down your street!). So while the veneration of a relic is a "sacramental" (offers a blessing) the same blessing occurs at every church in the world. This means there is no ontological difference between trekking 800kms to Santiago or driving to Mass at the Church down the road.

Is the Cathedral and the Boafumeiro just a ceremony (the actual pilgrimage is what's spiritual) you may ask? The Catholic answer to that is NO. Catholics are a liturgical people, every action that takes place in a Mass has a special connotation (ceremony - we call them "rites" - matter a great deal to us!). And the "seat" of St James is his Cathedral.

I am indeed very disappointed, to the point where I am prepared to cancel the trip. [I actually feel like having a very serious conversation with our Apostolic Nuncio - the Pope's representative - over what can only be called clumsy handling of this matter by the Archdiocese of Santiago]. I doubt that for the next few decades me making this trip will be possible, finding 5 weeks of leave is very difficult for those of us who have jobs in the "real" world.

Am I making too much out of this, or do you think that others should/will (at least) defer their trips? [I'm particularly interested in hearing from my Catholic brothers/sisters on this].
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
If you are that concerned, don't go.

But I think for most Pilgrims who have walked a Camino (including those who have walked for Religious / Spiritual reasons as I do), they would probably say the same thing.

It really has very little to do with the Cathedral ;)

I think you only realise that, once you have walked a Camino.

Maybe our Catholic Pilgrims here will have a different view?
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
Remember, the movie, “The Way,” was, just that, a movie! I experienced worship at smaller churches, with pilgrim masses that were far more intimate , reverent, and celebratory! There are many opportunities on your camino journey to celebrate and worship your catholic faith in monasteries, cathedrals, and simple churches. When I got to the Cathedral in SdC for a mass I found it anything but a reverent mass...it was a tourist experience with photos constantly being snapped though numerous requests not to do so were made! There are other options for worshiping in SdC.
I also visited the Benedictine sisters for evening prayer where we chanted the office.

As a Catholic, the journey itself including the rhythm of the daily walk, worshipping at masses with other pilgrims, finding quiet time in one’s day to listen in silence, and breathing in the beauty is well worth the journey in my opinion. In addition, you have the opportunity to share your faith journey with others. Is it worth it? It depends on you?!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Jul-Sept 2019: Ruta Asturianos Lebaniego / Apr 2018 Asturias / May 2016 CP: Portuguese
Speaking from a completely Traditional Catholic (old school, Latin Mass/Pre-Novous Ordo) point of view...
It's all in your perspective. If it is the Botafumeiro that you seek then, arrange for your vacation another year.
If it is a true Pilgrimage to venerate what is believed to be, some remains of Saint James AND, all that goes along with the unknown and unexpected...then, I highly recommend a Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
Keep your expectations to nothing and your hopes for God to grant you the blessings of learning from your Camino experience on the front of your tongue, heart and spirit.

Camino is 'life on steroids', if you allow.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
Hi,

I have been in the advanced-preliminary stages of planning a Camino in September this year, planning to walk the entire route from SJPdP to Santiago, when I was handed a notice from the Archdiocese of Santiago that the Cathedral would be closed until 2021, to prepare for a Holy Year.

Although I come from one of the oldest (acknowledged) Catholic families in my country, I would be what Martin Sheen was described as - a "lapsed Catholic". [I have become a great deal more spiritual in my outlook but according to Church teaching, having received the Sacrament of Confirmation in my late teens, I am & will always be Catholic, something which still forms a part of my identity].

I had been planning to do the Camino, as I believe it is something, not only for me but in honour of my grandparents who were my first teachers in the faith. I would have been travelling from quite far (South Africa - probably being one of the few Africans on pilgrimage, presumably due to the very high costs involved for us).

Although I have read a great deal about the pilgrimage and interacted with others who have done it before, I have also been greatly inspired by Sheen's "The Way". In the movie, a great emphasis is placed on the Pilgrim's Mass in the Cathedral and in particular the censing with insense by the Boafumeiro. Catholics will recognise this point in Sheen's movie where the full realisation of his spiritual journey occurs - it is the only time when he can be seen making the sign of the Cross. For Catholics that is probably one of the most moving scenes in The Way.

The Cathedral will be closed - There will be no Pilgrims Mass there and - No blessing with Boafumeiro Incense. Instead, the Archdiocese is offering pilgrims Mass at other parishes in the diocese.

I am deeply disappointed by what seems like poor preparation on the part of the Diocese - after all, renovations that are needed should have been identified over the last Holy Year (Divine Mercy) and renovation plans executed in stages, so as not to inconvenience pilgrims who will travel from around the world (a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for many).

"Pilgrims will still be able to venerate the relic of St James the Great"???. For Catholics, the centre of our faith is the Eucharist (Mass) where we believe Christ becomes truly present. This happens as much in Santiago as it does in your neighbourhood Parish Church. So there is no real benefit to being in Santiago. As for the possibility to venerate the relic, perhaps this comes from an incomplete understanding of what a Saint is. A Saint is someone we are sure (that's why evidence such as miracles are investigated before canonisation) is in heaven and who is able to intercede for us before the Father. All Saints are united in a Communion. Doctrine holds that they stop being "St. Anne, St Joseph, or in this case St. James" and become of one essence (a single Mystical Body). So while earthly remains may exist, in the celestial realms there is no separate identity. There is no longer a St. James.

What many people may not know is that Saintly relics are placed into every altar at each Catholic Church around the world (including the one down your street!). So while the veneration of a relic is a "sacramental" (offers a blessing) the same blessing occurs at every church in the world. This means there is no ontological difference between trekking 800kms to Santiago or driving to Mass at the Church down the road.

Is the Cathedral and the Boafumeiro just a ceremony (the actual pilgrimage is what's spiritual) you may ask? The Catholic answer to that is NO. Catholics are a liturgical people, every action that takes place in a Mass has a special connotation (ceremony - we call them "rites" - matter a great deal to us!). And the "seat" of St James is his Cathedral.

I am indeed very disappointed, to the point where I am prepared to cancel the trip. [I actually feel like having a very serious conversation with our Apostolic Nuncio - the Pope's representative - over what can only be called clumsy handling of this matter by the Archdiocese of Santiago]. I doubt that for the next few decades me making this trip will be possible, finding 5 weeks of leave is very difficult for those of us who have jobs in the "real" world.

Am I making too much out of this, or do you think that others should/will (at least) defer their trips? [I'm particularly interested in hearing from my Catholic brothers/sisters on this].
Definitely agree with Robo,
Of course the Cathedral is a beautiful place to hear Mass but attending a Mass in a small country village is just as valid as hearing mass in a cathedral....and I think that most/all Catholics would agree with this

And I certainly would not"throw my toys out of the pram" just because the cathedral is closed for mass ...there are plenty of other churches in Santiago

Although reaching Santiago is indeed a wonderful experience...it is just a part of the Camino experience as a whole.
Regarding the comment re your job in "the real world" ..well most people who walk the Camino are in the same position.

Also re Martin Sheen blessing himself in the film "The Way" ...well it's a film...he's an actor....reading from a script.......don't take it too seriously!!

Personally, if I were you, I would go on your pilgrimage as planned ...you might even enjoy it and experience far more along the way than you would ever learn in an hour or two in the Cathedral
Best wishes for whatever you decide
Annette
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Even though a part of the Cathedral is closed for remodeling, all that is required and needed for Catholics - - who undertake a pilgrimage on a route of the Camino de Santiago - - is still present when they reach Santiago de Compostela. :)
 
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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Oh my, oh my, oh my...

Everything has already been said but still...
Martin Sheen is a fictious character from a H-wood movie.
And nobody until today ever proved that what lies in the tomb of the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela (IF anything at all) are the remains of St.James. (Please mods, don't want to stir that up!!!)

If you are in search (of anything) you can only find it on the way and not upon coming to specific place. It could be soothing for you, yes. It can give you great joy, yes. But only because of the WAY. Otherwise sit on a plane directly to Santiago and that's it. You don't have to walk it ;)

May gods be with you whichever way you decide!!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2018 Camino Portugues (Valença to Santiago)
2019 (planned) Santiago- Finisterre-Muxia
Hi,

I have been in the advanced-preliminary stages of planning a Camino in September this year, planning to walk the entire route from SJPdP to Santiago, when I was handed a notice from the Archdiocese of Santiago that the Cathedral would be closed until 2021, to prepare for a Holy Year.

Although I come from one of the oldest (acknowledged) Catholic families in my country, I would be what Martin Sheen was described as - a "lapsed Catholic". [I have become a great deal more spiritual in my outlook but according to Church teaching, having received the Sacrament of Confirmation in my late teens, I am & will always be Catholic, something which still forms a part of my identity].

I had been planning to do the Camino, as I believe it is something, not only for me but in honour of my grandparents who were my first teachers in the faith. I would have been travelling from quite far (South Africa - probably being one of the few Africans on pilgrimage, presumably due to the very high costs involved for us).

Although I have read a great deal about the pilgrimage and interacted with others who have done it before, I have also been greatly inspired by Sheen's "The Way". In the movie, a great emphasis is placed on the Pilgrim's Mass in the Cathedral and in particular the censing with insense by the Boafumeiro. Catholics will recognise this point in Sheen's movie where the full realisation of his spiritual journey occurs - it is the only time when he can be seen making the sign of the Cross. For Catholics that is probably one of the most moving scenes in The Way.

The Cathedral will be closed - There will be no Pilgrims Mass there and - No blessing with Boafumeiro Incense. Instead, the Archdiocese is offering pilgrims Mass at other parishes in the diocese.

I am deeply disappointed by what seems like poor preparation on the part of the Diocese - after all, renovations that are needed should have been identified over the last Holy Year (Divine Mercy) and renovation plans executed in stages, so as not to inconvenience pilgrims who will travel from around the world (a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for many).

"Pilgrims will still be able to venerate the relic of St James the Great"???. For Catholics, the centre of our faith is the Eucharist (Mass) where we believe Christ becomes truly present. This happens as much in Santiago as it does in your neighbourhood Parish Church. So there is no real benefit to being in Santiago. As for the possibility to venerate the relic, perhaps this comes from an incomplete understanding of what a Saint is. A Saint is someone we are sure (that's why evidence such as miracles are investigated before canonisation) is in heaven and who is able to intercede for us before the Father. All Saints are united in a Communion. Doctrine holds that they stop being "St. Anne, St Joseph, or in this case St. James" and become of one essence (a single Mystical Body). So while earthly remains may exist, in the celestial realms there is no separate identity. There is no longer a St. James.

What many people may not know is that Saintly relics are placed into every altar at each Catholic Church around the world (including the one down your street!). So while the veneration of a relic is a "sacramental" (offers a blessing) the same blessing occurs at every church in the world. This means there is no ontological difference between trekking 800kms to Santiago or driving to Mass at the Church down the road.

Is the Cathedral and the Boafumeiro just a ceremony (the actual pilgrimage is what's spiritual) you may ask? The Catholic answer to that is NO. Catholics are a liturgical people, every action that takes place in a Mass has a special connotation (ceremony - we call them "rites" - matter a great deal to us!). And the "seat" of St James is his Cathedral.

I am indeed very disappointed, to the point where I am prepared to cancel the trip. [I actually feel like having a very serious conversation with our Apostolic Nuncio - the Pope's representative - over what can only be called clumsy handling of this matter by the Archdiocese of Santiago]. I doubt that for the next few decades me making this trip will be possible, finding 5 weeks of leave is very difficult for those of us who have jobs in the "real" world.

Am I making too much out of this, or do you think that others should/will (at least) defer their trips? [I'm particularly interested in hearing from my Catholic brothers/sisters on this].
Ashley,
I experienced the Santiago Cathedral for the first time in 1977. I was not a Peregrino then, but rather a young backpacker who had spent a semester living in Malaga, Spain. I was born and raised Catholic and I was deeply touched to experience what many of us believe is the tomb of St James. 42 years later ( last year), I walked my first Camino. Although there was a sense of relief at arriving at the cathedral and seeing the botafumeiro twice in two days during mass, I was more in awe of the “journey” then the actual end. There is a pilgrim mass nearby I believe at Santa Maria de Salome church that will be just as meaningful as the one held in the cathedral. The choice is yours, but if you don’t see the botafumeiro this year, then you’ll just have to return to do another Camino. Most of us who walk one Camino find ourselves longing to do it again. For me it’s only been one year. My wife and I leave tomorrow for our second Camino!!! We plan to go back in 2021 as well, God willing! Don’t let your decision to go be determined by a huge swinging incense burner. The real Camino is the daily journey!! You will not regret it!
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Many find that the true value in the Camino is the journey, not the arrival, and have indicated so in the comments above. However, you asked if it was still worth it from a Catholic perspective if the Cathedral is closed. I'm not a Catholic, I admit, but I think that if you will bear with me for a minute or two, I can provide the answer you are looking for to your question.

From a Catholic perspective, I am given to understand, one of the primary purposes of the pilgrimage is to bring oneself into close proximity with sacred relics. Some relics are more sacred than others, leading to some places being more sought after as pilgrim destinations. The relics of St. James are particularly sacred, due to his very close association with Jesus. It is the relics that have religious significance, not the ostentatious incense burner.

Although the Cathedral is not being used for masses right now, access to the relics of St. James has not been diminished. You can still visit those parts of the cathedral where they are to be found. Thus, the Catholic religious aspect of the pilgrimage destination is just as viable as it was when mass was offered at the cathedral.

I hope that thus answers your question. You may need to save your rigorous denunciation of the Church authorities for another occasion.
 

JeepsNRoses

Camino Dreamer
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2017) May 15th SJPdP - Pamplona
CF (2019) Dec 18th Sarria - Santiago
CF (2020) May 17th SJPdP
Loosely quoting the pastor interviewed in Six Ways to Santiago, ‘if you go to Santiago hoping to find Him, you won’t find Him there unless you take Him with you.’. I hope you find in your Camino what you are truly seeking.
 

MichaelB10398

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
Expectations are such very difficult things. They change our entire perspective and often to the detriment of any activity. If you are able to put aside your expectations, then please go on pilgrimage. The Camino is wonderful. Every day, if not every moment, can be filled with spiritual significance.
However, if you cannot put aside your expectations, then do all you can to delay your Camino until next year when the cathedral is open. Your mind will be at peace and you will more easily adjust to what a pilgrimage is supposed to be.
Please do not beat yourself up about your commitment to end your pilgrimage in the cathedral - I have the same desire for each Camino. Yet, I would counsel you to set your anger aside. The Cathedral of St. James does its very best to accommodate the needs of each and every pilgrim. You are making deductions in ignorance and they are unwarranted.
Let go of any anger you have; accept what is without rancor; and make the best decisions for yourself. I am confident that you will have a marvelous Camino.
 
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Beeman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo,2017,Argonne and salvador,sept.2019
To walk a Camino is such a wonderful thing,it would be a shame to forego it due to some technicality. Plans are just that,plans. I wanted to go see the museum of fossils in Paris this summer,just noted that the fossils will not be on display in 2019. "The best laid plans of mice and men". I will have to find something else of interest to see,as I will. Plans are only that,plans. I am sure many things will arise to derail even the best-laid plans. PERHAPS you could walk on to Muxia and see some real magic!
 

CAJohn

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept/Oct 2019
I also found out that the cathedral would be closed for mass after I had already made plans to go in Sept/Oct 2019. My immediate thought was: I am still going!

Assuming that it takes 35 days to walk SJPDP to SDC. That would be 840 hours. Most masses are one hour (and I will go to a Pilgrim mass in SDC). So, 1/840 means that you will spend about 0.1% of your pilgrimage at the mass in SDC. Surely that 0.1% couldn't possibly be the sole reason for being on a pilgrimage. The other 99.9% of the time must have some meaning. Otherwise, one could just fly into SDC and attend the mass. That would be a far more logical use of one's time, if only the mass had meaning.

I think that the challenge in life is to find meaning in the big and the small. Also, I doubt that St James himself ever saw the Botafumeiro during his lifetime.
 

Beeman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo,2017,Argonne and salvador,sept.2019
Upon reflection, since you live so close,why not walk,and come again some time to visit the city and go to mass. Vacations usually go south when we try to do too much. Just a thought.
 

William Garza

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, The Jakobsweg
A church is just a collection of stones,wood and metal and paint
A basillica..the same
A cathedral...the same

Wood,stone,paint and metal.
What makes the church..a church..is the people united in common.
Any church. If my church burned down in sunday,we would simply move to under a live oak tree and hold mass in thanks that the important parts..are safe and together in communion.

Your Faith is more than outer appearances.
New
Old
Lapsed
Cradle to grave...or none at all.

If your feeling a call..some deep seated and abiding call
Some voice that draws the bows across your heartstrings..so much tears may start
Some assuredness..that you must go forth in answer...

Then go forth in faith that things will fall into place as needed
Where needed
When needed.

You are as much a part of Santiago de Compostella as the cornerstone,as much a part as the mortar that binds the stones together. Follow the call first and will the details to a higher plane.

Your devotion will be rewarded ten fold
A hundred fold for answering that tiny thundering voice.

Not all things are answered when and how you want them to
With an open heart and expecting nothing?
Sometimes you get everything.

Be blessed on your difficult decision
Be Blessed on your ...Way
 

Ivan_Prada

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés-(septiembre 2018)
Portugués-(en planes 2021)
Hi,

I have been in the advanced-preliminary stages of planning a Camino in September this year, planning to walk the entire route from SJPdP to Santiago, when I was handed a notice from the Archdiocese of Santiago that the Cathedral would be closed until 2021, to prepare for a Holy Year.

Although I come from one of the oldest (acknowledged) Catholic families in my country, I would be what Martin Sheen was described as - a "lapsed Catholic". [I have become a great deal more spiritual in my outlook but according to Church teaching, having received the Sacrament of Confirmation in my late teens, I am & will always be Catholic, something which still forms a part of my identity].

I had been planning to do the Camino, as I believe it is something, not only for me but in honour of my grandparents who were my first teachers in the faith. I would have been travelling from quite far (South Africa - probably being one of the few Africans on pilgrimage, presumably due to the very high costs involved for us).

Although I have read a great deal about the pilgrimage and interacted with others who have done it before, I have also been greatly inspired by Sheen's "The Way". In the movie, a great emphasis is placed on the Pilgrim's Mass in the Cathedral and in particular the censing with insense by the Boafumeiro. Catholics will recognise this point in Sheen's movie where the full realisation of his spiritual journey occurs - it is the only time when he can be seen making the sign of the Cross. For Catholics that is probably one of the most moving scenes in The Way.

The Cathedral will be closed - There will be no Pilgrims Mass there and - No blessing with Boafumeiro Incense. Instead, the Archdiocese is offering pilgrims Mass at other parishes in the diocese.

I am deeply disappointed by what seems like poor preparation on the part of the Diocese - after all, renovations that are needed should have been identified over the last Holy Year (Divine Mercy) and renovation plans executed in stages, so as not to inconvenience pilgrims who will travel from around the world (a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for many).

"Pilgrims will still be able to venerate the relic of St James the Great"???. For Catholics, the centre of our faith is the Eucharist (Mass) where we believe Christ becomes truly present. This happens as much in Santiago as it does in your neighbourhood Parish Church. So there is no real benefit to being in Santiago. As for the possibility to venerate the relic, perhaps this comes from an incomplete understanding of what a Saint is. A Saint is someone we are sure (that's why evidence such as miracles are investigated before canonisation) is in heaven and who is able to intercede for us before the Father. All Saints are united in a Communion. Doctrine holds that they stop being "St. Anne, St Joseph, or in this case St. James" and become of one essence (a single Mystical Body). So while earthly remains may exist, in the celestial realms there is no separate identity. There is no longer a St. James.

What many people may not know is that Saintly relics are placed into every altar at each Catholic Church around the world (including the one down your street!). So while the veneration of a relic is a "sacramental" (offers a blessing) the same blessing occurs at every church in the world. This means there is no ontological difference between trekking 800kms to Santiago or driving to Mass at the Church down the road.

Is the Cathedral and the Boafumeiro just a ceremony (the actual pilgrimage is what's spiritual) you may ask? The Catholic answer to that is NO. Catholics are a liturgical people, every action that takes place in a Mass has a special connotation (ceremony - we call them "rites" - matter a great deal to us!). And the "seat" of St James is his Cathedral.

I am indeed very disappointed, to the point where I am prepared to cancel the trip. [I actually feel like having a very serious conversation with our Apostolic Nuncio - the Pope's representative - over what can only be called clumsy handling of this matter by the Archdiocese of Santiago]. I doubt that for the next few decades me making this trip will be possible, finding 5 weeks of leave is very difficult for those of us who have jobs in the "real" world.

Am I making too much out of this, or do you think that others should/will (at least) defer their trips? [I'm particularly interested in hearing from my Catholic brothers/sisters on this].
Dear AshleyF:

Everything has been said by the other distinguished members of this forum, but
Would like to share my experience on this Pilgrimage.

Like yourself, I’m also a devout Catholic very active in my Parish. So far, I have
Done one Camino Pilgrimage, and that was last September 2018. My wife and I
Visited Santiago de Compostela the prior year together with other members of
The parish. We arrived July 25th, St. James day, after registration in the hotel; went
To the cathedral to attend mass celebration. No Botafumeiro. Next day returned to
The cathedral for mass (celebrate my birthday) and again No Botafumeiro.

Was I disappointed of the fact of being able to watch the Botafumeiro? No, I was
There for something more important; being in Communion with Christ, and give
Thanks for what he has given me. Sometime during the mass celebration, I felt
The call to realize The Camino Pilgrimage soon. So my wife and I decided to do
It the following year.

Came year 2018, my Dad passed away. My plans for Camino crumbled, but I continued
Having the feelings to do it deep inside me. Decision made, Camino in September! We
Arrived to Sarria and began the Pilgrimage, many times had the little voice asking; What
I’m doing here in the middle of nowhere and at that moment my wife turned to me and
Asked: “Why I was doing Camino?” Immediately I replied: “For Dad and all those that can’t
Do it?” When we reached Monte do Gozo, it was the most emotional part of the Pilgrimage.
When I pulled the bag of pebbles that fellow parishioners gave to left them at the monument
With their intentions; I cried in joy and prayers.

Did I mentioned that I’m a Parkinson’s patient? Don’t think so. It was a difficult journey but
Worthy. Many moments my body didn’t responded as it should, thoughts of abandon the
Pilgrimage were in abundance; but the Lord gave us the strength to complete it. We arrived
To Santiago on a Friday night exhausted, got to the hotel refreshed ourselves and when for
Dinner. Next morning, look for the Compostelas, the a moment of thanksgiving at the beautiful
Chapel in the Oficina de Acogida del Peregrino. Looking at the watch, Noon was approaching
Time for Pilgrim’s Mass and the opportunity to watch the Botafumeiro. But guess what, nothing
Happened.

Sunday arrived, our last day in Santiago before heading back home. We went to 10:30 AM mass
As we wanted to sightseeing the city afterwards. Suddenly near the end of the mass we were told
To remain seated and guess what; The Botafumeiro flee. Great moment, but greater than that,
Seated next to us was a Spanish gentleman of advanced age who told us that through out his
Whole life he was looking for the opportunity to watch the Botafumeiro, we all gave thank the
Lord for allowing fulfill his wish.

So, AshleyF; if this happened to this Spanish gentleman on his own country, imagine what could happen
To you. I say that you go in the Pilgrimage as for sure you will find more fulfilling experiences in The Camino. BTW, we are planning our second Camino this time with friends that used to be Catholics and
That have listened to our spiritual experiences. As the Lord said: “As the Father sent me to you, so I send you to the world. Become fishermen of men.”

The Botafumeiro is not what makes the Camino, is what you bring within your heart and what you get from the experience that would make you reflex in your relationship with the Lord.

Buen Camino
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
If it's any help :


But the Cathedral will remain open for visits in the areas not under construction, you will be able to see the newly repainted Portico de la Gloria and Pilgrim Mass will be moved to different churches around the City.

...

  • You will be able to enjoy the splendour of the newly renovated main façade, which was finally unveiled in summer 2018 after 6 years under scaffoldings.You will be able to admire the Romanesque Portico de la Gloria as Master Mateo imagined it in 1168. The Portico reopened to visitors after 10 years renovation works to recover its former colors on the 2nd of January 2019.
  • You will be able to experience unique and intimate services in rarely seen Churches of Santiago, most being Romanesque treasures that used to never open for visitors
...

The original 9th century church of the Cathedral, the Corticela, will remain open and offer Mass at 11 am, as it is part of a different parish. Entrance into the Capilla de la Corticela is through the Cathedral next to the Puerta de la Azbachería.

...

The main solemnities and festivities will be celebrated in the Church of San Martín Pinario (the second largest building in Spain on the Azabache Square of the Cathedral).

The Cathedral will remain open to the faithful the whole time during its normal opening hours, from 9 am to 7 pm, although some spaces might be closed off. But entrance will be from the Platerías Door only. There will be a double system of entrance and exit through different doors on the Platerías Square to facilitate the circulation in the Temple.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I have been in the advanced-preliminary stages of planning a Camino in September this year, planning to walk the entire route from SJPdP to Santiago, when I was handed a notice from the Archdiocese of Santiago that the Cathedral would be closed until 2021, to prepare for a Holy Year.
It's 'til about mid-2020 apparently.

I am deeply disappointed by what seems like poor preparation on the part of the Diocese - after all, renovations that are needed should have been identified over the last Holy Year (Divine Mercy) and renovation plans executed in stages, so as not to inconvenience pilgrims who will travel from around the world (a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for many).
The renovations will be executed in stages, and various parts of the Cathedral will be closed over the remaining 12 or so months of this work, while other parts of the building will be open.

The work was originally planned to last about 6 months, but it was discovered that a far longer period of restoration and renovation was necessary -- this is NOT due to "poor preparation", but it is due to the fact that the damage that was discovered turned out to be far worse than they initially thought it to be.

"Pilgrims will still be able to venerate the relic of St James the Great"???. For Catholics, the centre of our faith is the Eucharist (Mass) where we believe Christ becomes truly present. This happens as much in Santiago as it does in your neighbourhood Parish Church. So there is no real benefit to being in Santiago.
If you want to obtain the Indulgence that is associated with the Pilgrimage to Santiago, then attending Mass there is a requirement -- and if you personally felt it were necessary, you can still attend Mass every day at 11 AM, during these works, at the original Cathedral Altar in the Corticela.

As for the possibility to venerate the relic, perhaps this comes from an incomplete understanding of what a Saint is.
Catholics vary in their devotion to relics, but it's worth realising that the "foundation stone" of every altar of every church must be a relic.

A Saint is someone we are sure (that's why evidence such as miracles are investigated before canonisation) is in heaven and who is able to intercede for us before the Father. All Saints are united in a Communion. Doctrine holds that they stop being "St. Anne, St Joseph, or in this case St. James" and become of one essence (a single Mystical Body). So while earthly remains may exist, in the celestial realms there is no separate identity. There is no longer a St. James.
Sorry, but it's bad theology, and not Catholic, to suggest that "no separate identity" exists in the Church of the Christ in Heaven -- if that were so, how then would you explain visions and apparitions of various Saints, many of which events have been recognised by the Church ?

This notion of the loss of individual identity is of Buddhist origin, and it does not belong to the Faith.

Is ... the Boafumeiro just a ceremony ? The Catholic answer to that is NO.
erm, the answer to that is yes.

The use of that large censer within the mass at that Cathedral is certainly spectacular and can be joyous to see, but in the liturgical sense it is no different to the much smaller ones used everywhere else.

It is in any case not central at all to the Holy Mass at Santiago, even though it is very understandable that it should be a particular attraction for many people wishing to visit the cathedral and attend Mass there when it is in use.

I am indeed very disappointed, to the point where I am prepared to cancel the trip. [I actually feel like having a very serious conversation with our Apostolic Nuncio - the Pope's representative - over what can only be called clumsy handling of this matter by the Archdiocese of Santiago]. I doubt that for the next few decades me making this trip will be possible, finding 5 weeks of leave is very difficult for those of us who have jobs in the "real" world.

Am I making too much out of this, or do you think that others should/will (at least) defer their trips? [I'm particularly interested in hearing from my Catholic brothers/sisters on this].
It seems odd to me that you should put so much importance on the Botafumeiro, after having pointed out that the Mass at the Cathedral is fundamentally the same as the Mass anywhere else -- and indeed, the Mass is the Mass is the Mass.

I'd certainly not delay my current Camino for such reasons, but it has been delayed on two occasions now for a combination of injury, health needs, and stuff that I need to do at home ; not for reasons of partial inaccessibility to the Cathedral and no Masses at the main altar and etc.

There always has been and always will be an aspect of "religious tourism" to these sorts of pilgrimages, whether you undertake them quickly using motor transport or very slowly on foot, which I certainly would not denigrate as such things can form part of some people's own spirituality -- but in the Catholic sense, to undertake the Pilgrimage is to visit the relics of the Apostle, and then to attend the Mass at Santiago which in itself need not technically be at the high altar of the Cathedral but at church within the city.

Ideally yes at that high altar, but the daily 11 AM mass at the Capilla de la Corticela is for all religious and liturgical purposes a Holy Mass at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. So the possibility remains to fulfil ALL of one's religious requirements at Compostela during the period of these works, with only the use of the Botafumeiro lacking, which is hardly an essential part of those pilgrimage obligations.

So really no, I would certainly not delay a Camino over such a small matter, and certainly not in any case where the only lengthy enough period of available time were upon me, with who knows how many years 'til a future window of opportunity might open again ...
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
Currently there are 2 pilgrim masses daily (in Spanish) - the main one is at 12 in the iglesia de San Francisco and the other at 7:30pm (I think!) at the Iglesia de San Fiz near the market. I’m not a mass goer but I have heard from the other volunteers that the mass in San Francisco was lovely and that in fact was a nicer experience- in that everyone there were pilgrims focused on the mass rather than a tourist or day tripper there to see the Botafumeiro show.
There are also masses in various languages (english/French/German) in the chapel in the Pilgrims Office and some other churches every day.
 

Lindsay53

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances April / May 19
I am not a Catholic but a very lapsed Presbyterian. Part of the reason for my camino was to try to come to terms with the death of my wife nearly two years ago now. As others have said, it is all about the journey, not the destination and I found more peace and 'presence' if that is the term, in the small country churches than I did in the great cathedrals, Santiago included, and in random conversations with fellow pilgrims on the way.

I consider my pilgrimage a success without all the trappings of a large religious service, but each to their own and Ashley you must decide if it's the actual journey or the pomp and ceremony at the end you really want.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
I have also been greatly inspired by Sheen's "The Way". In the movie, a great emphasis is placed on the Pilgrim's Mass in the Cathedral and in particular the censing with insense by the Boafumeiro. Catholics will recognise this point in Sheen's movie where the full realisation of his spiritual journey occurs - it is the only time when he can be seen making the sign of the Cross. For Catholics that is probably one of the most moving scenes in The Way.
I have to confess that the 'Movie' inspired me to walk my first Camino.
But it is just a movie. Though strangely enough, my first experience was very similar.......

Having said that, the Mass in the Cathedral whilst a wonderful experience was somewhat of a 'spectacle' to be gawked at and photographed by busloads of tourists.

When you walk your Camino, you may find that those deeply religious and spirititual moments for you, are far from Santiago. Santiago for me and many others I'm sure, is just the finishing line, where I can pay my respects to the remains of St James and say prayers of thanks for being able to undertake the journey.

The 'real' connection with deeper faith, for me at least, occurs 'on the road'. In the mountains, in the forests, amongst fellow pilgrims, in the smile of a helpful local, in helping a fellow pilgrim, in accepting help myself.....
I visit almost every church that is open ............ to spend time in reflection and prayer.
I stop at many of the roadside crosses to do the same.
I walk slowly, intentionally, because I want to prolong the journey probably.

The Camino Frances (the only one I have walked so far) is 'my church'.
A church that stretches for 800 kms .......

I'll try a longer 'church' next year hopefully.
 

freeflyer123

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
www.cyclingsofties.blog
Camino de Santiago, 2013
Santiago Cathedral is beautiful and definitely an experience, but surely no more holier than any other place of worship. Indeed, to me the most moving and sacred moment was at the service I attended in Roncesvalles before truly setting off. The following days I was on a "high" with the recollection that I was being sent on my way with a blessing and God's companionship close beside me. When I reached Santiago I did not get the chance to attend the much-awaited mass for pilgrims for various reasons I won't go into here. But that did not matter because I had felt, and still do, that His presence is in and all around us at all times, whether we know or acknowledge that or not.

I would say, go, as you will never regret it, and gain more from attending Mass all along the route - as I did. Spain is a Catholic country and the opportunities to receive blessings will be plentiful.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Is the Cathedral and the Boafumeiro just a ceremony (the actual pilgrimage is what's spiritual) you may ask? The Catholic answer to that is NO. Catholics are a liturgical people, every action that takes place in a Mass has a special connotation (ceremony - we call them "rites" - matter a great deal to us
@AshleyF, you may not be aware of this: The Botafumeiro is used for liturgical reasons, in the same way as a priest would use a censer at the altar. It operates during the Cathedral’s main solemnities during the entrance procession or at the end of the Eucharist. These “solemnities” are 11 specific days in the Cathedral’s calendar. In contrast, for pilgrimage masses (when held at the Cathedral), the botafumeiro swings at the very end, or even after the end of mass, and only against payment of something like €400 per mass. The sum is usually paid by groups, also tour groups, or sometimes an individual. But if there’s been no payment, the botafumeiro will not swing.

Your disappointment is palpable but it’s personal. You will have to come to terms with it. Your apostolic nuncio will perhaps comfort you but will not intervene anywhere or with anyone. The restoration work at Santiago Cathedral are extremely costly, highly complex and well planned and have been going on for years. The current stage of the works and it’s implications was announced in January 2019. The aim is to have everything finished by the Jacobean Year of 2021.

You will also not be able to put your hand on the tree of Jesse in the Portal of Glory. This portal of the Cathedral is now again accessible to pilgrims for contemplation or admiration or just viewing after having been closed off during a long period of restoration. Many are enraged by this prohibition of an action that they describe as deeply emotional/spiritual/religious, having experienced it during an earlier pilgrimage or visit. But maybe that is not as disappointing for others because it does not figure in the movie or in current blogs?

Correction: It is shown but just in a scene without much emphasis.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
"Pilgrims will still be able to venerate the relic of St James the Great"???. For Catholics, the centre of our faith is the Eucharist (Mass) where we believe Christ becomes truly present. This happens as much in Santiago as it does in your neighbourhood Parish Church. So there is no real benefit to being in Santiago. As for the possibility to venerate the relic, perhaps this comes from an incomplete understanding of what a Saint is.
@AshleyF, no, I think you misunderstand what the notice of the Archdiocese is trying to say here. They are pointing out that, in practical terms, a large part of the cathedral nave and other parts are currently closed to pilgrims and others but that the crypt with the silver reliquary is accessible and open for prayers or contemplation. And out of curiosity, I called up the movie on YouTube: the protagonist places the case with his son’s ashes in front of the reliquary which is behind a glass screen and kneels down for prayer.

I also noticed that the son appears in one of these vision scenes as a tiraboleiro in full costume pulling the strings of the botafumeiro. Special effects in movies are amazing these days, I have no doubt that he was pasted into the scene afterwards. The fancy costumes of the eight men are not very traditional btw they were created during the last century when it was felt that something more spectacular was needed. In old photos you see the men in normal black suits and they don’t look very posh.
 

Ianinam

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2013 / CP 2018
Hospitalera at Roncesvalles:
2015/2016/2017/2018/2019
Ashley, as mentioned before: arriving in Santiago de Compostela is for many of us a disappointment,. because of all the tourists that are walking there, all the souvenirshops, the tourists with their guides with umbrellas disturbing the quietness in the cathedral, but ...... the tourists are the ones who pay for the botafumeiro at the END of the mass. Nothing more, nothing less. It has nothing to do with the mass itself.
The real spirit of a pilgrims mass you can undergo on your way, in nearly every little village along the Camino you can attend a pilgrim's mass, where you will be blessed on your way to Santiago de Compostela. Where old Spanish men and women say the old prayers and sing the old churchsongs.

When reading whast you wrote I think you feel yourself a bit special, more special than others. One lesson you learn walking a Camino is that nobody is special, or, on the other hand: everybody is special.

I would have been travelling from quite far (South Africa - probably being one of the few Africans on pilgrimage, presumably due to the very high costs involved for us).
You are not the only one travelling from far; people from all over the world walk the Camino; from Japan, from Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Russia, Korea, China, and they all have their reasons and they all had to buy a flight ticket.


I am deeply disappointed by what seems like poor preparation on the part of the Diocese - after all, renovations that are needed should have been identified over the last Holy Year (Divine Mercy) and renovation plans executed in stages, so as not to inconvenience pilgrims who will travel from around the world (a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for many).
Renovations of a huge cathedral like the one in SdC take many, many years. Over the last years the outside of the cathedral was in a renovation, which means that all the pilgrims arriving in SdC could not have a nice photo of themselves with the cathedral in the background; it was hidden by blue cloth.
Now the outside is beatiful again, the inside is undertaken.

I doubt that for the next few decades me making this trip will be possible, finding 5 weeks of leave is very difficult for those of us who have jobs in the "real" world.
For most people this is a problem, not only for you. Many people do the Camino over a few years, every year walking two or three weeks. Other people wait until they are retired (as I did) because they never can take five weeks leave.

So stop being disappointed, be grateful and humble instead: you CAN walk the Camino, you apparantly have the money, your body is not suffering from any illness which prevents you from walking day by day.
Enjoy life and enjoy your Camino! On the Camino you will learn the most important lesson, which itself is a lesson for life: you take it as it is: the path, the albergues, the food, the pain, the blisters, but also the Camino friends, the companionship, the conversations with other pilgrims.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
An article in a Galician newspaper, already ten years old, sheds some light on the actual purpose of the botafumeiro at the end of the pilgrims mass and the payment: at least at that time, only Catholics could “hire” the botafumeiro and it was seen as an ofrenda - an offering - to the Apostle, and for the price of €240 at the time, you got five minutes of thurible swinging, the singing of the hymn to the apostle, privileged seating and you or your group would be named. I think this was popular with parish groups, and they of course often travelled to Santiago not on foot but by pilgrimage bus.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
The original purpose of the Botafumiero was not really a liturgical one... They needed to deal with the smell of all those pilgrims gathered in one place. Can you imagine.....
That’s a very popular and often repeated myth. Dates back to the romantic writers/scholars of the 19th century. Indestructible.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
I can't speak about Santiago's cathedral, but some time ago I met the architect responsible of Vitoria's cathedral restoration and got the privilege of a "tour" by the basement, where technicians were delicately and painstakingly working on the consolidations and reinforcing of pillars and structures.
It is an immensely complex and difficult task, where every precaution is taken. An error, a hasty procedure, and the work of centuries and many generations can be ruined forever. We are not "owners" of this patrimony; we are just caretakers. I understand (and share) the personal frustration, but if a long closure of the cathedral is needed, so be it.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
That’s a very popular and often repeated myth. Dates back to the romantic writers/scholars of the 19th century. Indestructible.

I am not sure it is a myth? I was told this by a historian from SdC when we visited the Cathedral! Would be interested in reading documentation if there was another explanation for its original use....
 

William Garza

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, The Jakobsweg
Dont forget ladies and gentlemen
Her Camino
Her way.
I have pre requisites too
How to carry around and at least 10 lbs of camera,
Large L glass,a wallet for the sdxc cards,a carbon fibre tripod,
An ipad
Cell phone
Charger,wall wart adaptors
Cords of various kinds

Microphone gear
Batteriesx3 for camera,mic

A cane or canadian crutches to be strapped aside the bag
Knee wrap,back brace,tapes for things gone bloody,broke or needing support
A large bottle of ibuprophine
Headphones

Cloths for cool weather as i am a clydesdale and summer is a bad thing
Hat,
My stone for the cruz

Water bladder at least 2 liters

And other stuff.

I write
I photograph
I smell flowers
I am gregarious
I am a loner
I don't need company
Its good to laugh with others for shared experiences
Wine is good..whiskey is better

Etc ad nausium.
All subject to change...
Camera gear is non negotiable
No small camera..i have man hands and use a real camera...

We are all community separate and equal
And supportive of the fact that we are all called toward a small spot on the globe
Near and far we come to be community
All
 

Stroller

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2015), Frances (2016)
I found the "pilgrim" mass vastly disappointing and far less spiritual than the masses I attended while walking. The spiritual dimension was completely missing because of the large number of, presumably tourists there only for the botafumeiro, and the constant flashing of camera during the mass. Having said that the priest took all the pilgrims to one side after the mass and we performed a further rite followed by an opportunity to explain/confess our reasons for pilgrimage. A much more spiritual and humbling experience than the circus of the preceding mass.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2013. / Frances 2015. Part Camino Port 2015/Frances 2018. / Frances 2019
Hi,

I have been in the advanced-preliminary stages of planning a Camino in September this year, planning to walk the entire route from SJPdP to Santiago, when I was handed a notice from the Archdiocese of Santiago that the Cathedral would be closed until 2021, to prepare for a Holy Year.

Although I come from one of the oldest (acknowledged) Catholic families in my country, I would be what Martin Sheen was described as - a "lapsed Catholic". [I have become a great deal more spiritual in my outlook but according to Church teaching, having received the Sacrament of Confirmation in my late teens, I am & will always be Catholic, something which still forms a part of my identity].

I had been planning to do the Camino, as I believe it is something, not only for me but in honour of my grandparents who were my first teachers in the faith. I would have been travelling from quite far (South Africa - probably being one of the few Africans on pilgrimage, presumably due to the very high costs involved for us).

Although I have read a great deal about the pilgrimage and interacted with others who have done it before, I have also been greatly inspired by Sheen's "The Way". In the movie, a great emphasis is placed on the Pilgrim's Mass in the Cathedral and in particular the censing with insense by the Boafumeiro. Catholics will recognise this point in Sheen's movie where the full realisation of his spiritual journey occurs - it is the only time when he can be seen making the sign of the Cross. For Catholics that is probably one of the most moving scenes in The Way.

The Cathedral will be closed - There will be no Pilgrims Mass there and - No blessing with Boafumeiro Incense. Instead, the Archdiocese is offering pilgrims Mass at other parishes in the diocese.

I am deeply disappointed by what seems like poor preparation on the part of the Diocese - after all, renovations that are needed should have been identified over the last Holy Year (Divine Mercy) and renovation plans executed in stages, so as not to inconvenience pilgrims who will travel from around the world (a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for many).

"Pilgrims will still be able to venerate the relic of St James the Great"???. For Catholics, the centre of our faith is the Eucharist (Mass) where we believe Christ becomes truly present. This happens as much in Santiago as it does in your neighbourhood Parish Church. So there is no real benefit to being in Santiago. As for the possibility to venerate the relic, perhaps this comes from an incomplete understanding of what a Saint is. A Saint is someone we are sure (that's why evidence such as miracles are investigated before canonisation) is in heaven and who is able to intercede for us before the Father. All Saints are united in a Communion. Doctrine holds that they stop being "St. Anne, St Joseph, or in this case St. James" and become of one essence (a single Mystical Body). So while earthly remains may exist, in the celestial realms there is no separate identity. There is no longer a St. James.

What many people may not know is that Saintly relics are placed into every altar at each Catholic Church around the world (including the one down your street!). So while the veneration of a relic is a "sacramental" (offers a blessing) the same blessing occurs at every church in the world. This means there is no ontological difference between trekking 800kms to Santiago or driving to Mass at the Church down the road.

Is the Cathedral and the Boafumeiro just a ceremony (the actual pilgrimage is what's spiritual) you may ask? The Catholic answer to that is NO. Catholics are a liturgical people, every action that takes place in a Mass has a special connotation (ceremony - we call them "rites" - matter a great deal to us!). And the "seat" of St James is his Cathedral.

I am indeed very disappointed, to the point where I am prepared to cancel the trip. [I actually feel like having a very serious conversation with our Apostolic Nuncio - the Pope's representative - over what can only be called clumsy handling of this matter by the Archdiocese of Santiago]. I doubt that for the next few decades me making this trip will be possible, finding 5 weeks of leave is very difficult for those of us who have jobs in the "real" world.

Am I making too much out of this, or do you think that others should/will (at least) defer their trips? [I'm particularly interested in hearing from my Catholic brothers/sisters on this].
Hi,

I have been in the advanced-preliminary stages of planning a Camino in September this year, planning to walk the entire route from SJPdP to Santiago, when I was handed a notice from the Archdiocese of Santiago that the Cathedral would be closed until 2021, to prepare for a Holy Year.

Although I come from one of the oldest (acknowledged) Catholic families in my country, I would be what Martin Sheen was described as - a "lapsed Catholic". [I have become a great deal more spiritual in my outlook but according to Church teaching, having received the Sacrament of Confirmation in my late teens, I am & will always be Catholic, something which still forms a part of my identity].

I had been planning to do the Camino, as I believe it is something, not only for me but in honour of my grandparents who were my first teachers in the faith. I would have been travelling from quite far (South Africa - probably being one of the few Africans on pilgrimage, presumably due to the very high costs involved for us).

Although I have read a great deal about the pilgrimage and interacted with others who have done it before, I have also been greatly inspired by Sheen's "The Way". In the movie, a great emphasis is placed on the Pilgrim's Mass in the Cathedral and in particular the censing with insense by the Boafumeiro. Catholics will recognise this point in Sheen's movie where the full realisation of his spiritual journey occurs - it is the only time when he can be seen making the sign of the Cross. For Catholics that is probably one of the most moving scenes in The Way.

The Cathedral will be closed - There will be no Pilgrims Mass there and - No blessing with Boafumeiro Incense. Instead, the Archdiocese is offering pilgrims Mass at other parishes in the diocese.

I am deeply disappointed by what seems like poor preparation on the part of the Diocese - after all, renovations that are needed should have been identified over the last Holy Year (Divine Mercy) and renovation plans executed in stages, so as not to inconvenience pilgrims who will travel from around the world (a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for many).

"Pilgrims will still be able to venerate the relic of St James the Great"???. For Catholics, the centre of our faith is the Eucharist (Mass) where we believe Christ becomes truly present. This happens as much in Santiago as it does in your neighbourhood Parish Church. So there is no real benefit to being in Santiago. As for the possibility to venerate the relic, perhaps this comes from an incomplete understanding of what a Saint is. A Saint is someone we are sure (that's why evidence such as miracles are investigated before canonisation) is in heaven and who is able to intercede for us before the Father. All Saints are united in a Communion. Doctrine holds that they stop being "St. Anne, St Joseph, or in this case St. James" and become of one essence (a single Mystical Body). So while earthly remains may exist, in the celestial realms there is no separate identity. There is no longer a St. James.

What many people may not know is that Saintly relics are placed into every altar at each Catholic Church around the world (including the one down your street!). So while the veneration of a relic is a "sacramental" (offers a blessing) the same blessing occurs at every church in the world. This means there is no ontological difference between trekking 800kms to Santiago or driving to Mass at the Church down the road.

Is the Cathedral and the Boafumeiro just a ceremony (the actual pilgrimage is what's spiritual) you may ask? The Catholic answer to that is NO. Catholics are a liturgical people, every action that takes place in a Mass has a special connotation (ceremony - we call them "rites" - matter a great deal to us!). And the "seat" of St James is his Cathedral.

I am indeed very disappointed, to the point where I am prepared to cancel the trip. [I actually feel like having a very serious conversation with our Apostolic Nuncio - the Pope's representative - over what can only be called clumsy handling of this matter by the Archdiocese of Santiago]. I doubt that for the next few decades me making this trip will be possible, finding 5 weeks of leave is very difficult for those of us who have jobs in the "real" world.

Am I making too much out of this, or do you think that others should/will (at least) defer their trips? [I'm particularly interested in hearing from my Catholic brothers/sisters on this].
Hi AshleyF
I am on the Camino at the moment , I travelled from Australia knowing that there is restricted use of the Cathedral at Santiago. To me the Camino is so much more than arriving at Santiago de Compostela, that is important, but the journey and what you discover in yourself and your fellow pilgrims and so much more important. I hope you do not change your mind, it is a once in a lifetime experience.
Buen Camino
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
That’s a very popular and often repeated myth. Dates back to the romantic writers/scholars of the 19th century. Indestructible.
I had always heard that myth and thought it was true. I went to the the Cathedral website and this is what they wrote regarding the meaning of the Boatumeiro:

The Botafumeiro is used for liturgical reasons, in the same way as a priest would use a censer at the altar. It operates during the Cathedral’s main solemnities during the entrance procession or at the end of the Eucharist. The purpose of this great censer is to symbolise the true attitude of the believer. In the same way that the smoke from the incense rises to the top of the temple’s naves, so must the prayers of the pilgrims rise to reach the heart of God. And in the same manner that the aroma of the incense perfumes the entire basilica, so must Christians, with their virtues and the testimony of their lives, impregnate with the good scent of Christ, the society that they live in.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
I was quite flabbergasted by the OP's post, so much so that I didn't know how to initiate my response! Luckily other Forum members stepped in and played their part.

What really surprised me was the reference to that very, very Hollywood film The Way (ghastly IMHO)! That film is pure fiction! Yes, Martin Sheen has been to Santiago but by car (also fine but that's not the issue at hand). Anyone thinking that the Camino is that portrayed in the movie is in for a big surprise!

The flying of the Botafumiero has become a show with people taking pictures and videos although prohibited. If you were willing to lay down big €€ it was yours to see.

Hugging Santiago and paying respects to his remains are both possible. And you can still stand in awe of the Cathedral for free😉
 

Michael-FL

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portugues (2017)
Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2021)
Hi Ashley, As a fellow Catholic, I was deeply moved by your post and struck by your motivation for embarking on one of the three great pilgrimages of Christendom. I would not let the closure or partial closure of the Cathedral discourage you. To begin with, the exterior renovations are all but complete and you will see the western facade and Portico of Glory in well, all its glory. True much of of the nave and transepts will be off-limits, but I am not sure about access to the giant statue of St James behind the High Altar and to his sarcophagus in the crypt beneath the Sanctuary.
May I suggest that if you are seeking the spiritual experience of the Camino, it starts at your front door and continues every step on the Way. There are roadside crosses, shrines, oratories and churches all along the way. Many will be open; some closed. Many of the towns offer Pilgrim Masses abd blessings to pilgrims. Trust me, I had a great deal of time to pray along the way and to be alone with God, but also importantly, to meet some truly wonderful people and to see God in them. By all means, go! Don’t let the renovations stop you. It’s the spiritual journey which is most important.
 

dfox

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (4/2017)
CP (5/2019)
This may already been said before:

The Cathedral is not closed. Pilgrims can still go in and pay respect to (hug) "Santiago" and go to the crept to pray in front of "Santiago's relic".

There are many beautiful churches and chapels within 5 to 10 minutes walk from the Cathedral for praying/quiet time.

One of the great places for christian fellowship in SdC is the chapel in the Pilgrim Office, particularly when before, during and after a mass.

I love to visit and mediate in the several hundred year's old Monastery/monastic church next to the San Martin Hotel/albergue and inside the Museum.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
I am not a Catholic or a practicing member of my faith, Judaism. Nowhere in your long explanation did you even talk about the meaning of Pilgrimage for you or why you want to walk. No need to repeat what others have written regarding a movie, or a mass or the difficulty of renovation. No mention of the meaning of Pilgrimage or why you want to walk is the question. I am preparing to walk for the 5th time and I still don't know why I am going I just know I need to go.
We all have judgements and project them on to others and ourselves. Your whole letter is one big judgement. If there is anyone I have ever met that needs to walk it is you. Your faith is centered around the teachings of Christ not a building. The spirit, the love that Jesus felt for humanity is apparent with every step that you take. The Church in Santiago is not just a Catholic Church my friend, it is mine as much as it is yours. It is a refuge for all Pilgrims. So it may be closed. A little sad but as others have said it has become a major tourist destination with way more camera clickers than Pilgrims.
You need to examine the reasons you are walking. As someone else pointed out the mass is just a small sliver of your journey. As I and so many others can attest you will attend other masses, have other vastly more profound and spiritual experiences walking than you will ever receive at the Pilgrim Mass.
You need to remember also the Camino is really hard, especially for first time walkers. If the only reason you want to go is because you want to go to the mass at the Cathedral, open or not, I would bet you will not make it.
 
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Michael-FL

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portugues (2017)
Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2021)
I have to confess that the 'Movie' inspired me to walk my first Camino.
But it is just a movie. Though strangely enough, my first experience was very similar.......

Having said that, the Mass in the Cathedral whilst a wonderful experience was somewhat of a 'spectacle' to be gawked at and photographed by busloads of tourists.

When you walk your Camino, you may find that those deeply religious and spirititual moments for you, are far from Santiago. Santiago for me and many others I'm sure, is just the finishing line, where I can pay my respects to the remains of St James and say prayers of thanks for being able to undertake the journey.

The 'real' connection with deeper faith, for me at least, occurs 'on the road'. In the mountains, in the forests, amongst fellow pilgrims, in the smile of a helpful local, in helping a fellow pilgrim, in accepting help myself.....
I visit almost every church that is open ............ to spend time in reflection and prayer.
I stop at many of the roadside crosses to do the same.
I walk slowly, intentionally, because I want to prolong the journey probably.

The Camino Frances (the only one I have walked so far) is 'my church'.
A church that stretches for 800 kms .......

I'll try a longer 'church' next year hopefully.
Robo, you nailed it! - Mike
 

David Manzo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugese (2018)
Hi,

I have been in the advanced-preliminary stages of planning a Camino in September this year, planning to walk the entire route from SJPdP to Santiago, when I was handed a notice from the Archdiocese of Santiago that the Cathedral would be closed until 2021, to prepare for a Holy Year.

Although I come from one of the oldest (acknowledged) Catholic families in my country, I would be what Martin Sheen was described as - a "lapsed Catholic". [I have become a great deal more spiritual in my outlook but according to Church teaching, having received the Sacrament of Confirmation in my late teens, I am & will always be Catholic, something which still forms a part of my identity].

I had been planning to do the Camino, as I believe it is something, not only for me but in honour of my grandparents who were my first teachers in the faith. I would have been travelling from quite far (South Africa - probably being one of the few Africans on pilgrimage, presumably due to the very high costs involved for us).

Although I have read a great deal about the pilgrimage and interacted with others who have done it before, I have also been greatly inspired by Sheen's "The Way". In the movie, a great emphasis is placed on the Pilgrim's Mass in the Cathedral and in particular the censing with insense by the Boafumeiro. Catholics will recognise this point in Sheen's movie where the full realisation of his spiritual journey occurs - it is the only time when he can be seen making the sign of the Cross. For Catholics that is probably one of the most moving scenes in The Way.

The Cathedral will be closed - There will be no Pilgrims Mass there and - No blessing with Boafumeiro Incense. Instead, the Archdiocese is offering pilgrims Mass at other parishes in the diocese.

I am deeply disappointed by what seems like poor preparation on the part of the Diocese - after all, renovations that are needed should have been identified over the last Holy Year (Divine Mercy) and renovation plans executed in stages, so as not to inconvenience pilgrims who will travel from around the world (a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for many).

"Pilgrims will still be able to venerate the relic of St James the Great"???. For Catholics, the centre of our faith is the Eucharist (Mass) where we believe Christ becomes truly present. This happens as much in Santiago as it does in your neighbourhood Parish Church. So there is no real benefit to being in Santiago. As for the possibility to venerate the relic, perhaps this comes from an incomplete understanding of what a Saint is. A Saint is someone we are sure (that's why evidence such as miracles are investigated before canonisation) is in heaven and who is able to intercede for us before the Father. All Saints are united in a Communion. Doctrine holds that they stop being "St. Anne, St Joseph, or in this case St. James" and become of one essence (a single Mystical Body). So while earthly remains may exist, in the celestial realms there is no separate identity. There is no longer a St. James.

What many people may not know is that Saintly relics are placed into every altar at each Catholic Church around the world (including the one down your street!). So while the veneration of a relic is a "sacramental" (offers a blessing) the same blessing occurs at every church in the world. This means there is no ontological difference between trekking 800kms to Santiago or driving to Mass at the Church down the road.

Is the Cathedral and the Boafumeiro just a ceremony (the actual pilgrimage is what's spiritual) you may ask? The Catholic answer to that is NO. Catholics are a liturgical people, every action that takes place in a Mass has a special connotation (ceremony - we call them "rites" - matter a great deal to us!). And the "seat" of St James is his Cathedral.

I am indeed very disappointed, to the point where I am prepared to cancel the trip. [I actually feel like having a very serious conversation with our Apostolic Nuncio - the Pope's representative - over what can only be called clumsy handling of this matter by the Archdiocese of Santiago]. I doubt that for the next few decades me making this trip will be possible, finding 5 weeks of leave is very difficult for those of us who have jobs in the "real" world.

Am I making too much out of this, or do you think that others should/will (at least) defer their trips? [I'm particularly interested in hearing from my Catholic brothers/sisters on this].

Yes the Cathedral was beautiful and much appreciated and the Pilgrim Mass was moving even though Boafumeiro was not used. But what I found special along The Way were the quite hours of prayer as I walked each day.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sept-Nov 2016)
Camino Podiensis/Le Puy (Sept 2019)
Camino Frances (Oct 2019)
When reading whast you wrote I think you feel yourself a bit special, more special than others. One lesson you learn walking a Camino is that nobody is special, or, on the other hand: everybody is special.
You are not the only one travelling from far; people from all over the world walk the Camino; from Japan, from Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Russia, Korea, China, and they all have their reasons and they all had to buy a flight ticket
Thank you for articulating what I felt, but could not put into words!
 
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JudyJane

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017 May or August
I just finished Camino the end of May. And decided I would return after the holy year. I do want to attend the Pilgrim Mass, then walk on to the 0 kilimeter marker. Saving my money now.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
So many fabulous and thoughtful posts have already been written in reply to the OP, so I shall not pile on. Instead, I will merely point out that the Cathedral is not CLOSED. Please let me expound and explain further.

Renovations have been ongoing, first outside, and then inside, since 2014. The reason for this staging of the work was to FIRST ensure the structure was secure, the entire building was weatherproof and could protect the interior.

The remaining work is mostly on the interior. Having completed the exterior to safeguard the interior from further water penetration and damage, intensive work is underway to make the Cathedral ready as fast as can be done.

The work could only be done in a certain staged manner, at a certain pace, and provided funds were available. The cathedral is not like a tract home one can slap up in 90 calendar days.

A renovation like this has not been done for more than 150 years. Moreover, whenever any complex project like this is done, unpleasant mistakes always evince themselves. If you have ever done a global renovation on even private home...I have...you can understand what I mean. There are always unforeseen 'oopsies' cropping up.

In this case, there have been some costly surprises that brought about delays in work. In fact, needed renovations at the Pilgrim Office to expand capacity for the coming Holy Year surge, had to be stopped, and the funding transferred to the Cathedral project as that is Job Number One. We all have our fingers crossed on this one. But it was necessary.

All this said, Pilgrims and Daily Masses have merely been moved to other, nearly as historic churches nearby. The Mass is always the Mass, regardless of where it is served. "Wherever two or more of you are gathered in My name, I am there..."

The Daily Pilgrim Mass at noon is offered at the Church of San Francisco. Other daily, Saturday and Sunday Masses are offered at Santa Maria Salome on Rua Nova. Santa Maria Salome is the mother of Saint James / Santiago. So this is entirely appropriate, at least IMHO.

Special ceremonial Masses will be offered at the Church of San Martin Pinero as this church is also designated a special historic place. So, this is where the Masses on the Feast of Santiago will be offered this July.

About the only feature missing is the flight of the famous (some would say infamous Botafumeiro). As no other church has one suspended like the Cathedral, it is clearly not being used for the duration of the renovations. If you really need to see it, try You Tube. There are literally hundreds of versions of the standard ceremony that has been seen for centuries.

The most important 'goal' for the religious-intended pilgrim is to venerate the relics of Santiago at the Cathedral. The Cathedral is OPEN for this practice. You can still enter the Cathedral via the usual way, at the South Transept. Once inside, you can better appreciate the scope of the total renovation and admire the work being done. ALL the pews and confessionals are gone. There are scaffolding and plastic draperies everywhere. But you can still tour the inside of the Cathedral to see it 'undressed;' so to speak.

You can access the statue of the Saint above the main altar to perform the traditional "embracero." Then you can enter the crypt under the main altar to venerate the relics.

In my view, this is the core of the entire Camino de Santiago. The Cathedral, per se, is just a container, a shiny bit of gift wrapping if you will.

Finally, for what it is worth, I am reliably informed that they are working to have the Cathedral fully functional NEXT YEAR, in 2020. We shall see what speed bumps evince themselves in the coming year.

Santiago will alway be there waiting for you. Come and join us in our magnificent obsession...

Hope this helps the dialog.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
Hi,

I have been in the advanced-preliminary stages of planning a Camino in September this year, planning to walk the entire route from SJPdP to Santiago, when I was handed a notice from the Archdiocese of Santiago that the Cathedral would be closed until 2021, to prepare for a Holy Year.

Although I come from one of the oldest (acknowledged) Catholic families in my country, I would be what Martin Sheen was described as - a "lapsed Catholic". [I have become a great deal more spiritual in my outlook but according to Church teaching, having received the Sacrament of Confirmation in my late teens, I am & will always be Catholic, something which still forms a part of my identity].

I had been planning to do the Camino, as I believe it is something, not only for me but in honour of my grandparents who were my first teachers in the faith. I would have been travelling from quite far (South Africa - probably being one of the few Africans on pilgrimage, presumably due to the very high costs involved for us).

Although I have read a great deal about the pilgrimage and interacted with others who have done it before, I have also been greatly inspired by Sheen's "The Way". In the movie, a great emphasis is placed on the Pilgrim's Mass in the Cathedral and in particular the censing with insense by the Boafumeiro. Catholics will recognise this point in Sheen's movie where the full realisation of his spiritual journey occurs - it is the only time when he can be seen making the sign of the Cross. For Catholics that is probably one of the most moving scenes in The Way.

The Cathedral will be closed - There will be no Pilgrims Mass there and - No blessing with Boafumeiro Incense. Instead, the Archdiocese is offering pilgrims Mass at other parishes in the diocese.

I am deeply disappointed by what seems like poor preparation on the part of the Diocese - after all, renovations that are needed should have been identified over the last Holy Year (Divine Mercy) and renovation plans executed in stages, so as not to inconvenience pilgrims who will travel from around the world (a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for many).

"Pilgrims will still be able to venerate the relic of St James the Great"???. For Catholics, the centre of our faith is the Eucharist (Mass) where we believe Christ becomes truly present. This happens as much in Santiago as it does in your neighbourhood Parish Church. So there is no real benefit to being in Santiago. As for the possibility to venerate the relic, perhaps this comes from an incomplete understanding of what a Saint is. A Saint is someone we are sure (that's why evidence such as miracles are investigated before canonisation) is in heaven and who is able to intercede for us before the Father. All Saints are united in a Communion. Doctrine holds that they stop being "St. Anne, St Joseph, or in this case St. James" and become of one essence (a single Mystical Body). So while earthly remains may exist, in the celestial realms there is no separate identity. There is no longer a St. James.

What many people may not know is that Saintly relics are placed into every altar at each Catholic Church around the world (including the one down your street!). So while the veneration of a relic is a "sacramental" (offers a blessing) the same blessing occurs at every church in the world. This means there is no ontological difference between trekking 800kms to Santiago or driving to Mass at the Church down the road.

Is the Cathedral and the Boafumeiro just a ceremony (the actual pilgrimage is what's spiritual) you may ask? The Catholic answer to that is NO. Catholics are a liturgical people, every action that takes place in a Mass has a special connotation (ceremony - we call them "rites" - matter a great deal to us!). And the "seat" of St James is his Cathedral.

I am indeed very disappointed, to the point where I am prepared to cancel the trip. [I actually feel like having a very serious conversation with our Apostolic Nuncio - the Pope's representative - over what can only be called clumsy handling of this matter by the Archdiocese of Santiago]. I doubt that for the next few decades me making this trip will be possible, finding 5 weeks of leave is very difficult for those of us who have jobs in the "real" world.

Am I making too much out of this, or do you think that others should/will (at least) defer their trips? [I'm particularly interested in hearing from my Catholic brothers/sisters on this].
You are making far too much out of this. Far, far too much, which you will see if you walk the Camino with your brothers and sisters.
 

Ivan_Prada

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés-(septiembre 2018)
Portugués-(en planes 2021)
I am not a Catholic or a practicing member of my faith, Judaism. No where in your long explanation did you even talk about the meaning of Pilgrimage for you or why you want to walk. No need to repeat what others have written regarding a movie, or a mass or the difficulty of renovation. No mention of the meaning of Pilgrimage or why you want to walk. I am preparing to walk for the 5th time and I still don't know why I am going I just know I need to go.
We all have judgements and project them on to others and ourselves. Your whole letter is one big judgement. If there is anyone I have ever met that needs to walk it is you. Your faith is centered around the teachings of Christ not a building. The spirit, the love that Jesus felt for humanity is apparent with every step that you take. The Church in Santiago is not just a Catholic Church my friend, it is mine as much as it is yours. It is a refuge for all Pilgrims. So it may be closed. A little sad but as others have said it has become a major tourist destination with way more camera clickers than Pilgrims.
You need to examine the reasons you are walking. As someone else pointed out the mass is just a small sliver of your journey. As I and so many others can attest you will attend other masses, have other vastly more profound and spiritual experiences walking than you will ever receive at the Pilgrim Mass.
You need to remember also the Camino is really hard, especially for first time walkers. If the only reason you want to go is because you want to go to the mass at the Cathedral, open or not, I would bet you will not make it.
AMÉN....
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
Voie de Paris / Tours Aulnay to Saintes 2017
Camino del Baztan 2018
Fortunately in 2016 at the end of our final stage on the CF we attended the mass in the cathedral and saw the Botafumeiro in action.
This year at the end of our Portuguese Camino this wasn't possible but thanks to this forum we knew that before we set out. However this time seeing the cathedral without scaffolding on the exterior was a real treat.
When we collected our Compostelas there was a mass in English taking place in the chapel next to the pilgrim office. We were in time to join in for the last half and I actually found that peaceful and a time for reflection. No tourists filming here. As a non Catholic I found the blessing quite a moving experience.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
I had always heard that myth and thought it was true. I went to the the Cathedral website and this is what they wrote regarding the meaning of the Boatumeiro:

The Botafumeiro is used for liturgical reasons, in the same way as a priest would use a censer at the altar. It operates during the Cathedral’s main solemnities during the entrance procession or at the end of the Eucharist. The purpose of this great censer is to symbolise the true attitude of the believer. In the same way that the smoke from the incense rises to the top of the temple’s naves, so must the prayers of the pilgrims rise to reach the heart of God. And in the same manner that the aroma of the incense perfumes the entire basilica, so must Christians, with their virtues and the testimony of their lives, impregnate with the good scent of Christ, the society that they live in.
Yes, that is the purpose of a small incenser in the liturgy as well. However, that does not explore the etiology of such a large Botafumeiro in SdC.
 

Catahoula19

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances - 2014
Portuguese - 2016
Chemin St Jacques - TBD
Via Francigena - TBD
Hi,

I have been in the advanced-preliminary stages of planning a Camino in September this year, planning to walk the entire route from SJPdP to Santiago, when I was handed a notice from the Archdiocese of Santiago that the Cathedral would be closed until 2021, to prepare for a Holy Year.

Although I come from one of the oldest (acknowledged) Catholic families in my country, I would be what Martin Sheen was described as - a "lapsed Catholic". [I have become a great deal more spiritual in my outlook but according to Church teaching, having received the Sacrament of Confirmation in my late teens, I am & will always be Catholic, something which still forms a part of my identity].

I had been planning to do the Camino, as I believe it is something, not only for me but in honour of my grandparents who were my first teachers in the faith. I would have been travelling from quite far (South Africa - probably being one of the few Africans on pilgrimage, presumably due to the very high costs involved for us).

Although I have read a great deal about the pilgrimage and interacted with others who have done it before, I have also been greatly inspired by Sheen's "The Way". In the movie, a great emphasis is placed on the Pilgrim's Mass in the Cathedral and in particular the censing with insense by the Boafumeiro. Catholics will recognise this point in Sheen's movie where the full realisation of his spiritual journey occurs - it is the only time when he can be seen making the sign of the Cross. For Catholics that is probably one of the most moving scenes in The Way.

The Cathedral will be closed - There will be no Pilgrims Mass there and - No blessing with Boafumeiro Incense. Instead, the Archdiocese is offering pilgrims Mass at other parishes in the diocese.

I am deeply disappointed by what seems like poor preparation on the part of the Diocese - after all, renovations that are needed should have been identified over the last Holy Year (Divine Mercy) and renovation plans executed in stages, so as not to inconvenience pilgrims who will travel from around the world (a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for many).

"Pilgrims will still be able to venerate the relic of St James the Great"???. For Catholics, the centre of our faith is the Eucharist (Mass) where we believe Christ becomes truly present. This happens as much in Santiago as it does in your neighbourhood Parish Church. So there is no real benefit to being in Santiago. As for the possibility to venerate the relic, perhaps this comes from an incomplete understanding of what a Saint is. A Saint is someone we are sure (that's why evidence such as miracles are investigated before canonisation) is in heaven and who is able to intercede for us before the Father. All Saints are united in a Communion. Doctrine holds that they stop being "St. Anne, St Joseph, or in this case St. James" and become of one essence (a single Mystical Body). So while earthly remains may exist, in the celestial realms there is no separate identity. There is no longer a St. James.

What many people may not know is that Saintly relics are placed into every altar at each Catholic Church around the world (including the one down your street!). So while the veneration of a relic is a "sacramental" (offers a blessing) the same blessing occurs at every church in the world. This means there is no ontological difference between trekking 800kms to Santiago or driving to Mass at the Church down the road.

Is the Cathedral and the Boafumeiro just a ceremony (the actual pilgrimage is what's spiritual) you may ask? The Catholic answer to that is NO. Catholics are a liturgical people, every action that takes place in a Mass has a special connotation (ceremony - we call them "rites" - matter a great deal to us!). And the "seat" of St James is his Cathedral.

I am indeed very disappointed, to the point where I am prepared to cancel the trip. [I actually feel like having a very serious conversation with our Apostolic Nuncio - the Pope's representative - over what can only be called clumsy handling of this matter by the Archdiocese of Santiago]. I doubt that for the next few decades me making this trip will be possible, finding 5 weeks of leave is very difficult for those of us who have jobs in the "real" world.

Am I making too much out of this, or do you think that others should/will (at least) defer their trips? [I'm particularly interested in hearing from my Catholic brothers/sisters on this].
We arrived to the cathedral draped in scaffolding in 2015. It mattered not a bit. You won't understand unless you go.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
Yes, that is the purpose of a small incenser in the liturgy as well. However, that does not explore the etiology of such a large Botafumeiro in ScD.
Being a heathen who knows very little about anything I have no idea why they have such different sizes that they swing. If you know the history of this I would love to know more. Please enlighten me. I do love history and would love to know about this. Europe during those times was not known for its hygiene or attention to cleanliness so I would not be surprised if there is truth to swinging a large Botafumeiro to mask the smell of the Pilgrims. I remember centuries ago when I was in college and I took a class in Medieval British history. The professor mentioned that many women in the the courts of Europe would never remove their makeup and would just put new make up on top of old. I also remember reading that Louis XVI took only three baths his whole life. Right after his birth, before his marriage to Marie-Antoinette and before his execution. I have no idea if either of these stories have any truth or are just fun myths.
 

MaineSally

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cam Frances SJPDP to Santiago ('17): Finisterre ('17); Muxia ('17)
Camino Portuguese - April ('19)
Ashley,
I experienced the Santiago Cathedral for the first time in 1977. I was not a Peregrino then, but rather a young backpacker who had spent a semester living in Malaga, Spain. I was born and raised Catholic and I was deeply touched to experience what many of us believe is the tomb of St James. 42 years later ( last year), I walked my first Camino. Although there was a sense of relief at arriving at the cathedral and seeing the botafumeiro twice in two days during mass, I was more in awe of the “journey” then the actual end. There is a pilgrim mass nearby I believe at Santa Maria de Salome church that will be just as meaningful as the one held in the cathedral. The choice is yours, but if you don’t see the botafumeiro this year, then you’ll just have to return to do another Camino. Most of us who walk one Camino find ourselves longing to do it again. For me it’s only been one year. My wife and I leave tomorrow for our second Camino!!! We plan to go back in 2021 as well, God willing! Don’t let your decision to go be determined by a huge swinging incense burner. The real Camino is the daily journey!! You will not regret it!
Have a wonderful experience! Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes/Burgos/SdeC 77; Frances 12,15,17; Finisterre 17; Lourdes/Aragones18; Logrono-Leon 19.
Thinking of future walks. ... and my vocation requires that I plan far in advance ...

When will the Cathedral reopen?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Walking the French route in May-June (2019)
Hi,

I have been in the advanced-preliminary stages of planning a Camino in September this year, planning to walk the entire route from SJPdP to Santiago, when I was handed a notice from the Archdiocese of Santiago that the Cathedral would be closed until 2021, to prepare for a Holy Year.

Although I come from one of the oldest (acknowledged) Catholic families in my country, I would be what Martin Sheen was described as - a "lapsed Catholic". [I have become a great deal more spiritual in my outlook but according to Church teaching, having received the Sacrament of Confirmation in my late teens, I am & will always be Catholic, something which still forms a part of my identity].

I had been planning to do the Camino, as I believe it is something, not only for me but in honour of my grandparents who were my first teachers in the faith. I would have been travelling from quite far (South Africa - probably being one of the few Africans on pilgrimage, presumably due to the very high costs involved for us).

Although I have read a great deal about the pilgrimage and interacted with others who have done it before, I have also been greatly inspired by Sheen's "The Way". In the movie, a great emphasis is placed on the Pilgrim's Mass in the Cathedral and in particular the censing with insense by the Boafumeiro. Catholics will recognise this point in Sheen's movie where the full realisation of his spiritual journey occurs - it is the only time when he can be seen making the sign of the Cross. For Catholics that is probably one of the most moving scenes in The Way.

The Cathedral will be closed - There will be no Pilgrims Mass there and - No blessing with Boafumeiro Incense. Instead, the Archdiocese is offering pilgrims Mass at other parishes in the diocese.

I am deeply disappointed by what seems like poor preparation on the part of the Diocese - after all, renovations that are needed should have been identified over the last Holy Year (Divine Mercy) and renovation plans executed in stages, so as not to inconvenience pilgrims who will travel from around the world (a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for many).

"Pilgrims will still be able to venerate the relic of St James the Great"???. For Catholics, the centre of our faith is the Eucharist (Mass) where we believe Christ becomes truly present. This happens as much in Santiago as it does in your neighbourhood Parish Church. So there is no real benefit to being in Santiago. As for the possibility to venerate the relic, perhaps this comes from an incomplete understanding of what a Saint is. A Saint is someone we are sure (that's why evidence such as miracles are investigated before canonisation) is in heaven and who is able to intercede for us before the Father. All Saints are united in a Communion. Doctrine holds that they stop being "St. Anne, St Joseph, or in this case St. James" and become of one essence (a single Mystical Body). So while earthly remains may exist, in the celestial realms there is no separate identity. There is no longer a St. James.

What many people may not know is that Saintly relics are placed into every altar at each Catholic Church around the world (including the one down your street!). So while the veneration of a relic is a "sacramental" (offers a blessing) the same blessing occurs at every church in the world. This means there is no ontological difference between trekking 800kms to Santiago or driving to Mass at the Church down the road.

Is the Cathedral and the Boafumeiro just a ceremony (the actual pilgrimage is what's spiritual) you may ask? The Catholic answer to that is NO. Catholics are a liturgical people, every action that takes place in a Mass has a special connotation (ceremony - we call them "rites" - matter a great deal to us!). And the "seat" of St James is his Cathedral.

I am indeed very disappointed, to the point where I am prepared to cancel the trip. [I actually feel like having a very serious conversation with our Apostolic Nuncio - the Pope's representative - over what can only be called clumsy handling of this matter by the Archdiocese of Santiago]. I doubt that for the next few decades me making this trip will be possible, finding 5 weeks of leave is very difficult for those of us who have jobs in the "real" world.

Am I making too much out of this, or do you think that others should/will (at least) defer their trips? [I'm particularly interested in hearing from my Catholic brothers/sisters on this].
Speaking as a cradle Irish Catholic I have two thoughts:

All along the Camino are churches, shrines, relics, ancient crosses and many other holy sites at which to light a candle, say a prayer, hear Mass or otherwise experience your faith. It is a daily opportunity and one of the great beauties of the Camino for cultural or religious Catholics.

Second, the Pilgrim Mass now held at the Church of San Francisco is stunning, bringing many to tears. Get there early. The scale and beauty of that church alone exceeds that of many regional cathedrals around the world. It is a powerful moment.

The massive incense burner in the Cathedral is a bonus but not central to our faith as far as I know.

For me, tho, the pupose of the walk is the journey itself bathed in the light of Spirit. The destination was not the central value of my walk, though lovely in itself. My advice: forgive the Archdiocese and move on.

You will be amazed by the many saints to greet you along the Way.

Jessie
Seattle
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021"
The work was originally planned to last about 6 months, but it was discovered that a far longer period of restoration and renovation was necessary -- this is NOT due to "poor preparation", but it is due to the fact that the damage that was discovered turned out to be far worse than they initially thought it to be.
Not to start anything but from my belfry this happens way to often in a lot of places and with many projects.
We estimated X in money and Y in time...and then 'something gets discovered' (ALWAYS!) and Lo-and-Behold the Y gets multiplied by 100 which somehow transforms into X being multiplied by 1000.
Yeah...poor preparation because one should always through at least 20% contingencies just in case....
A lot of it is 'political' in any case
 

Casserole

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2009 - Solo, SJPdP to Finisterre
2018 - Daughter (2) and Hubby, Sarria to SdC
I agree with everyone. In the end, its not about the cathedral. It is disappointing that you won't be able to experience it, but of all the time spent on the camino, it doesn't even rank in my top 10.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
It is easy for those who do not walk the Camino for religious reasons or those that have walked it before and were able to experience the joy of the cathedral in Santiago upon finishing to say it doesn't matter. That the walk is more important, or that the cathedral will always be there for later visits etc etc etc. I say that if the SDC cathedral part of the Camino is that important to you for sure cancel (if possible) your current plans and reschedule. I certainly would if I had not walked it before. It was an important part of the Camino to me and still is.
After all, it is the sole reason the Way of Saint James exists. Medieval pilgrims did not walk it to rethink career choices, celebrate retirement, get over a recent divorce or breakup, try and lose weight, get more fit, cheap vacation, get a compostela to put in their CV or university application, pen a quick book to put on amazon, make a youtube video with a million views etc.
They walked it for Saint James and seeing the cathedral.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
Being a heathen who knows very little about anything I have no idea why they have such different sizes that they swing. If you know the history of this I would love to know more. Please enlighten me. I do love history and would love to know about this. Europe during those times was not known for its hygiene or attention to cleanliness so I would not be surprised if there is truth to swinging a large Botafumeiro to mask the smell of the Pilgrims. I remember centuries ago when I was in college and I took a class in Medieval British history. The professor mentioned that many women in the the courts of Europe would never remove their makeup and would just put new make up on top of old. I also remember reading that Louis XVI took only three baths his whole life. Right after his birth, before his marriage to Marie-Antoinette and before his execution. I have no idea if either of these stories have any truth or are just fun myths.
Take a bath before marriage?.... How do you think the wedding bouquet...came into being....

Not only was I told by a historian in SdC that the the botafumeiro’s size was to mask the smell...but that they built a fountain where pilgrims were required to take off their cloths and bath in it before entering the Cathedral. I believe the old clothes were burned? I asked her how often they changed the water...she said infrequently!
 
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Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
Abruptly, he posed a question that no one else on the Camino had asked me. “This Camino…would you do it again?”

“Yeah, I would do it again,” I said.

“Not me. If you want to find God, then get yourself a bedpan and spend time at a hospice. That would be better than all this walking. At times it feels like aimless wandering, don’t you think? Volunteer your time helping really sick people and then you can find God,” said Jersey.

It was as if he had paid a ticket for a ride at Disney World and expected a trophy or an award presentation when the ride ended. Buy a Camino ticket and immediately get “liked” on God’s Facebook page. His worldview was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Walk the Camino and, at the end, the meaning of life would be revealed. The idea that the Camino was a process and not an end result had not yet occurred to Jersey.

Zen monks’ brain waves change due to constant meditation; they call this neuroplasticity. Same thing happens on the Camino, but you have to be in tune with the changes. It is an inner journey, not a guided tour through Hollywood. There is a heightened awareness in mindfulness.

The journey is not about where and when you end up, but how you experience the small moments that are the gifts you find on the way. This guy was so busy rushing to get done that he was missing all the gifts, all the Easter eggs hidden along the way.

From "Slow Camino" by Terence Callery
 

Annalisa

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Arrive in Biarritz on June 25, 2017
If it's any help :


But the Cathedral will remain open for visits in the areas not under construction, you will be able to see the newly repainted Portico de la Gloria and Pilgrim Mass will be moved to different churches around the City.

...

  • You will be able to enjoy the splendour of the newly renovated main façade, which was finally unveiled in summer 2018 after 6 years under scaffoldings.You will be able to admire the Romanesque Portico de la Gloria as Master Mateo imagined it in 1168. The Portico reopened to visitors after 10 years renovation works to recover its former colors on the 2nd of January 2019.
  • You will be able to experience unique and intimate services in rarely seen Churches of Santiago, most being Romanesque treasures that used to never open for visitors
...

The original 9th century church of the Cathedral, the Corticela, will remain open and offer Mass at 11 am, as it is part of a different parish. Entrance into the Capilla de la Corticela is through the Cathedral next to the Puerta de la Azbachería.

...

The main solemnities and festivities will be celebrated in the Church of San Martín Pinario (the second largest building in Spain on the Azabache Square of the Cathedral).

The Cathedral will remain open to the faithful the whole time during its normal opening hours, from 9 am to 7 pm, although some spaces might be closed off. But entrance will be from the Platerías Door only. There will be a double system of entrance and exit through different doors on the Platerías Square to facilitate the circulation in the Temple.
Thank you
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
I attended the service in the Cathedral and the Botafumeiro didnt swing. I guess no-one paid for it that day.
The service was still memorable. This year I'm excited to see it without the scaffolding.
The Camino will be memorable in so many small ways - I think its the collection of small wonders every day that makes it so special.
Its impossible to explain to someone who hasn't walked, and it takes a few days to get into Camino mode, but once you walk you'll find its not about the cathedral - its about your state of mind and being whilst on Camino.
 

Terry W

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2017
April 2018
April 2019
Hi,

I have been in the advanced-preliminary stages of planning a Camino in September this year, planning to walk the entire route from SJPdP to Santiago, when I was handed a notice from the Archdiocese of Santiago that the Cathedral would be closed until 2021, to prepare for a Holy Year.

Although I come from one of the oldest (acknowledged) Catholic families in my country, I would be what Martin Sheen was described as - a "lapsed Catholic". [I have become a great deal more spiritual in my outlook but according to Church teaching, having received the Sacrament of Confirmation in my late teens, I am & will always be Catholic, something which still forms a part of my identity].

I had been planning to do the Camino, as I believe it is something, not only for me but in honour of my grandparents who were my first teachers in the faith. I would have been travelling from quite far (South Africa - probably being one of the few Africans on pilgrimage, presumably due to the very high costs involved for us).

Although I have read a great deal about the pilgrimage and interacted with others who have done it before, I have also been greatly inspired by Sheen's "The Way". In the movie, a great emphasis is placed on the Pilgrim's Mass in the Cathedral and in particular the censing with insense by the Boafumeiro. Catholics will recognise this point in Sheen's movie where the full realisation of his spiritual journey occurs - it is the only time when he can be seen making the sign of the Cross. For Catholics that is probably one of the most moving scenes in The Way.

The Cathedral will be closed - There will be no Pilgrims Mass there and - No blessing with Boafumeiro Incense. Instead, the Archdiocese is offering pilgrims Mass at other parishes in the diocese.

I am deeply disappointed by what seems like poor preparation on the part of the Diocese - after all, renovations that are needed should have been identified over the last Holy Year (Divine Mercy) and renovation plans executed in stages, so as not to inconvenience pilgrims who will travel from around the world (a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for many).

"Pilgrims will still be able to venerate the relic of St James the Great"???. For Catholics, the centre of our faith is the Eucharist (Mass) where we believe Christ becomes truly present. This happens as much in Santiago as it does in your neighbourhood Parish Church. So there is no real benefit to being in Santiago. As for the possibility to venerate the relic, perhaps this comes from an incomplete understanding of what a Saint is. A Saint is someone we are sure (that's why evidence such as miracles are investigated before canonisation) is in heaven and who is able to intercede for us before the Father. All Saints are united in a Communion. Doctrine holds that they stop being "St. Anne, St Joseph, or in this case St. James" and become of one essence (a single Mystical Body). So while earthly remains may exist, in the celestial realms there is no separate identity. There is no longer a St. James.

What many people may not know is that Saintly relics are placed into every altar at each Catholic Church around the world (including the one down your street!). So while the veneration of a relic is a "sacramental" (offers a blessing) the same blessing occurs at every church in the world. This means there is no ontological difference between trekking 800kms to Santiago or driving to Mass at the Church down the road.

Is the Cathedral and the Boafumeiro just a ceremony (the actual pilgrimage is what's spiritual) you may ask? The Catholic answer to that is NO. Catholics are a liturgical people, every action that takes place in a Mass has a special connotation (ceremony - we call them "rites" - matter a great deal to us!). And the "seat" of St James is his Cathedral.

I am indeed very disappointed, to the point where I am prepared to cancel the trip. [I actually feel like having a very serious conversation with our Apostolic Nuncio - the Pope's representative - over what can only be called clumsy handling of this matter by the Archdiocese of Santiago]. I doubt that for the next few decades me making this trip will be possible, finding 5 weeks of leave is very difficult for those of us who have jobs in the "real" world.

Am I making too much out of this, or do you think that others should/will (at least) defer their trips? [I'm particularly interested in hearing from my Catholic brothers/sisters on this].
PLEASE GO. DON'T CANCEL KEEP THE FAITH.
I am from New Zealand and I am YOU ! Was a lapsed Catholic I have now found my faith.
I walked the Camino three times from St john. in the last two years.
My first walk was for me I needed it. I wanted to meet two old friends that I had fallen out of favor with I had lost their love and respect. I meet them after the first day. They said they were happy to walk the Camino with me they could already see the change in me. The two friends that I meet. One was Me and the other was God.
So I was there four weeks ago you can still enter the Cathedral and hug the statue of st Jame at the back of the alter. The place is full of scaffolding.
But you will find the faith in the people the locals along the way the little churches the spiritual atmosphere in the small village churches is so thick that you could slice pieces of it and eat it for dinner.
Also walk it on your own I walked it on my own the first time and it changed my life. The second time I walked it with eight others for a film / doc,. not the same and may I say not that good then this time I went with my daughter this one was physically very hard but very rewarding.
For your fist time ( yes you will be back) walk it on your own keep your mind or hart and your soul open. and let the Camino fill them up.
You may be concerned about the amount of people walking it now. Walk through the popular end of day destinations and stay at the smaller villages it can be more satisfying.
If you consider leaving the walk till 2021 when the Cathedral will reopen ( they hope) be aware that the numbers may grow from an already bursting 300,000 to maybe 500,000.
Cost of doing it ? It costs me 7,000 NZ dollars each time.
I am writing a book at the moment called Gods Cocaine the addiction of the Camino. I think that says it all.
Go and do it Good luck and God bless, my friend.
 

Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
Hi,

I have been in the advanced-preliminary stages of planning a Camino in September this year, planning to walk the entire route from SJPdP to Santiago, when I was handed a notice from the Archdiocese of Santiago that the Cathedral would be closed until 2021, to prepare for a Holy Year.

Although I come from one of the oldest (acknowledged) Catholic families in my country, I would be what Martin Sheen was described as - a "lapsed Catholic". [I have become a great deal more spiritual in my outlook but according to Church teaching, having received the Sacrament of Confirmation in my late teens, I am & will always be Catholic, something which still forms a part of my identity].

I had been planning to do the Camino, as I believe it is something, not only for me but in honour of my grandparents who were my first teachers in the faith. I would have been travelling from quite far (South Africa - probably being one of the few Africans on pilgrimage, presumably due to the very high costs involved for us).

Although I have read a great deal about the pilgrimage and interacted with others who have done it before, I have also been greatly inspired by Sheen's "The Way". In the movie, a great emphasis is placed on the Pilgrim's Mass in the Cathedral and in particular the censing with insense by the Boafumeiro. Catholics will recognise this point in Sheen's movie where the full realisation of his spiritual journey occurs - it is the only time when he can be seen making the sign of the Cross. For Catholics that is probably one of the most moving scenes in The Way.

The Cathedral will be closed - There will be no Pilgrims Mass there and - No blessing with Boafumeiro Incense. Instead, the Archdiocese is offering pilgrims Mass at other parishes in the diocese.

I am deeply disappointed by what seems like poor preparation on the part of the Diocese - after all, renovations that are needed should have been identified over the last Holy Year (Divine Mercy) and renovation plans executed in stages, so as not to inconvenience pilgrims who will travel from around the world (a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for many).

"Pilgrims will still be able to venerate the relic of St James the Great"???. For Catholics, the centre of our faith is the Eucharist (Mass) where we believe Christ becomes truly present. This happens as much in Santiago as it does in your neighbourhood Parish Church. So there is no real benefit to being in Santiago. As for the possibility to venerate the relic, perhaps this comes from an incomplete understanding of what a Saint is. A Saint is someone we are sure (that's why evidence such as miracles are investigated before canonisation) is in heaven and who is able to intercede for us before the Father. All Saints are united in a Communion. Doctrine holds that they stop being "St. Anne, St Joseph, or in this case St. James" and become of one essence (a single Mystical Body). So while earthly remains may exist, in the celestial realms there is no separate identity. There is no longer a St. James.

What many people may not know is that Saintly relics are placed into every altar at each Catholic Church around the world (including the one down your street!). So while the veneration of a relic is a "sacramental" (offers a blessing) the same blessing occurs at every church in the world. This means there is no ontological difference between trekking 800kms to Santiago or driving to Mass at the Church down the road.

Is the Cathedral and the Boafumeiro just a ceremony (the actual pilgrimage is what's spiritual) you may ask? The Catholic answer to that is NO. Catholics are a liturgical people, every action that takes place in a Mass has a special connotation (ceremony - we call them "rites" - matter a great deal to us!). And the "seat" of St James is his Cathedral.

I am indeed very disappointed, to the point where I am prepared to cancel the trip. [I actually feel like having a very serious conversation with our Apostolic Nuncio - the Pope's representative - over what can only be called clumsy handling of this matter by the Archdiocese of Santiago]. I doubt that for the next few decades me making this trip will be possible, finding 5 weeks of leave is very difficult for those of us who have jobs in the "real" world.

Am I making too much out of this, or do you think that others should/will (at least) defer their trips? [I'm particularly interested in hearing from my Catholic brothers/sisters on this].
I am not Catholic, but deeply Protestant. I assure you that you will have many spiritual awakening well before Santiago. The cathedral is open, just not for mass. You will still be able to honor St. James.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes/Burgos/SdeC 77; Frances 12,15,17; Finisterre 17; Lourdes/Aragones18; Logrono-Leon 19.
Padre...the Cathedral is not "closed". :)
I'll rephrase. When will we be able to enjoy once more the fully-rehabbed and fully-operational Cathedral? As we have enjoyed it all these years?

And when will the blasted thing start swinging again? I'm discussing leading a group of very-conventionally-religiously-motivated pilgrims to SdeC in 2020 or 2021, and make no bones about it - they all want to see the butafumiero! They've all seen (ahem!) "the movie."
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
Take a bath before marriage?.... How do you think the wedding bouquet...came into being....

Not only was I told by a historian in SdC that the the botafumeiro’s size was to mask the smell...but that they built a fountain where pilgrims were required to take off their cloths and bath in it before entering the Cathedral. I believe the old clothes were burned? I asked her how often they changed the water...she said infrequently!
Love it!!!! How did you meet this historian? Was it on a tour that you took or by chance? Just wondering. I will be walking starting October 29th from SJPP and should arrive in early December into SDC. If it was at some kind of tour or lecture I would love to check that out when I arrived.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
Currently there are 2 pilgrim masses daily (in Spanish) - the main one is at 12 in the iglesia de San Francisco and the other at 7:30pm (I think!) at the Iglesia de San Fiz near the market. I’m not a mass goer but I have heard from the other volunteers that the mass in San Francisco was lovely and that in fact was a nicer experience- in that everyone there were pilgrims focused on the mass rather than a tourist or day tripper there to see the Botafumeiro show.
There are also masses in various languages (english/French/German) in the chapel in the Pilgrims Office and some other churches every day.
Thanks and in December when I arrive I will go to the mass at the Iglesia de San Francisco.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
Remember, the movie, “The Way,” was, just that, a movie! I experienced worship at smaller churches, with pilgrim masses that were far more intimate , reverent, and celebratory! There are many opportunities on your camino journey to celebrate and worship your catholic faith in monasteries, cathedrals, and simple churches. When I got to the Cathedral in SdC for a mass I found it anything but a reverent mass...it was a tourist experience with photos constantly being snapped though numerous requests not to do so were made! There are other options for worshiping in SdC.
I also visited the Benedictine sisters for evening prayer where we chanted the office.

As a Catholic, the journey itself including the rhythm of the daily walk, worshipping at masses with other pilgrims, finding quiet time in one’s day to listen in silence, and breathing in the beauty is well worth the journey in my opinion. In addition, you have the opportunity to share your faith journey with others. Is it worth it? It depends on you?!
Looks like we are talking alot today. I have the same feeling that the mass has become a tourist spectacle. I wrote in some other post awhile ago about a small gathering that was lead by a young priest when I was on the Meseta about 7 years ago. He lead us in "spiritual" prayer and we all spoke about why we walking, what we had learned or anything else that has come up for someone while on the Camino. I heard German, French, English, Italia, Korean and of course Spanish. I didn't understand what most of my fellow Pilgrims said but I sure felt every one of them. It was a beautiful evening.
So many fabulous and thoughtful posts have already been written in reply to the OP, so I shall not pile on. Instead, I will merely point out that the Cathedral is not CLOSED. Please let me expound and explain further.

Renovations have been ongoing, first outside, and then inside, since 2014. The reason for this staging of the work was to FIRST ensure the structure was secure, the entire building was weatherproof and could protect the interior.

The remaining work is mostly on the interior. Having completed the exterior to safeguard the interior from further water penetration and damage, intensive work is underway to make the Cathedral ready as fast as can be done.

The work could only be done in a certain staged manner, at a certain pace, and provided funds were available. The cathedral is not like a tract home one can slap up in 90 calendar days.

A renovation like this has not been done for more than 150 years. Moreover, whenever any complex project like this is done, unpleasant mistakes always evince themselves. If you have ever done a global renovation on even private home...I have...you can understand when I mean. There are always unforeseen 'oopsies' cropping up.

In this case, there have been some costly surprises that brought about delays in work. In fact, needed renovations at the Pilgrim Office to expand capacity for the coming Holy Year surge, had to be stopped, and the funding transferred to the Cathedral project as that is Job Number One. We all have our fingers crossed on this one. But it was necessary.

All this said, Pilgrims and Daily Masses have merely been moved to other, nearly as historic churches nearby. The Mass is always the Mass, regardless of where it is served. "Wherever two or more of you are gathered in My name, I am there..."

The Daily Pilgrim Mass at noon is offered at the Church of San Francisco. Other daily, Saturday and Sunday Masses are offered at Santa Maria Salome on Rua Nova. Santa Maria Salome is the mother of Saint James / Santiago. So this is entirely appropriate, at least IMHO.

Special ceremonial Masses will be offered at the Church of San Martin Pinero as this church is also designated a special historic place. So, this is where the Masses on the Feast of Santiago will be offered this July.

About the only feature missing is the flight of the famous (some would say infamous Botafumeiro). As no other church has one suspended like the Cathedral, it is clearly not be unused for the duration of the renovations. If you really need to see it, try You Tube. There are literally hundreds of versions of the standard ceremony that has been seen for centuries.

The most important 'goal' for the religious-intended pilgrim is to venerate the relics of Santiago at the Cathedral. The Cathedral is OPEN for this practice. You can still enter the Cathedral via the usual way, at the South Transept. Once inside, you can better appreciate the scope of the total renovation and admire the work being done. ALL the pews and confessionals are gone. There are scaffolding and plastic draperies everywhere. But you can still tour the inside of the Cathedral to see it 'undressed;' so to speak.

You can access the statue of the Saint above the main altar to perform the traditional "embracero." Then you can enter the crypt under the main altar to venerate the relics.

In my view, his is the core of the entire Camino de Santiago. The Cathedral, per se, is just a container, a shiny pit of gift wrapping if you will.

Finally, for what it is worth, I am reliably informed that they are working to have the Cathedral fully functional NEXT YEAR, in 2020. We shall see what speed bumps evince themselves in the coming year.

Santiago will alway be there waiting for you. Come and join us in our magnificent obsession...

Hope this helps the dialog.
Hi,

I have been in the advanced-preliminary stages of planning a Camino in September this year, planning to walk the entire route from SJPdP to Santiago, when I was handed a notice from the Archdiocese of Santiago that the Cathedral would be closed until 2021, to prepare for a Holy Year.

Although I come from one of the oldest (acknowledged) Catholic families in my country, I would be what Martin Sheen was described as - a "lapsed Catholic". [I have become a great deal more spiritual in my outlook but according to Church teaching, having received the Sacrament of Confirmation in my late teens, I am & will always be Catholic, something which still forms a part of my identity].

I had been planning to do the Camino, as I believe it is something, not only for me but in honour of my grandparents who were my first teachers in the faith. I would have been travelling from quite far (South Africa - probably being one of the few Africans on pilgrimage, presumably due to the very high costs involved for us).

Although I have read a great deal about the pilgrimage and interacted with others who have done it before, I have also been greatly inspired by Sheen's "The Way". In the movie, a great emphasis is placed on the Pilgrim's Mass in the Cathedral and in particular the censing with insense by the Boafumeiro. Catholics will recognise this point in Sheen's movie where the full realisation of his spiritual journey occurs - it is the only time when he can be seen making the sign of the Cross. For Catholics that is probably one of the most moving scenes in The Way.

The Cathedral will be closed - There will be no Pilgrims Mass there and - No blessing with Boafumeiro Incense. Instead, the Archdiocese is offering pilgrims Mass at other parishes in the diocese.

I am deeply disappointed by what seems like poor preparation on the part of the Diocese - after all, renovations that are needed should have been identified over the last Holy Year (Divine Mercy) and renovation plans executed in stages, so as not to inconvenience pilgrims who will travel from around the world (a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for many).

"Pilgrims will still be able to venerate the relic of St James the Great"???. For Catholics, the centre of our faith is the Eucharist (Mass) where we believe Christ becomes truly present. This happens as much in Santiago as it does in your neighbourhood Parish Church. So there is no real benefit to being in Santiago. As for the possibility to venerate the relic, perhaps this comes from an incomplete understanding of what a Saint is. A Saint is someone we are sure (that's why evidence such as miracles are investigated before canonisation) is in heaven and who is able to intercede for us before the Father. All Saints are united in a Communion. Doctrine holds that they stop being "St. Anne, St Joseph, or in this case St. James" and become of one essence (a single Mystical Body). So while earthly remains may exist, in the celestial realms there is no separate identity. There is no longer a St. James.

What many people may not know is that Saintly relics are placed into every altar at each Catholic Church around the world (including the one down your street!). So while the veneration of a relic is a "sacramental" (offers a blessing) the same blessing occurs at every church in the world. This means there is no ontological difference between trekking 800kms to Santiago or driving to Mass at the Church down the road.

Is the Cathedral and the Boafumeiro just a ceremony (the actual pilgrimage is what's spiritual) you may ask? The Catholic answer to that is NO. Catholics are a liturgical people, every action that takes place in a Mass has a special connotation (ceremony - we call them "rites" - matter a great deal to us!). And the "seat" of St James is his Cathedral.

I am indeed very disappointed, to the point where I am prepared to cancel the trip. [I actually feel like having a very serious conversation with our Apostolic Nuncio - the Pope's representative - over what can only be called clumsy handling of this matter by the Archdiocese of Santiago]. I doubt that for the next few decades me making this trip will be possible, finding 5 weeks of leave is very difficult for those of us who have jobs in the "real" world.

Am I making too much out of this, or do you think that others should/will (at least) defer their trips? [I'm particularly interested in hearing from my Catholic brothers/sisters on this].
One other thing, in addition to my other posts regarding this subject. We should all feel that this renovation is a blessing and be thankful for it. All one has to do is look at the tragedy that has befallen Notre Dame.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
Love it!!!! How did you meet this historian? Was it on a tour that you took or by chance? Just wondering. I will be walking starting October 29th from SJPP and should arrive in early December into SDC. If it was at some kind of tour or lecture I would love to check that out when I arrived.
A few years ago we spent a week in SdC...it was at the end of the completion of our first Camino into the city. We took several walking tours and our guide was this historian. I, unfortunately deleted this info. Look through the walking tours online for ScD. . We participated initially in a group tour but because the guide was so knowledgeable we (5) hired her for a private tour. Not sure they will be doing tours in December?
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
Ashley, you were very brave posting this. It's a valid question. I've been waiting for the time, freedom and funds to make this journey since 2012. The longing started the minute I watched the Way, a year to the date of my confirmation as a Catholic. I immediately googled Camino de Santiago and my world changed. I have not been the same ever since.

I am a total devotee of the Way. And I mean the movie. I have watched it a gazillion times. I've watched the movie with Emilio and Martin talking about the movie while the movie is playing. I've watched all their interviews. Yes it may be a Hollywood movie, no one is saying it isn't but it is still the best thing to come out of Hollywood in years. I have sobbed and sobbed through it so many times because I've been constrained in going and so long to be there. It does take the edge off between that and Youtube shorts of people's journey and some well-made documentaries.

I too was very disappointed to learn that I could not take mass in the Cathedral, to see and smell the censor! I'm still going and we should be walking about the same time, if you go. Although I can't take mass there, I'm not so sure that isn't for the best. I get annoyed when people walk into church late after mass has started, when someone forgets to turn their cellphone off. Seeing a bunch of people disrespect the mass with their cellphones filming every minute of the botafumeiro would probably undo every spiritual lesson I would've learned the whole way there lol!

I also noticed that the son appears in one of these vision scenes as a tiraboleiro in full costume pulling the strings of the botafumeiro. Special effects in movies are amazing these days, I have no doubt that he was pasted into the scene afterwards.
Actually they did not. They were granted special permision for Emilio to be one of the pullers. They prayed the rosary many times and were granted permission at the last minute and said that they thought they were going to have to cut that scene altogether. Martin and his son Emilio are both Catholics. The line in the movie where Martin hands the rosary back to the Father and says "they've come in handy" is a reference to this. It's either in one of the interviews they did or the director's commentary.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
Thinking of future walks. ... and my vocation requires that I plan far in advance ...

When will the Cathedral reopen?
Just as a matter of planning, I think you can “take to the bank” the fact that the Cathedral will be fully functioning very early in calendar 2021. All planning and efforts so far point that conclusion.

BTW, the work completed so far is fabulous!
 

JeepsNRoses

Camino Dreamer
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2017) May 15th SJPdP - Pamplona
CF (2019) Dec 18th Sarria - Santiago
CF (2020) May 17th SJPdP
Ashley, you were very brave posting this. It's a valid question. I've been waiting for the time, freedom and funds to make this journey since 2012. The longing started the minute I watched the Way, a year to the date of my confirmation as a Catholic. I immediately googled Camino de Santiago and my world changed. I have not been the same ever since.

I am a total devotee of the Way. And I mean the movie. I have watched it a gazillion times. I've watched the movie with Emilio and Martin talking about the movie while the movie is playing. I've watched all their interviews. Yes it may be a Hollywood movie, no one is saying it isn't but it is still the best thing to come out of Hollywood in years. I have sobbed and sobbed through it so many times because I've been constrained in going and so long to be there. It does take the edge off between that and Youtube shorts of people's journey and some well-made documentaries.

I too was very disappointed to learn that I could not take mass in the Cathedral, to see and smell the censor! I'm still going and we should be walking about the same time, if you go. Although I can't take mass there, I'm not so sure that isn't for the best. I get annoyed when people walk into church late after mass has started, when someone forgets to turn their cellphone off. Seeing a bunch of people disrespect the mass with their cellphones filming every minute of the botafumeiro would probably undo every spiritual lesson I would've learned the whole way there lol!



Actually they did not. They were granted special permision for Emilio to be one of the pullers. They prayed the rosary many times and were granted permission at the last minute and said that they thought they were going to have to cut that scene altogether. Martin and his son Emilio are both Catholics. The line in the movie where Martin hands the rosary back to the Father and says "they've come in handy" is a reference to this. It's either in one of the interviews they did or the director's commentary.
‘Sometimes a dog fight near a cheese factory is just a dog fight near a cheese factory.’
 

Bob Howard

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2016
Frances 2018
This is a great thread in that it touches on the very essence of why we walk. Yes, the Pilgrim's Mass and the Botafumiero when it swings is spectacular, and emotional. It is also, as all of you experienced Pilgrims know, quite an emotional moment stepping into Plaza del Obradoiro and getting an unobstructed view of the of the Cathedral. And the newly cleaned exterior not clothed in scaffolding and tarps is quite a sight. As to missing the Pilgrim's Mass there, well, as has been discussed, there are a number of other Pilgrims Mass. And the one that had the most profound impact on me was at the Church of Santa Maria in O Cebreiro. It is not one of the the great and imposing Gothic or Romanesque churches along the Camino, but there is something magic that happens in the Pilgrims Mass there. It is wonderfully intimate and powerful, more so to my mind than the Cathedral in Santiago. I went to the Pilgrims Mass at the Church of Santa Maria in O Cebreiro last June. There were moments I looked around, the there was not a dry eye in the place, including me, and I am as cynical as anyone could be about religion. But . . . something wonderful and moving happens in that little church, and I feel fortunate to have experienced it. I can't explain what it was exactly that created so much emotion, but it was palpable. So, Ashley, I would argue that going to the Pilgrims Mass in O Cebreiro in and of itself would justify your trip. And that's not to say you will not find solace and fascination in any of the Cathedrals or churches along the CF.
 

Ivan_Prada

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés-(septiembre 2018)
Portugués-(en planes 2021)
Ashley, you were very brave posting this. It's a valid question. I've been waiting for the time, freedom and funds to make this journey since 2012. The longing started the minute I watched the Way, a year to the date of my confirmation as a Catholic. I immediately googled Camino de Santiago and my world changed. I have not been the same ever since.

I am a total devotee of the Way. And I mean the movie. I have watched it a gazillion times. I've watched the movie with Emilio and Martin talking about the movie while the movie is playing. I've watched all their interviews. Yes it may be a Hollywood movie, no one is saying it isn't but it is still the best thing to come out of Hollywood in years. I have sobbed and sobbed through it so many times because I've been constrained in going and so long to be there. It does take the edge off between that and Youtube shorts of people's journey and some well-made documentaries.

I too was very disappointed to learn that I could not take mass in the Cathedral, to see and smell the censor! I'm still going and we should be walking about the same time, if you go. Although I can't take mass there, I'm not so sure that isn't for the best. I get annoyed when people walk into church late after mass has started, when someone forgets to turn their cellphone off. Seeing a bunch of people disrespect the mass with their cellphones filming every minute of the botafumeiro would probably undo every spiritual lesson I would've learned the whole way there lol!



Actually they did not. They were granted special permision for Emilio to be one of the pullers. They prayed the rosary many times and were granted permission at the last minute and said that they thought they were going to have to cut that scene altogether. Martin and his son Emilio are both Catholics. The line in the movie where Martin hands the rosary back to the Father and says "they've come in handy" is a reference to this. It's either in one of the interviews they did or the director's commentary.
Hi Lizlane:

If the movie “The Way” moves you that much, you should see these two from real Camino pilgrims.

The first one you can find it on Netflix, it is titled: “Footprints The path of your life. Done by members of St. Anne parish in Arizona.

The second movie is in YouTube, titled “Camino sin límites “ in Spanish but you can watch it with subtitles in English (“The Way without limits”). It’s about two brothers doing the Camino.

Again, these are true stories not seeking hits for watching them. IMHO, they are more moving and motivating than “The Way”.

Hope you watch them (as well AshleyF) and find the reason to Camino.
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
Oh Footprints I've seen. I enjoyed it but mainly because it offered a different perspective from the fact that only men were featured and it was on the Norte route. If it's on Netflix or Prime I've watched it. "Not a Path of Roses" is by far my favorite Youtube video. I've tried to find the full film to buy but to no avail. I've watched the 10 minute short probably as many times as the Way (too many to count). I'll check out your other recommendation. I started a thread back in Jan/Feb on the best Camino movies/doc/tubes.

As far as finding the reason to Camino, both Ashley and I already have. We're called to do it. Ashley may want to honor her family and reconnect to her Catholic heritage, solve her "lapsed" issue. I want to finally obey the call In that way, I'm very much like Daniel "I gotta go! I just gotta go!" Time did not diminish the desire. Derision from others did not diminish the desire. I've accepted that it will not go away until I do. I've also accepted that it will be replaced with the desire to return. But I don't want to die without ever having gone and miss out on what I will discover about myself, my God and my fellow pilgrims, learn what I was brought on the path to give to others and what it was that they might bring to me. Until I do, my soul is sick. The Camino is the cure.

Honestly, I'm very tired of people downing the movie. It changed my life from the minute I watched it. I watched it with a fiance who was extremely controlling and abusive in every way. He liked it okay. When he saw I was moved by it he scoffed. Said why do I have to go to Spain to have a spiritual experience? Why not go walk the Appalachian Trail, he did. I knew in that minute I would never marry him. I knew I could never marry someone who could not understand. I have zero interest in the AT. I don't want to go on a hike. I'm already spiritual and like Ashley wrote, I can go practice my religion right here in my hometown. What I cannot do here in my small town is be a part of the wonder that is the Camino and be humbled and healed like I know the Way will. I've spent many years trying.

Sara: "What are you doing out here, Tom? Besides going on a really long walk?"

Being changed from the inside out in every way my God intends. But thanks for trying to solve mine and Ashley's "The Way" problem.
 

tillyjones

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances June 2015
VDLP May 2017
del Norte Sept 2018
The Botafumeiro was a rare occurrence to begin with, so no guarantee of seeing one anyway.

And I found the pilgrim service (with botafumeiro) to be much more a crowded tourist event than a spiritual event. So much so that I only went to pilgrim mass the first time and not subsequent times.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
It is easy for those who do not walk the Camino for religious reasons or those that have walked it before and were able to experience the joy of the cathedral in Santiago upon finishing to say it doesn't matter. That the walk is more important, or that the cathedral will always be there for later visits etc etc etc. I say that if the SDC cathedral part of the Camino is that important to you for sure cancel (if possible) your current plans and reschedule. I certainly would if I had not walked it before. It was an important part of the Camino to me and still is.
After all, it is the sole reason the Way of Saint James exists. Medieval pilgrims did not walk it to rethink career choices, celebrate retirement, get over a recent divorce or breakup, try and lose weight, get more fit, cheap vacation, get a compostela to put in their CV or university application, pen a quick book to put on amazon, make a youtube video with a million views etc.
They walked it for Saint James and seeing the cathedral.
I think they walked it to venerate the relics of Saint James. The pilgrimage started before this cathedral was built, after all and it is likely that there were impressive cathedrals much closer to home for them. Those relics of Saint James are as accessible as they ever were during these renovations (and much, much more accessible than they were between 1589 and 1879).
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I'll rephrase. When will we be able to enjoy once more the fully-rehabbed and fully-operational Cathedral? As we have enjoyed it all these years?

And when will the blasted thing start swinging again? I'm discussing leading a group of very-conventionally-religiously-motivated pilgrims to SdeC in 2020 or 2021, and make no bones about it - they all want to see the butafumiero! They've all seen (ahem!) "the movie."
Current scheduling seems to be aiming for summer 2020, possibly June.
 

Texas Walker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2017 summer)
Portugues (2015)
Frances (2014)
Gosh there have been a lot of different thoughts expressed on this thread! I understand the feeling of disappointment when something you thought was a very special part of the pilgrimage turns out to be unavailable at the time when you arrive. (None of us owns the Camino. Nor does any one of us have an entitled right to see the One Thing that we liked in the famous movie.)
But one of the lessons of the Camino is to trust in God and let things happen in His time. I still haven't seen the Portico da Gloria. It hasn't been meant for me to see it yet.
I know I have arrived in St. James's place when I go into the Adoration Chapel on the side and spend a few moments with Jesus thanking Him for safe arrival. It's not one of the "pilgrim things" like venerating Santiago's bones, going to a Mass in the church, hugging the statue. It's not a showplace moment like seeing the botafumeiro fly over head. But for me it's really important.
I do hope they've made arrangements for pilgrims to sit with Jesus in adoration and quiet while they're redoing the building. Presumably one of the other nearby churches will have set up a chapel for this?
 

Ivan_Prada

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés-(septiembre 2018)
Portugués-(en planes 2021)
Oh Footprints I've seen. I enjoyed it but mainly because it offered a different perspective from the fact that only men were featured and it was on the Norte route. If it's on Netflix or Prime I've watched it. "Not a Path of Roses" is by far my favorite Youtube video. I've tried to find the full film to buy but to no avail. I've watched the 10 minute short probably as many times as the Way (too many to count). I'll check out your other recommendation. I started a thread back in Jan/Feb on the best Camino movies/doc/tubes.

As far as finding the reason to Camino, both Ashley and I already have. We're called to do it. Ashley may want to honor her family and reconnect to her Catholic heritage, solve her "lapsed" issue. I want to finally obey the call In that way, I'm very much like Daniel "I gotta go! I just gotta go!" Time did not diminish the desire. Derision from others did not diminish the desire. I've accepted that it will not go away until I do. I've also accepted that it will be replaced with the desire to return. But I don't want to die without ever having gone and miss out on what I will discover about myself, my God and my fellow pilgrims, learn what I was brought on the path to give to others and what it was that they might bring to me. Until I do, my soul is sick. The Camino is the cure.

Honestly, I'm very tired of people downing the movie. It changed my life from the minute I watched it. I watched it with a fiance who was extremely controlling and abusive in every way. He liked it okay. When he saw I was moved by it he scoffed. Said why do I have to go to Spain to have a spiritual experience? Why not go walk the Appalachian Trail, he did. I knew in that minute I would never marry him. I knew I could never marry someone who could not understand. I have zero interest in the AT. I don't want to go on a hike. I'm already spiritual and like Ashley wrote, I can go practice my religion right here in my hometown. What I cannot do here in my small town is be a part of the wonder that is the Camino and be humbled and healed like I know the Way will. I've spent many years trying.

Sara: "What are you doing out here, Tom? Besides going on a really long walk?"

Being changed from the inside out in every way my God intends. But thanks for trying to solve mine and Ashley's "The Way" problem.
That’s great! I’ll sure look for the one you mentioned.

My comments about Camino is that can’t wait for the return. My wife and I did it last September and planning for 2021.

All I can say is: Camino is Life. Really hope that you both could make it. One recommendation, if you don’t mind, go with your heart open so you be able to receive everything that Camino can offer. Remember St. Francis’s of Assisi prayer: “In giving is that we receive.” Give yourselves to Camino, that for sure you will receive what you look.

Take the above as word of advice from a

Let me tell you, Camino is not a walk in the park. Rough at times but doable. If it were easy, then you would not appreciate the lessons that Camino give us.

I am sixty-ish man with Parkinson’s disease that went to Camino with many questions but with the faith that I would find the only answer to all of them. I did.

So, go and do your Camino; that you find an enlightening experience that lasts forever.

Buen Camino
 

RemysMimi

Hooked on the Camino!!
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
Frances or Portuguese (2020)
Hi,

I have been in the advanced-preliminary stages of planning a Camino in September this year, planning to walk the entire route from SJPdP to Santiago, when I was handed a notice from the Archdiocese of Santiago that the Cathedral would be closed until 2021, to prepare for a Holy Year.

Although I come from one of the oldest (acknowledged) Catholic families in my country, I would be what Martin Sheen was described as - a "lapsed Catholic". [I have become a great deal more spiritual in my outlook but according to Church teaching, having received the Sacrament of Confirmation in my late teens, I am & will always be Catholic, something which still forms a part of my identity].

I had been planning to do the Camino, as I believe it is something, not only for me but in honour of my grandparents who were my first teachers in the faith. I would have been travelling from quite far (South Africa - probably being one of the few Africans on pilgrimage, presumably due to the very high costs involved for us).

Although I have read a great deal about the pilgrimage and interacted with others who have done it before, I have also been greatly inspired by Sheen's "The Way". In the movie, a great emphasis is placed on the Pilgrim's Mass in the Cathedral and in particular the censing with insense by the Boafumeiro. Catholics will recognise this point in Sheen's movie where the full realisation of his spiritual journey occurs - it is the only time when he can be seen making the sign of the Cross. For Catholics that is probably one of the most moving scenes in The Way.

The Cathedral will be closed - There will be no Pilgrims Mass there and - No blessing with Boafumeiro Incense. Instead, the Archdiocese is offering pilgrims Mass at other parishes in the diocese.

I am deeply disappointed by what seems like poor preparation on the part of the Diocese - after all, renovations that are needed should have been identified over the last Holy Year (Divine Mercy) and renovation plans executed in stages, so as not to inconvenience pilgrims who will travel from around the world (a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for many).

"Pilgrims will still be able to venerate the relic of St James the Great"???. For Catholics, the centre of our faith is the Eucharist (Mass) where we believe Christ becomes truly present. This happens as much in Santiago as it does in your neighbourhood Parish Church. So there is no real benefit to being in Santiago. As for the possibility to venerate the relic, perhaps this comes from an incomplete understanding of what a Saint is. A Saint is someone we are sure (that's why evidence such as miracles are investigated before canonisation) is in heaven and who is able to intercede for us before the Father. All Saints are united in a Communion. Doctrine holds that they stop being "St. Anne, St Joseph, or in this case St. James" and become of one essence (a single Mystical Body). So while earthly remains may exist, in the celestial realms there is no separate identity. There is no longer a St. James.

What many people may not know is that Saintly relics are placed into every altar at each Catholic Church around the world (including the one down your street!). So while the veneration of a relic is a "sacramental" (offers a blessing) the same blessing occurs at every church in the world. This means there is no ontological difference between trekking 800kms to Santiago or driving to Mass at the Church down the road.

Is the Cathedral and the Boafumeiro just a ceremony (the actual pilgrimage is what's spiritual) you may ask? The Catholic answer to that is NO. Catholics are a liturgical people, every action that takes place in a Mass has a special connotation (ceremony - we call them "rites" - matter a great deal to us!). And the "seat" of St James is his Cathedral.

I am indeed very disappointed, to the point where I am prepared to cancel the trip. [I actually feel like having a very serious conversation with our Apostolic Nuncio - the Pope's representative - over what can only be called clumsy handling of this matter by the Archdiocese of Santiago]. I doubt that for the next few decades me making this trip will be possible, finding 5 weeks of leave is very difficult for those of us who have jobs in the "real" world.

Am I making too much out of this, or do you think that others should/will (at least) defer their trips? [I'm particularly interested in hearing from my Catholic brothers/sisters on this].
WOW!! So your only reason for going is so that you can see the Boafumeiro? I think you should re-think your motives, your heart and your "strong catholic upbringing (even a lapsed one)". Also, I met several people from South Africa on my journey last year. Just saying. And last but not least, "The Way" is a fictional movie.
 

RemysMimi

Hooked on the Camino!!
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
Frances or Portuguese (2020)
When I got to the Cathedral in SdC for a mass I found it anything but a reverent mass...it was a tourist experience with photos constantly being snapped though numerous requests not to do so were made! There are other options for worshiping in SdC.
I agree. In addition to all of that, it is basically standing room only. I actually witnessed 3 women verbally attack an elderly woman because she was saving a seat for her husband. She appeared to be a local who attended regularly. I was appalled.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
I am not sure it is a myth? I was told this by a historian from SdC when we visited the Cathedral! Would be interested in reading documentation if there was another explanation for its original use....
If you are really interested google mito botafumeiro. There was a flurry of articles about 4 years ago. There’s also at least one thread on the forum. Julio Vázquez Castro is a specialist scholar from the Santiago University who did a detailed study, Antonio Neira de Mosquera is the name of the journalist from the 19th century who is the originator of the myth. As I said it’s indestructible. It’s in many books, including history books, and people like to hear and tell it.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
The fancy costumes of the eight men are not very traditional btw they were created during the last century when it was felt that something more spectacular was needed. In old photos you see the men in normal black suits and they don’t look very posh.
Here is one such photo of the tiraboleiros' "original" outfit. And don't underestimate the importance of the visual for your spiritual emotions ... I vaguely remember a comment by Brian Sewell in his "The Road to Santiago" that nobody does this better than the Spanish Catholic Church. 😊

The photos is from around 1915.

59219
 
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