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Catholic Mass on the Camino Frances

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markss

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Frances from SJPP (3/10 & 10/10); Primitivo (6/12)
The Brierly guide map includes a notation of all of the churches along the Camino. On my own Camino I tried as much as possible to end each day in villages in which there was a church with the intent of attending Mass as often as possible. Unfortunately although there are churches in many places, most of them were closed therefore there was no Mass. There were exceptions, particularly in larger cities. It is my understanding that due to vandalism, a lack of priests and the expense of upkeep of the churches, many are kept locked and not in regular use.

I walked the Camino once in March and again in October of 2010 (looking for those Holy Year indulgences). Perhaps in summer the situation is different.
 

SabineP

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some and then more. see my signature.
Redecilla del Camino ( first village in Castillia-Leon ) is a small village , the municipal anbergue is opposite the lovely church and the hospitalero has the key to the church and can inform you when there is Mass.

Of course the Tosantos albergue also gives you the opportunity to go to Mass in local church.

I have good memories about the Mass in Tricastela.
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
markss said:
Unfortunately although there are churches in many places, most of them were closed therefore there was no Mass. There were exceptions, particularly in larger cities.

Often nowadays the priest has responsbility for 4 or 5 parishes each with a church. Also the Spanish practice of burying the dead usually within 24 hours means that in small places the priest can be called away at short notice. However on most routes I am able to attend mass fairly frequently. Ask around and listen for the bell in the evening.
 
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grilly

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One way to know is by asking at the Albergue. Usually the hospitaler@ knows. I have been at masses where we were very few -- villagers and pilgrims.
Bigger cities definitely have masses. Pilgrims' masses as well. Carrion de los Condes is one I can remember. Le Puy, SJPP, Roncesvalles, Jaca, Burgos, Rabanal, . ...
Some churches are really great to meditate. Eunate, the Basilica in Leon, Grañon ...
In a way, some places trigger your heart and sometimes your heart triggers the place :)
 
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2004.SJPP-SdC-Finisterre)(1998-2012 completed in sections). Norte (2006.122km) Inglés (2009)
I have found Mass is often at 9.00am, 7.00 or 8.00pm, but on Sundays can vary.

Granon usually has a daily (pilgrim) Mass. Ditto San Juan de Ortega, Belorado, Arzua. O Cebreiro, convent in León.

Johhnie Walker said, listen for the bells. Great advice.

At 5.00pm I attended Mass at a church just off the road to Carrion de la Condes simply because I responded to their peal. I couldn't tell you which village it was. The locals made me welcome.

If you see small groups of elderly people, especially women, heading towards the church you can be sure they are going to Mass.

Many of the churches have the times of the services posted on the doors. They might be different from the guide book as the shortage of priests means that changes occur between printing and walking.

Mass is often held in the crypt at SDC at 8.30am.

Finally, the Mass usually lasts no more than 30-35 minutes so if you are passing a church while not yet at your destination you will not be significantly held up by attending. Do not walk past as Murphy's Law says you will have missed the one service you could have got to that day.
 
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Watching for older ladies, dressed in dresses (you won't see women wearing pants to church much in the villages), headed like a stream of salmon, all moving in the same direction is GREAT advice!

More than once, I followed them to Mass.
 

dutchpilgrim

Active Member
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2002, 2005, 2008, 2012
I've got some special memories on the Mass in Los Arcos,
WIth the blessing and a small chat with the priest after Mass...
I thought it was a special day, because of the large number of people. But the hospitalera told me that Mass was always that crowded.
Very special.

Ultreya,
Carli Di Bortolo
 

SabineP

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some and then more. see my signature.
Anniesantiago said:
Watching for older ladies, dressed in dresses (you won't see women wearing pants to church much in the villages), headed like a stream of salmon, all moving in the same direction is GREAT advice!

More than once, I followed them to Mass.

BTW most likely one of these ladies will have the key to church and when you ask them polite they will open the church for a while so you can visit it ( even when no Mass ). When one of these ladies are pushing a pram with their grandchild, make a compliment how beautiful the baby is... :D Smiles all around! Got me into the nice church of El Burgo Ranero where the local ladies had choir practice.
 
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grilly

Active Member
methodist.pilgrim.98 said:
Finally, the Mass usually lasts no more than 30-35 minutes so if you are passing a church while not yet at your destination you will not be significantly held up by attending. Do not walk past as Murphy's Law says you will have missed the one service you could have got to that day.

We did this once just before Melide on a Sunday we caught a mass this way, which was lovely.
 

jpflavin1

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Camino Madrid/San Salvador/Primitivo-2021
I walked in the early Spring (March/April) and most of the churches were closed/ locked except for the large cities. The exceptions, on my journey, were Roncesvalles and Carrion de los Condes where they had evening Pilgrim masses.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

SabineP

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Past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
jpflavin1 said:
I walked in the early Spring (March/April) and most of the churches were closed/ locked except for the large cities. The exceptions, on my journey, were Roncesvalles and Carrion de los Condes where they had evening Pilgrim masses.

Ultreya,
Joe

Maybe I was lucky to see so many churches open because it was Semana Santa.
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
Apart from the larger cities and towns, where there is generally an evening Mass, even during the week, the following are a some of the village churches which were "Pligrim orientated" where we had the pleasure to attend: Roncesvalles (of course), Trabadelo, Triacastela, Barbadelo, Sarria (in the monastery just outside the town) and a very special Mass in Carrion de los Condes. Rabanal usually offers vespers in the evening at 19.00. Sometimes the times are posted in the Albergue, sometimes (but not always) the hospitalero should know and if not, as Johnny Walker mentioned, listen for the bells! Most evening Masses start either at 19.00 or 20.00,. Ah, one other thing to take into consideration: check the time the first week after the hour change, either in Spring or Autumn!! I have been caught out in October, because everyone seemed to be totally confused!Anne
 

Lydia Gillen

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Hi Andrew,
I spent five weeks on the Camino this year and managed to get Mass about 80% of the time.

It is true that most churches are locked during the daytime but will open about half an hour before mass for the local ladies to say the rosary and 'the trimmings of the rosary.'

In most villages 8.00 pm was the time of mass and as previous pilgrims have said; ask old ladies, and listen for the bells , they usually ring about ten minutes before Mass.

In many churches they have the blessing for pilgrims immediately after Mass and time and time again I found that the local people would wish us well with such enthusiasm that one would think that we were the first pilgrims to pass by that year

If you would like a copy of the prayers and responses for Mass just PM me your email address and I'll send them to you.

Buen Camino,
Lydia
 
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fraluchi

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annakappa said:
Sometimes the times are posted in the Albergue, sometimes (but not always) the hospitalero should know and if not, as Johnny Walker mentioned, listen for the bells!
>
Our records of the Camino Francés in 2009 state that "The Catholic Church, in the parts of Spain which we visited, appeared to be poorly organized with regard to informing the public and passing pilgrims of visiting churches and times of Mass."
In Estella, walking from Lorca on a Sunday morning, it was impossible to obtain information as to a church and times with Mass. We ended up half way through the celebration in a packed out church with obvious locals.
In Sahagun, where we had arrived in the afternoon, we received most confusing indications for churches and times concerning an evening Mass.
Furthermore: "only on two occasions have we been informed, without previously asking, that there would a pilgrims Mass at such and such a time"
In Hospital de Orbigo we were told about a Mass taking place at 7 pm, to find out that it was Rosary only (rattled through by the usual bunch of ancient ladies!)
The point is that the Church fathers, by simply posting on their churches' main doors the days and times of Mass, (and leave similar UPDATED notices with albergues and hostals), would do us fervent (sic) pilgrims a favour.
 

tyrrek

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I also went to mass at Los Arcos (about 6pm I think). The priest called all the pilgrims to the front after the service and gave them a prayer card in one of several languages. It was a nice thing to keep along the rest of the Camino and beyond.
 

tyrrek

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I was wondering if there was a thread somewhere on this site for non-catholics who want to attend church services along the Camino. I imagine it could be quite daunting for some people wondering what to expect, or even whether they would be welcome. I'm probably not the best placed to give advice, but I'm sure someone out there is.
 

grayland

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Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Yes
Non-Catholics are always welcome in Catholic Mass all over the world with no problem. You may not know what is going on...but remember that the Mass is in Spanish so many of the non-Spanish speaking Pilgrims also are a little confused. Mass does follow a certain order but I have noted many differences in different parts of the world.
No need at all to be intimidated or to feel like an outsider. You probably will not be noticed except maybe as a Pilgrim.
There is nothing secret or mysterious about the Mass. You really don't need to do anything but sit there and enjoy the spiritual aspect. It is really special while you are on a Camino.
Don't skip an opportunity if you get a chance. You don't have to be Catholic to appreciate it.

If you think you might want to attend a Mass along the way...it may be interesting to attend a Mass at a local church before you go to get an idea of what it is about (in English) and then the Mass in Spanish would be a little familiar (except the church will be much, much older in most cases).
 
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D

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what to expect, or even whether they would be welcome
I think you will be welcome. I have always felt welcome, and even read an English part in Los Arcos at the request of the priest, who did not ask if I was Catholic, or even Christian. I have been to dozens of masses, and just watch a local woman and do what she does! I don't speak Spanish. Just go, and have fun. The ceremony and surroundings are magnificent.
 

Olivares

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
May 1997 (Leon to Santiago); Sections Camino Frances: May 2011, May 2012, May 2013, October 2013, June-July 2014 (Sahagun to Santiago).
tyrrek said:
I was wondering if there was a thread somewhere on this site for non-catholics who want to attend church services along the Camino. I imagine it could be quite daunting for some people wondering what to expect, or even whether they would be welcome. I'm probably not the best placed to give advice, but I'm sure someone out there is.
The 6PM Mass in Roncesvalles has a very Special Blessing at the end when the Priest blesses all Pilgrims in more than 10 languages. He encourages ALL Pilgrims to gather in the middle aisle and then Blesses with Holy Water. I thought this was a very special moment not to be missed.
 

tyrrek

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SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
Excellent advice from Greyland and Falcon, especially emphasising that all are welcome, and that it's a good idea to go to a service at home first (try to catch a word with the priest afterward if possible). I am Catholic and was an altar boy in my youth so I'm familiar with most types of services. I was still a bit nervous. I do think we need some tips on things like (anticipating!) the sign of peace, and the rite of communion. What to do and what to say. I just said 'Paz' on the sign of peace. As always a smile goes a long way. Can non-Catholics get a blessing instead of communion and if so what's the etiquette?
 

grayland

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Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Yes
I really don't think there is anything to be worried or concerned about in Mass anywhere. No one will pay much if any attention to you and it does not matter if you participate or not. Many people do not. Many non-Catholic pilgrims at Mass on the Camino so no one pays attention..except maybe where they have an actual Pilgrim Mass and then it will be a blessing on your Camino. There is nothing you would need to do or know to be involved with this.
My experience is that there is no right or wrong way and no one is looking at you....so just go and enjoy. If you are Catholic...just do as you do at home. It may vary a little but just go with the flow.
 

Olivares

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May 1997 (Leon to Santiago); Sections Camino Frances: May 2011, May 2012, May 2013, October 2013, June-July 2014 (Sahagun to Santiago).
tyrrek said:
Can non-Catholics get a blessing instead of communion and if so what's the etiquette?
With all due respect Tyreek, if you are a Non-Catholic you should NOT step out to have Communion. This is a Sacrament with specific preparatory requirements within the Catholic Church; preparatory classes period, First Commnunion, typically precedes been able to take in the Communion in Church. I say this with the utmost respect to you and knowing that you/most pilgrims would not want to offend in any way by doing this. I say it as I wear my "Cathechist Teacher" hat :D The Blessing that precedes the Communion and the one at the end is intended for all present so yes, you are definitely being Blessed by attending Mass.
 
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tyrrek

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Sorry Olivares. I didn't mean to offend. I know that communion is a rite. Maybe it's a cultural thing, but in the UK if there's a Catholic mass where a significant number of non-Catholics are present (for whatever reason) the priest might say something like "People not taking communion are welcome to come forward. Just dip your head to show you're not taking communion and you'll get a blessing". I won't post on this thread again.
 
D

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Other Christians and Communion

The guidelines for receiving Communion, which are issued by the U.S. bishops and published in many missalettes, explain, "We welcome our fellow Christians to this celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions which separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear, in keeping with Christ’s prayer for us ‘that they may all be one’ (John 17:21).

"Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires permission according to the directives of the diocesan bishop and the provisions of canon law. . . . "

Scripture is clear that partaking of the Eucharist is among the highest signs of Christian unity: "Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread" (1 Cor. 10:17). For this reason, it is normally impossible for non-Catholic Christians to receive Holy Communion, for to do so would be to proclaim a unity to exist that, regrettably, does not.

Another reason that many non-Catholics may not ordinarily receive Communion is for their own protection, since many reject the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Scripture warns that it is very dangerous for one not believing in the Real Presence to receive Communion: "For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died" (1 Cor. 11:29–30).
http://www.catholic.com
 
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Francés (2004.SJPP-SdC-Finisterre)(1998-2012 completed in sections). Norte (2006.122km) Inglés (2009)
Thank you Falcoln for the post.

Since 1998 as a baptised Christian who has undergone confirmation classes in a Protestant church I see no reason not to take the Mass when there is no Protestant church in reasonable travelling distance. If such a church existed I would go to worship there.

Communion is a means of grace as is pilgrimage. It is a nonsense for the church to encourage us to go on pilgrimage to find grace but bar us from communion as we do so.

I take the final Pauline warning very seriously. I have frequently recived the Mass since my first pilgrimage in 1998 and I am still alive. Is that God's verdict on the matter?

I take the Mass reverently, with a true sense of grace and I believe in the real presence of Christ in the Mass (which is not the same as transubstantation). If I offend my Catholics friends in so doing I am sorry, but while I am on the Camino my spiritual well being is in the hands of the parish priests whose churches are along the route and they have the cure of my soul in their care.
 
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2004.SJPP-SdC-Finisterre)(1998-2012 completed in sections). Norte (2006.122km) Inglés (2009)
On a practical note, there are some churches that provide an English/Spanish translation of the Mass. The text is printed side by side and is easy to follow.

I was given this at Belarado and asked if I might take it away. I was told that I could and I carry it with me because it is extremely useful.
 
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Tyrrek's comments should be noted. Many people have no experience at all of church services aside from that which they might have seen on television or in films, so they will have little idea of what to expect. I recall a well-read MA in English literature sitting beside me at the Abbey church in Roncesvalles, asking me at various times what was happening up at the altar and during readings.

The blessing of pilgrims practised in most churches along the way, is something which all pilgrims can receive and participate in, without any problem at all. Parishioners are, in my experience, always helpful and hospitable to pilgrims-- our attendance at parish masses is warmly welcomed by them. (a few of the priests, however....). There is much to be said for attending parish masses-- I have found that enquiring of older people will get me the time, and often there are volunteers cleaning them during the day who will be helpful-- as they provide one with time for collection and stillness after a long and exhausting day, they tie one into the Camino in a vertical sense, and one enters into the life of the communities along the path in a deeper way, not only in eating and finding a place to sleep. Local people notice this, and I think seem to appreciate it.

As far as taking communion goes, the Roman Catholic Church takes a basic approach that this is for Roman Catholics. They make a limited exception for other Christians "who do not have full Communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and on their own ask for it, provided they manifest Catholic faith in these sacraments and are properly disposed (CIC 844 § 4)." On the Camino, most priests seem to interpret the fact that one is on pilgrimage and heading up to the altar as evidence of that disposition and faith. They cannot be unaware that some of their pilgrim communicants are not RC.

Pilgrims are guests, although welcome ones, along the Camino, and should always keep that in mind.

PS There are, to my knowledge, no non-RC churches anywhere along the Camino Francese, although there are non-RC churches in Salamanca, Vigo, Lugo and Monzon), which are on other Caminos.
 
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Arn

Veteran Member
Tyrrek,

Consider the possibility that "ignorance is bliss" then move along on your Camino and remain with the Forum to gain an appreciation for the many personalities and persuasions that make the Way what it is.

Buen "too hard over can capsize the ship" Camino

Arn
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Yes
I am a little saddened that many of the recent posts seem to me to be very "non-welcoming" to non Catholics even tho they seem to be trying. Almost sounds as if the "Church ladies" are posting. :wink:

The original question was about going forward at Communion and getting a blessing ...not receiving Communion as far as I can see. In the Seattle area (and I assume the rest of the U.S.) it is normal and common for children and non-Catholics to go forward if they wish and simply cross their arms and get a blessing. It is done in every church in this area as far as I know.

I hope all of this "warning" has not put people off from attending a Mass while on the Camino. You will not be asked to do any of the things being discussed. Just don't go forward (many people will not) at Communion. No one cares or even notices. Happens every Sunday.
Enjoy the opportunity to experience church while on the Camino and don't let anything said here make you stay away.
 

tyrrek

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Ha ha! I'll stick with the forum! It just seemed that I'd succeeded in taking this thread in exactly the opposite direction to that intended!
 

grilly

Active Member
As a Catholic, I would rather give the visitor a taste of honey of my belief than a taste of vinegar.

The least I can do is to interpret what is going on during a Eucharist to the one who does not know. Jesus sat at the table of folks who were looked down upon. He was inclusive. I expect He wants me to be as well. Who knows what will happen to that visitor?

Very much like when we begin our walk to Santiago: we may start as a tourist and get there a pilgrim. Same with the Eucharist. "Come and see" ... "Taste and see" :)

I understand that not everyone looks at it this way. I expect diversity is in order :)
 
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SabineP

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some and then more. see my signature.
As a roman catholic ( although rather lapsed but 15 years of convent school leaves some marks :wink: )in a country ( Belgium ) that is rapidly getting more and more laic I want to add something. Spain btw is also getting more and more laic despite the fact that most of Spains fiestas and ferias have links with a local saint or other religious backgrounds.
Open minded RC priests welcome everyone nowadays in their churches, well they have to, seeing their churches are getting more and more empty. And the ones I know certainly do not mind giving Communion to a non Roman Catholic.Only twenty years ago a divorced person in roman catholic church couldn't go to Communion but again luckily local priests are more lenient nowadays.
There is a big gap between Vatican way of thinking and the practical living in the local parishes!! And that is a good thing!

BTW : talking about other denominations : Oasis Trails ( dutch protestants )have their own albergue in Villamayor de Monjardin. I had a lovely talk with one of their volunteers about the differences between catholicism and protestantism...
 

Priscillian

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If a Happy Heretic can attend a Catholic mass, I don't see any problem for the rest of you.

I love the mass, especially in Gallego (I have only once attended a mass in Latin which was in Venice. A terrific thunderstorm raged overhead. I am still alive too!). I can say the Our Father in my own way. I was never either baptised nor confirmed and would not want to be. I do not take Communion because. like Priscillian and the Cathars, I do not believe in the Transubstatiation.

No, I very much enjoy Catholic services whether in Castellano, Gallego or French or Portuguese. I just WISH they would sing proper hymns though! (Did you know that Christmas Carols were once banned by the Catholic Church?)

"He who would true valour see
Let him come hither...."
(This one I sing in tunnels and passageways!)

Here is the Lord's Prayer in Gallego. From the 12th century church in Moraime near Muxia.

Nosa Pai que estás no ceo
Santificado sexa o teo nome
Veña o teo reino
E fágase a tía bondade
Aqui na terra como no ceo

Danos hoxe o noso pan de cada dia
Perdoa as nosas ofensas
como tamén perdoamos nos
a quen nos ten ofendido
Y non nos deixis caer na tentación
mais libramos do mal

Amen

P.S. I have always added to "For thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory
FOREVER AND EVER, AMEN

CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHY SOMETIMES THIS IS NOT USED?
 

Priscillian

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BTW : talking about other denominations : Oasis Trails ( dutch protestants )have their own albergue in Villamayor de Monjardin. I had a lovely talk with one of their volunteers about the differences between catholicism and protestantism... This from SabineP

I too had a wonderful stay at this albergue many years ago, and I also spent several late hours talking with one of their volunteers, an ex-businessman who changed his life entirely when his wife died. He is mentioned in Pilgrimage to Heresy as is some of the conversation.

"In my Father's House are many mansions"
http://www.pilgrimagetoheresy.com
http://www.pilgrimagetoheresy.blogspot.com
 
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2004.SJPP-SdC-Finisterre)(1998-2012 completed in sections). Norte (2006.122km) Inglés (2009)
I have always added to "For thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory
FOREVER AND EVER, AMEN

CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHY SOMETIMES THIS IS NOT USED?

Because it was added by the church and is not in the prayer that Jesus taught as is found in the Bible.
 
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2004.SJPP-SdC-Finisterre)(1998-2012 completed in sections). Norte (2006.122km) Inglés (2009)
And before you ask:-

Another familiar doxology is the one often added at the end of the Lord's Prayer: "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever, Amen." This is found in manuscripts representative of the Byzantine text of Matthew 6:13, but not in the most ancient manuscripts. Most scholars do not consider it part of the original text of Matthew, and modern translations do not include it, mentioning it only in footnotes. The same doxology, in the form "For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever", is used in the Roman Rite of Mass, after the Embolism. The Catholic Encyclopedia (1914) states that this doxology "appears in the Greek textus receptus and has been adopted in the later editions of the Book of Common Prayer, [and] is undoubtedly an interpolation." The Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to the Didache and Apostolic Constitutions.

from Wikpedia.

Many Christian prayers end with a Doxology:

A doxology (from the Greek δόξα [doxa] "glory" + -λογία [-logia], "saying") is a short hymn of praises to God in various Christian worship services, often added to the end of canticles, psalms, and hymns. The tradition derives from a similar practice in the Jewish synagogue, where some version of the Kaddish serves to terminate each section of the service.

The ending of the Lord's Prayer therefore reflects common usage in Christian worship.
 
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Priscillian

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Well whadyaknow! Thanks MP. I'll keep saying it though 'cos I like it.
 

Olivares

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grayland said:
I am a little saddened that many of the recent posts seem to me to be very "non-welcoming" to non Catholics even tho they seem to be trying. Almost sounds as if the "Church ladies" are posting. :wink:

The original question was about going forward at Communion and getting a blessing ...not receiving Communion as far as I can see. In the Seattle area (and I assume the rest of the U.S.) it is normal and common for children and non-Catholics to go forward if they wish and simply cross their arms and get a blessing. It is done in every church in this area as far as I know.

I hope all of this "warning" has not put people off from attending a Mass while on the Camino. You will not be asked to do any of the things being discussed. Just don't go forward (many people will not) at Communion. No one cares or even notices. Happens every Sunday.
Enjoy the opportunity to experience church while on the Camino and don't let anything said here make you stay away.
Your statement that the original question is about receiving a Blessing is not entirely correct. The original statement clearly asked on receiving a Blessing as an ALTERNATIVE to receiving Communion. Nowhere in the responses I found one that would discourage Non-Catholics from attending Mass nor any "warnings" :?: . Quite the contrary. Most of the above posts are informative as to when/how/where. I completely agree that, if Non-Catholic, then you ought to honored the Catholic rites and abstain from taking in the Commnunion, noting that THE WHOLE MASS IS INCLUSIVE. Maybe the reason this is unclear to many is because they have not gone through the teachings (Cathecism) that explains the significance and special transformation that makes the Communion such a significant part of the Mass. The Catholic Church does not take the Communion lightly and hence, the requirement that all that move forward to take in Communion understand and accept the meaning of this rite.
 

grayland

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Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Yes
[quote="Olivares.
...SNIP. ... Maybe the reason this is unclear to many is because they have not gone through the teachings (Cathecism) and accept the meaning of this rite....asip...[/quote]

I am not sure if you are suggesting that some or most of the Catholics here are not knowledgeable about the Mass .... or that non-Catholics "have not gone thru the teachings"?? I suspect that few, if any, non-Catholics would have done this. As for the Catholics here...you may be making a pretty big assumption.

Maybe we sholuld just give it a rest.
Everyone is welcome at a Catholic Mass, just as they are in most churches around the world.
 

tyrrek

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Hands up! I'm a liar. I said I wouldn't post on this particular thread again, but I will. I posted that question, but it was meant to be illustrative of the kind of questions non-Catholics may ask themselves when thinking of attending a service (not necessarily Mass). I was hoping for something along the lines of 'top tips' for people unfamiliar with Catholic church-going, such as the difference between types of services, what you might practically be asked to do (e.g. during a mass, shake hands on the sign of peace, put some coins in the plate etc.) In respect of the particular question of receiving a blessing I was actually thinking about people approaching the altar during Communion (without receiving it!) so they can actively be part of the service rather than just sneaking in at the back and feeling nervous for 40 minutes. Grayland kindly posted that a similar blessing system happens in the US as here in the UK on that point. Maybe it does in Spain too, but we still don't know. My overall point here was not to discuss theology, but to use this forum as a way to let future peregrinos who may not be Catholic or even Christian, to know that they are welcome to attend services, and just to give some tips on what's to expect so they feel as comfortable and involved in the service as possible without ruffling feathers. It seems I've done that for them!
 

michaelwalker

Member
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2011 Autumn, Voie de Soulac, Tours Route and Camino Frances. Bordeaux to Bayonne then Dax to SJPP to Finisterre
2013 Summer, Camino Frances. O'Cebreiro to Santiago, then part of Portuguese route.
2014 Autumn, Via De La Plata - Merida to Astorga.
2016 Spring GR 10 and Caimno del Norte
I have found a page that lists the archdioceses in Spain

http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/dioce ... w7.html#es

From that page you can find the office webpages for each diocese.

On those pages you should be able to find the
HORARIO DE MISAS

I am guessing that means, hours of the Mass. ie Mass Times.

Kind Regards

Michael
 
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jpflavin1

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In the U.S., at least in Chicago, all are welcome at Catholic mass. If a non catholic or child who has not received the sacrament of Communion wants to participate in the Communion service, they approach the priest like all others. When their turn comes, they cross their hands on their chest and bow their heads to receive a blessing versus the Eucharist. Many times the Priest will explain this process prior to communion so it is understood.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

grilly

Active Member
tyrrek said:
I was hoping for something along the lines of 'top tips' for people unfamiliar with Catholic church-going, such as the difference between types of services, what you might practically be asked to do (e.g. during a mass, shake hands on the sign of peace, put some coins in the plate etc.) In respect of the particular question of receiving a blessing I was actually thinking about people approaching the altar during Communion (without receiving it!) so they can actively be part of the service rather than just sneaking in at the back and feeling nervous for 40 minutes.

'Top tips', what a great idea! For our daughter's wedding, some non-Catholic friends were really taken aback when everyone started to shake hands for the sign of peace...
I hope someone here can do such a thing. A simple introduction to the mysteries of a Catholic Eucharist...

claire
 

Tia Valeria

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grayland said:
I am not sure if you are suggesting that some or most of the Catholics here are not knowledgeable about the Mass .... or that non-Catholics "have not gone thru the teachings"?? I suspect that few, if any, non-Catholics would have done this. As for the Catholics here...you may be making a pretty big assumption.

Maybe we sholuld just give it a rest.
Everyone is welcome at a Catholic Mass, just as they are in most churches around the world.
Thanks Grayland, this thread was beginning to make me sad as it seemed to be becoming divisive.
'If you are baptised and in good standing in your own church......(ie - if you are a communicant member of your own church..) then there should be no problem receiving communion on the Camino or in Santiago itself. We have never had any difficulty in Spain, or many years ago in France.
The Mass itself is like the English modern service so even in Spanish is fairly easy to follow where you are in the service. If you are unsure of when to stand, sit, or move forward to receive communion then just follow the regular members of the congregation.
If you folow the link to the thread http://www.caminodesantiago.me/board/miscellaneous-topics/topic10543.html you will find a link to a printable version of the Spanish Mass
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
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Because this is a question often asked on Forums, I devoted an Appendix to it in my book:

Attending a mass on the Camino can be a very special experience even if you
are not a Christian. Pilgrims of all faiths and nationalities have been blessed in
the Catholic churches for over a thousand years. Whether or not you participate
in Holy Communion depends on your interpretation of the sacraments.

In 2007 I asked a local Catholic bishop, the Santiago Archdiocese and the
Anglican Church in England if Protestants could take Communion whilst on the
Camino.

The Anglican reply:
Dear Sylvia,
The Anglican Churches recognise Roman Catholic Eucharist as valid
celebrations of the Eucharist, and would be delighted to be invited to
Communion. Unfortunately, the Roman Catholic Church does not permit it,
except in very unusual circumstances.
With best wishes
The Department of Ecumenical Affairs and Studies
Anglican Communion Office
London

Santiago Archdiocese reply

Dear Silvia,
You have asked us if Non-Catholic Christians can receive Communion in
Catholic Churches while on the Way of Saint James. This is a rather important
and controversial subject that has raised numerous theological debates,
especially in Inter-Christian ecumenical gatherings and work. For this reason,
in order to truthfully and fundamentally respond to this question we refer you to
the Catholic Church’s doctrine on this matter.

It is important to point out that the Eucharist is a sacrament of the ecclesial
communion and as a result it is inseparably linked to the full ecclesial
communion. Due to this, it is important to know which Church or ecclesial
community these pilgrims pertain to in order to better understand the extent of
communion between those churches and the Catholic Church.
This being said, in following the DIRECTORY REGARDING ECUMENISM
of the Roman Catholic Church we can derive the following guidelines that
regulate the sharing of the Eucharist with Non-Catholic Christians.
The fundamental principle is that the Catholic Church, in a general sense, only
gives access to the Eucharistic Communion and to the sacraments of penance
and the anointing of the sick to the members of this faith both in worship and in
the ecclesial community. However, it is authorized or even recommended in
certain circumstances of an exceptional nature that Christians who pertain to
other Churches and ecclesial communities be given these sacraments.
In this respect, the Decree of Ecumenism (Number 130) gives us the following
cases:
a) In the case of danger of death Catholic Ministers may administer these
sacraments based on established guidelines (Number 131).
b) In situations of grave and pressing needs the Catholic Ministers will judge
individual cases and will only administer these sacraments in accordance
with these established guidelines.
The conditions (established in rule Number 131) in which Catholic Ministers are
able to administer the Eucharistic sacraments, penance and the anointing of the
sick to a baptized person that finds themselves in the above mentioned
circumstances (Number 130) are:
- that the individual finds it impossible to call upon a Minister from their own
Church or ecclesial community in order to receive the desired sacrament
- that they request this sacrament of their own free will
- that they manifest their catholic faith in this sacrament and
- that they be duly willing
Therefore, in some cases it is possible to administer the Eucharist to those who
are not in perfect communion with the Catholic Church. However, it requires
that there be special circumstances such as it being impossible to have access to
a Minister of ones own faith when trying to satisfy a grave spiritual necessity.
This is also the case when those followers of other Churches and ecclesial
communities profess to the Catholic faith in respect to the Eucharist or to the
sacrament of penance and the anointing of the sick when necessary if they are
disposed to do so.

The Bishop's reply

This is a question that is often asked by pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela.
There is a desire to go to Communion and to be part of the liturgical celebration
while at the same time wanting to respect the practice of the host church. What
is the position?
The general rule in the Catholic Church regarding sacramental sharing is that it
is only permissible for those with whom we share full ecclesial communion.
There are two exceptions to this rule, namely, in danger of death or for “some
other grave or pressing need”.
In the case of grave or pressing need, the following conditions are to be met:
(a) the person must seek it of his or her own initiative
(b) must be unable to receive the sacrament from a minister of his or her own
Church
(c) must manifest Catholic faith in the sacrament
(d) must have proper disposition for the fruitful reception of it”.
How these norms are interpreted varies from place to place and I think that one
can normally assume a broad interpretation. For example, here in Cape Town,
the policy has this to say regarding the criterion that the person should “manifest
Catholic faith in the sacrament”: the person concerned should “acknowledge
that the sacrament is the Body and Blood of Christ given under the form of
bread and wine. This faith is manifest by responding ‘Amen’ to the minister who
presents the sacred bread and saving cup.”

The short answer? By all means go to communion if you are a regular
communicant in your own church and can say ‘yes’ to this being the Body and
Blood of Christ. After all, when you are walking the Camino, you are probably a
long way off from receiving the sacrament from your own church! And surely
everyone on pilgrimage has the proper disposition!
One last thing. You will notice that most Catholic churches give Communion to
the congregation under the form of bread only. This is really a matter of
convenience. We believe that Christ is entirely present under either of the
species. For symbolic value, of course, receiving Communion under both kinds
is more complete.
And one more last thing. When Communion is administered to someone on their
death-bed it is referred to as ‘viaticum’ which means ‘food for the journey’. But
in a real way, every time we receive communion, it is viaticum, food for the
pilgrimage of life!
 
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Priscillian

Veteran Member
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Dutch Pilgrim Carli,
Thank you so much for the translations of the Mass. I have wanted these for a long time. The Latin one I have sung often with Colegium Musicum, and I have "particpated" in the Spanish mass countless times. (I'm the one at the back - not "nervous" though: the Inquisition has another name at the Vatican now but they have stopped burning Happy Heretics like me at the stake. I hope :shock: ) Not having attended mass in English more than one or two times, I have always wondered exactly what was being said. I've printed off the Spanish and Latin translations and am going to put them in my Bible for reference (yes, heretics have these too, along with their Robinson's translations of the Nag Hammadi "Gospels"! And The Sayings of The Buddha.)
Tracy Saunders
http://www.pilgrimagetoheresy.com
http://www.pilgrimagetoheresy.blogspot.com
 
Past OR future Camino
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Actually this topic has not been divisive, it is cleared up a lot of questions.

It is clear that Protestant pilgrims on the Camino qualify to receive the host as there is no other avenue available to them. What is practiced by the priests is officially sanctioned and I, for one, thank the Catholic church for their ministry and hospitality.

However, we are still left with the unanswered question. Will a Spanish priest understand that by crossing your arms you seek only a blessing or will they still offer you the host? Answers folk.

As a ps. I had reason to attend a Catholic Mass in England where the priest is a fellow Camino pilgrim. He knows that I am a Protestant, divorced and re-married. We were sat in a small room in a circle and he came to us. I felt obliged to honour my acquintences position and stood for a blessing with my arms folded. He looked at me and almost shoved the host into my mouth. He did the same to my wife who is also an ordained Protestant cleric.

None of us were hit by lightening, nor did the roof fall in, but he did know from previous conversation that we take an almost Catholic view of the sacrament and he obviously felt this was the right course of action. We were garetful to be included in the sacrament in this way.
 

grilly

Active Member
sillydoll said:
Because this is a question often asked on Forums, I devoted an Appendix to it in my book:

Attending a mass on the Camino can be a very special experience even if you
are not a Christian. Pilgrims of all faiths and nationalities have been blessed in
the Catholic churches for over a thousand years. Whether or not you participate
in Holy Communion depends on your interpretation of the sacraments.
<snip>
And one more last thing. When Communion is administered to someone on their
death-bed it is referred to as ‘viaticum’ which means ‘food for the journey’. But
in a real way, every time we receive communion, it is viaticum, food for the
pilgrimage of life!

Sil, you are simply the best!
claire
 

Olivares

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
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methodist.pilgrim.98 said:
Actually this topic has not been divisive, it is cleared up a lot of questions.
I completely agree; this discussion has been tremendously informative. May everybody have an amazing day and Buen Camino!
 
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Olivares, I think I should also acknoweldge that the teaching of what the eucharist is about by lay people to lay people via the work of catechists is truly important.

In all of this discussion I want to affirm that people need to be taught what the eacharist is about.

Sometimes people do receive communion without having been taught beforehand, but that does not mean the teaching is unimportant. As a Protestant clergyman I take seriously that where people are receiving communion, and they have not been prepared for it, then it is up to the church to put that right as soon as possible.

Knowing why we take communion only adds to the depth and meaning of the experience.

I re-affirm that because I am baptised, confirmed and a communicant member of my own church that in the circumstances of the Camino it is right I should be able to attend Mass and take the host. That the Catholic church accepts that the Camino is one of those exceptional places is to be welcomed with gratitude.

As I have written elsewhere, I have also undertake confession in the Cathedral at SDC and I started by telling the priest I was a Protestant, but was not there lightly or without due thought. He heard my confession, gave me penance which I undertook, andI was grateful to have had my spiritual needs taken seriously.

Your work as a catechist is a blessing to the Church.
 
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Deleted member 3000

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I am not Catholic, yet I have attended more masses than my wife, who is; I stand, sit, or kneel when the lil' ol' ladies do; and I don't go forward for communion. I accept the pilgrim blessing when it is offered, have read parts of the ceremony when asked by the priest, and shake hands at the appropriate spot. I have never felt unwelcome, and I do not think I have intruded, all without instruction in Cathechism of the Catholic Church in which my children are well indoctrinated. I don't have doctrinal issues with the Catholic Church, but don't think I ever would insist that they do it my way if there were differences. I gave a couple of Euros to the priest who had the marketing vision to open his church before Melide and give tours. It was in Spanish, so I got almost nothing, but I admired the enterprise and enthusiasm, and got a nice sello. At some point it is gracious to accept the welcome that is offered, and stop insisting on more than is actually being offered.
 

markss

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances from SJPP (3/10 & 10/10); Primitivo (6/12)
falcon269 said:
At some point it is gracious to accept the welcome that is offered, and stop insisting on more than is actually being offered.

What a terrific statement!
 

ElizabethB8246

New Member
Priscillan: the words "for thine is the kingdom..." that are typically said in the modern Latin Rite (RC) mass in most english speaking countries actually derived from our Orthodox brethren in the Maronite and Melkite rites. To my knowledge, it is not part of the mass translations used by other non-English speaking countries, although I don't believe there's anything wrong with saying it. This lack of synchrony is part of what is driving the revised translation for the Church in the US that will be coming to your local parish soon.

This may not have fully answered your question, but I do hope it's helpful.


---
- 'Solvitur Ambulando'
- St. Augustine
 
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ksam

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For a potentially knotty and difficult topic, this thread has been lovely! Informative and inspirational, Gracias to all who have contributed! Karin
 

annakappa

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Here are the words of the Our Father in Spanish:

Padre nuestro,

que estás en el cielo,

santificado sea tu Nombre;

venga a nosotros tu reino;

hágase tu voluntad

en la tierra como en el cielo.


Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada día;

perdona nuestras ofensas,

como también nosotros perdonamos

a los que nos ofenden;

no nos dejes caer en la tentación,

y líbranos del mal.

This is the end of the Padre Nuestro.
Then follows a short prayer, which terminates with the words:

Tuyo es el reino, tuyo es el poder y la gloria por sempre, Señor., translated into English as: For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever, Amen.
So you see, we do say these words, but they are separated by a short prayer. Anne
 
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markss said:
falcon269 said:
At some point it is gracious to accept the welcome that is offered, and stop insisting on more than is actually being offered.

What a terrific statement!

And a wonderful attitude for a pilgrim, in my opinion.
Thanks for a great post, Falcon.
 

Br. David

Active Member
What a pleasant and informative thread this is. My previous (RC) priest, before I moved away, once said that he and all priests kept a secret from their parishioners - that if they mentioned it it may put them out of work.
The 'secret' was that taking the sacrament had the same forgiveness effect as the confessional, if received with a penitent heart :wink:

I am not in full communion due to some theological obstacles and he knew this. On the day he mentioned this in his sermon he insisted on my receiving the wafer rather than my usual blessing, almost by thrusting it into my mouth, and gave a very old-fashioned deep gaze at the heretic as he did so - that good good man.

Only my personal opinion but I see the situation as this - a church at home is also a community and they know fairly soon who is and who is not in full communion with the Church. To receive the host rather than a blessing in their church where they know you is to possibly cause affront, it is not socially responsible or kind behaviour - unless invited to do so. (The Church of England and the Unitarians invite all to receive as it is a direct request from Jesus to 'do this in remembrance of Me' - and I do not remember him mentioning any limitations).

A pilgrim, however, is a different animal ... if the pilgrimage is from the heart then it is a spiritual journey - one is already a penitent, one is already in communion with that Other, in a personal way. This being the case it seems to me that it is a right act to receive the sacrament wherever and whenever one can if it is offered - if one has opened one's heart to what is taking place - to what is really taking place.
And think - the priest does not read minds, it is God that reads minds.

Just a point of view.
 
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markss

Active Member
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Frances from SJPP (3/10 & 10/10); Primitivo (6/12)
Br. David said:
A pilgrim, however, is a different animal ... if the pilgrimage is from the heart then it is a spiritual journey - one is already a penitent, one is already in communion with that Other, in a personal way. This being the case it seems to me that it is a right act to receive the sacrament wherever and whenever one can if it is offered - if one has opened one's heart to what is taking place - to what is really taking place.
And think - the priest does not read minds, it is God that reads minds.

Just a point of view.

I do respect your point of view while at the same time take exception to it.

No a pilgrim is not a different animal. There are no such "pilgrim" exceptions made in Catholic doctrine. While all may share a spirituality and other admirable qualities, these are not full criterea for invitation to receiving communion in the Roman Catholic Church. A specific communion of Catholic beliefs and Baptism into the Church, not just Christian or spiritual beliefs is one overriding requirement. There are others; such as being in a state of grace - that is having confessed and been absolved of serious sin prior to communion. A period of fasting is generally required prior to communion, although that may vary by region. ALL of these criterea are required.

The actions of that one priest you describe runs contrary to every other priest I've ever heard address the matter in many years of Catholic education and practice. At some Catholic churches an announcement is made prior to communion that specifically states that non-catholics are not invited to receive communion because we are not a communion of faith, however thay are invited to come foreward for a blessing. In fact such an announcement was made at the pilgrim Mass that I attended in Roncesvalles. Some of the published Mass books in Churches also include written instruction to this effect.

I understand that Catholics are invited to communion in non-Catholic churches. The Catholic Church does not recipricate. If a non-Catholic has a strong desire to receive communion in the Catholic Church, why not look into converting to the Catholic faith. The process of doing so would aid in the understanding of what communion means to Catholics. Is it so difficult to respect what Catholics deem not a right but instead a priveledge reserved only for those who are members of the Catholic faith?
 
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The church follows Christ and it is called to operate by Grace and not Law.

Both Br David and I have received communion from Catholic priests who understand that to be true.

In both cases we did not seek the host, it was freely offered to us and freely did we receive.

I am very sensitive to the consciences of others and had not sought to receive communion. To refuse when freely offered would have been throwing grace back into the face of a priest; a sinful act.

As many of the other posts make clear, the conditions on the Camino are exceptional and the Catholic church has the grace to understand that and I re-iterate, I am glad for the welcome that they give to me and all those who are non-Catholics.
 

Br. David

Active Member
Yes, of course, it is only my point of view and it is clear what the Roman church desires of its members - we know this - but none of it was ordained by either God or Jesus. The disciples were not 'ordained' priests they were men and women who followed Jesus. Jesus spoke directly to them "do this in remembrance of me" -

for me it is as I have written - the Pilgrim is a passing creature, here then gone .. a wraith, a passing shadow - where should he/she go to receive sacrament? Do you really believe that God is somehow offended if a pilgrim, on a deeply spiritual pilgrimage, stops at a church and receives the sacrament? Do you really believe that?
Do you think that the Catholic church will shudder and fall if it happens? That a priest such as the marvellous man at Los Arcos cares a fig for whether the pilgrim is in full communion with his chosen church?
Be kind, pilgrim, be of open heart. We know the rules of the Catholic church.

Tell you what, this evening I will write to the Vatican and ask what they think pilgrims should do.
Will get back to you.
All is well. :wink:
 

sillydoll

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I am neither Catholic nor Christian and I fully understand your point of view.
I would never dream of being so disrespectful as to take part in communion in a Catholic (or even a non-Catholic) church. For me it would be like gate-crashing a private and sacred event.
Most people walk the Camino for just a few weeks. I would think attending mass and going up for the blessings (as I do on the Camino) should suffice until one returned home when you can take part in the communion in your own church.
 

grilly

Active Member
Br. David said:
Tell you what, this evening I will write to the Vatican and ask what they think pilgrims should do.
Will get back to you.
All is well. :wink:

Frankly, Br. David, i would suggest you stay from the Vatican at this time until there is a major change there! I like your take on the Eucharist.
Maybe there is a difference of views here along the lines of age. The older we are, the more relaxed we feel about this. Some of the opinions I read here remind me of some younger folks in my parish.

:)
 
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tyrrek

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Judging by recent responses we managed to turn this thread around! Wonderful, informative resposes from Sillydoll, and Br David amongst many others.
 

Br. David

Active Member
I certainly don't want to offend anyone - was just stating my personal point of view.

Holy See site doesn't have an avenue for emailing - ah well. Research shows ..

As we know, officially it is a 'no' to receive the sacrament at an RC church if not in full communion but there is a dispensation. If it is an emergency (define as you will) a non-catholic christian may receive the sacrament at Mass if there is no other church (of their denomination) they can go to.

"If you are a Christian who believes that you are receiving the Body of Christ; if you have a spiritual need and if there is no church of your allegiance accessible, then you may approach the altar to receive the sacrament"

hope this helps
 

markss

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances from SJPP (3/10 & 10/10); Primitivo (6/12)
The Vatican has an official website which has this to say about the subject:

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/a ... s2c1a3.htm


"1400 Ecclesial communities derived from the Reformation and separated from the Catholic Church, "have not preserved the proper reality of the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Holy Orders."239 It is for this reason that, for the Catholic Church, Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not possible. However these ecclesial communities, "when they commemorate the Lord's death and resurrection in the Holy Supper . . . profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ and await his coming in glory."240

1401 When, in the Ordinary's judgment, a grave necessity arises, Catholic ministers may give the sacraments of Eucharist, Penance, and Anointing of the Sick to other Christians not in full communion with the Catholic Church, who ask for them of their own will, provided they give evidence of holding the Catholic faith regarding these sacraments and possess the required dispositions.241"

So the Vatican, while acknowledging a life in communion with Christ with non-Catholics, nevertheless regards Eucharistic intercommunion not possible.

Walking the Camino de Santiago a grave necessity for receiving communion? That would be quite a strech of imagination.
 
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Mark

I regulalry go to Mass on the Camino because my spiritual health is based upon frequent reception of communion. While I do not expect to die while on pilgrimage who can say it might not happen. Both accidents and natural causes take pilgrims every year and some of those who have died might well not be aware that their health is precarious.

It is surely a tenant of the Catholic faith to be in a state of grace at all times as far as that is possible.

The Mass is a means of grace and that is why the Catholic church tries to hold a daily service so that people may avail themselves of that help.

In sil's response above the Bishop's reply acknowledges that the Catholic church inteprets the Vatican ruling in different ways and that he chooses to be as broad and spiritually welcoming as can be.

The Catholic church has many strands and wings; it does not actually speak with a unified voice but one that is flexible to local needs. It is clear from church history that it has always been so.

However, let me assure you if I were at Mass on the Camino alongside yourself for the sake of your conscience I would not take the host. However, I would certainly feel seriously deprived, but I would not wish to cause you offence. If I were at your home church I certainly would not do so because I could go elsewhere that day.

Christ called us to do this "as oft as ye should" and I obey the command of Christ for the sake of my soul.
 
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jpflavin1

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This Quote is not specifically about Communion but was used by my parish priest to close his Sunday sermon. It was used in relation to the Story of the Canaanite women who was seeking healing for her daughter from Jesus.

I believe it is applicable in a broader sense.

Be wary of religious fundamentalists (Catholic or otherwise), those who see things as black & white, neat & tidy, in or out! While there certainly are eternal truths that we seek, I worry about those in any religious tradition who think they have God and all truth in their back pocket. God is “mystery.” God is “love.” God is “beyond” all our imaginings and theological doctrines. So, let’s keep searching – within and beyond – like Jesus did – grateful for the firm but loving challenge of a Canaanite woman with a sick child in need.

This was a Catholic (Paulist) priest.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

markss

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances from SJPP (3/10 & 10/10); Primitivo (6/12)
methodist.pilgrim.98 said:
However, let me assure you if I were at Mass on the Camino alongside yourself for the sake of your conscience I would not take the host. However, I would certainly feel seriously deprived, but I would not wish to cause you offence. If I were at your home church I certainly would not do so because I could go elsewhere that day.

This is not about me or whether or not I would be offended by your actions - first of all I wouldn't be, but who cares!!!

I see this forum as a source of valuable information that all of us can share. In relationship to this thread there seems to be so much expressed as opinion that runs contrary to my own understanding of the laws of the Catholic Church. And by the way we are a Church guided by laws in addition to grace. My understanding comes from a lifetime as a practicing Catholic, 16 years in Catholic schools and subsequently having completed post graduate theology studies. This is the first place I've ever heard it stated that the Catholic Church finds it acceptable for non-Catholics to partake in communion. Quite frankly I do not accept these opinions as authoritative, particularly when all one has to do is refer to the Vatican's own website on the matter. How much more authoritative can it get! Another point I'd like to make is that as Catholics we differ from other religions in that we do have a human authority to whom we pledge obedience. The Holy Father, the Pope. It saddens me that my own Church does not welcome non-members to participate fully in communion. I hope the day comes when that will change. However there is in fact Church law for Catholics that should be respected and obeyed to remain in good standing with the Church. As an extension, it is nice if those sharing in Church celebrations have equal respect for our laws while attending Mass.

My intent is not to pass judgement but rather explain my understanding of my faith to those who are not Catholic. Many times by many priests in several different countries, and in Roncesvalles, I have heard a priest mention before communion that non-Catholics are NOT invited to recieve communion. He will generally explain with regret the reasoning and many times instead offer a personal blessing. I've never heard a priest do the opposite and invite non-Catholics TO recieve communion. As a practical matter when one presents themself in front of the priest at communion time, unless indicating that they are seeking a blessing, the priest will assume they are fully within the perimeters set by the Church as qualified to receive communion and accordingly serve it to them.

Having said that, I don't deny that it has never occurred that an individual priest may have invited one outside of the faith to receive. I would guess that the priest in such an instance thought it justified to deviate from Church law.

While one may find a priest who will make an exception, isn't it clear that the Church itself does not welcome non-Catholics to share in this rite? Does it really take a strike of lightening to get the message? Finally, again I do not understand why anyone who is not Catholic is insistant on receiving communion. There are many other formal and informal rituals associtated with the Camino that allow sharing of personal and spiritual oneness with fellow pilgrims.
 

grilly

Active Member
markss said:
My understanding comes from a lifetime as a practicing Catholic, 16 years in Catholic schools and subsequently having completed post graduate theology studies. This is the first place I've ever heard it stated that the Catholic Church finds it acceptable for non-Catholics to partake in communion. Quite frankly I do not accept these opinions as authoritative, particularly when all one has to do is refer to the Vatican's own website on the matter. How much more authoritative can it get!

Dear markss,

I hear you. I think I understand what you say. You are right. Doctrinally, only Catholics can receive the Eucharist. This is the current law of the Church at the moment.

What some of us are saying, (in my case, I am a Catholic woman, I have coordinated the RCIA program, been a sponsor, a catechist, and I also have a masters in Pastoral studies) is that if the 'law' says this, the 'Spirit' may inspire something else. [I am a product of Vatican II, by the way. This may explain it.]

Now, your explanation is really good for non-Catholics. It gives clear boundaries of what can be done and what cannot be done. It is just that if a non-Catholic happens to be next to me during mass and asks me about it, and if I feel that person will benefit from it, I will invite her or him to come along. I have done it before. Those persons never abused the privilege, may have done it once and then not seeing the point of it for them, did not do it again. They just had a taste of it. Which for me, markss, is a 'taste of heaven.' How could I prevent anyone from having a taste?

But yes, the Vatican website explains why it cannot be done. And you are absolutely right. I just take the law with a grain of salt...

Thank you for all the fabulous explanations you are giving here.
 

Br. David

Active Member
This is a good thread, informative, pleasant - a good thread.

It is good that you have explained so clearly the position of the Catholic Church regarding receiving the sacrament at Mass, both for Catholics not in full communion and for Christians of other churches (and non-Christians too I assume). Many on here would not have known the exact position.

What may seem as opposition to what you say is not that at all, it is merely another view, another way of looking at the situation, specifically of the passing pilgrim on a spiritual journey.

A story - there was once a tribe with many wells which were held sacred and the providers of living water. A guardian of one of the wells saw a stranger walking towards him. The dusty, tired, thirsty, laden stranger stopped at the well and said "give me to drink". The guardian looked at him and saw that he was not of their tribe. His belt was fastened to the left, not to the right as his tribe fastened theirs, his shoes were wrong, as was the way he kept his hair. His tribe faced to the mountains in the north where the snow was and held the cup in their right hand when they drank.
He knew that this stranger came from the tribe in the south and they falsely faced the mountains in the south where the snow was and held the cup in their left hand - heretics all. So he refused, saying that the water was living water and was only for full members of his tribe. The stranger thanked him and walked on.

A few hours later the stranger arrived at a different well, with a different guardian. He too looked at the stranger, saw he was from the southern tribe, who fastened their belt the wrong way and faced the wrong mountains, and held the cup in the wrong hand when they drank but this guardian of the well looked at the man, his tiredness, his laden pack, his cracked lips, and waited. The stranger said "give me to drink" and the guardian took his arm and said "come, sit in the shade where it is cool, let me take your pack, sit here. I will bring you water and will also fill your canteen for your journey, and will go into my house and bring you fresh figs - rest, you are welcome, our living water is for all who thirst."

We all of us must choose which guardian we are.

At the conclusion of the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus said "then go ye, and do likewise"
 
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Tia Valeria

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Thank you Br David for your thoughts.
The most memorable service I have attended (apart from Santiago) was a united service held many years ago in the convent near where we lived. The elderly priest, when asked, said he could not invite the non-Catholic's present to receive the sacrament. However he quietly let it be known that he would not refuse any-one who felt it right to receive. The ciborium was at the back as we entered for those receiving to put their wafer in place.
The chapel was so packed that the women and children were invited to sit with the nuns in their section of the chapel. Fr .....'s face when he opened the ciborium for the consecration was lovely, everyone present who received in their own church had placed their wafer and partook fully in the Mass. It remains one of the most uplifting and Spirit filled services I have ever been to.
I trust that this attitude prevails on the Camino, otherwise we all lose out. Truly God looks on the heart and only we personally can know if we should ask to receive the sacrament or a blessing
 
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markss is perfectly right to talk about the authority of the church and the need for rules.

They should not be dismissed or ignored lightly or without due thought.

I just throw this final thought into the ring.

Some pople brought children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and to pray for them, but the dsiciples scolded the people. Jesus said, "Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the Kingdon of heaven belongs to such as these." He placed his hands on them and then went away. Matthew 19v13.

The church must continously ask itself, how are we being the disciples of Jesus in this day and age and stopping people from coming to Him?
 

virveb

New Member
I attended to many Masses during my camino this year though I am not a Catholic.
One Mass was held only for pilgrims and the kind priest invited all pilgrims that have been baptised to the sacrament. I followed the invitation, crossed my arms as told, but was given not only the blessing but the Eucharist. I will remember him as one of the friendliest people I have ever met, and I am sure God will bless him for being that to all of us without borders.
 

tyrrek

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There are some amazing postings here. As a Catholic (albeit lapsed) I attended more services along the Camino than in several years previously. I never received the Eucharist while on Camino due to my lack of Confession (and believe me, there is a lot to confess), but I always thought of confession as a more personal thing between me and God. I liked Br David's 'secret' that Communion covers both. It seems that I'll have to do the whole Camino thing again now!

Let's all remember that there are peregrinos in the middle of Spain now, who may be reading this forum, may be looking to address areas of their lives and spirituality that they have neglected, forgotten or never discovered. May the Catholic church help them on their Camino.
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
I'm now confused. Can someone summarise this simply please? Am I correct in thinking that:

1 Baptised Catholics at Mass can go to Communion if they wish

2 People who are baptised Christians in denominations in full communion with the Catholic Church such as the Greek Orthodox church may go to communion if they wish

3 People who are baptised Christians in demoninations not in full communion with the Catholic Church and who do not have a minister of their own church available to them may go to communion if they wish

One wonders what the simple man of Galilee might have made of all of this!
 
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tyrrek

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You'll probably get 1,000 different 'summaries', but here's my interpretation.
It's not usually the case for non-Catholics to receive the Eucharist in the Catholic church. HOWEVER...
...if you regularly receive the sacrament in your own Church but cannot access a minister of your own denomination, you understand and accept the meaning of the Eucharist in the Catholic church, you feel a spiritual need to receive the Sacrament, and you are in a good disposition towards it (for example by being on a pilgrimage), you should be able to receive Communion.
If you're not sure that you fit the above criteria, just go up to the altar together with the people receiving communion and seek a personal blessing instead.
What indeed would Jesus make of all this?
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
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Yes
I think the original intent of this thread was to clarify attending a Mass on the Camino for non-Catholics. There have been a lot of good discussion..but has strayed just a little into the area of who can receive Communion.

My recommendations for non-Catholics who wish to attend church service while on the Camino in Spain:
1. Know that you are welcome and that no one will pay particular attention to you, except perhaps to acknowledge you as a pilgrim.

2. Most will not have the urge to take Communion so it will not be an issue. Many Catholics all over the world do not take Communion for various reasons, so you will not stand out much if you just do not go forward. No one pays any attention. If you do decide to go forward, I would not recommend actually receiving Communion, rather simply cross your arms and receive a blessing.

3. There is no secret or mysterious ritual involved with the Mass. It may be a good idea to take a quick look at the Mass in English (sites posted earlier) and see what is going on. It is pretty straight forward.

4. There are parts of the Mass where you stand, sit and kneel. Simply follow along with the rest of the people. If you do look at the Order of the Mass above you will see the reason for these actions at certain times. An example would be standing for the reading of the Gospel by the priest.

5. At one point the priest will call for each to greet one another with the sign of peace (hand shake with those near you). This is certainly a normal and universal thing and all should be very comfortable.

6. Be comfortable in a Catholic Church. Often people do not hang around much after the service and it may seem that you are being ignored or not welcome. This is not the case. Most Catholics go to Mass and then go home or on to other things on Sunday. (at least in the U.S.) There is no real tradition of gathering together and "chit chat" after Mass in most of the U.S.

7. The bottom line....all of the discusssion about Communion should not deter you as it probably will not affect you in any way.
Just go and take away what you like.
 

Br. David

Active Member
"One wonders what the simple man of Galilee might have made of all of this!"

I'm afraid that, according to Roman Catholic rules on the necessity of being in full communion with the church, were they to go to Mass neither He nor his Mother would be allowed to receive the sacrament ..... :shock:

not a criticism of their dogma, more of an observation.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
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I hope this brief comment does not cause additional confusion.

It was mentioned in a previous comment that baptised Catholics can receive Communion. That is not true. You must receive the Sacrament of Communion first. Catholic children are baptised sometime after 6 weeks. They may not receive Communion until they receive the sacrament of Communion and Contrition first. That usually occurs around 3rd grade (8 years old) when they are perceived to be able to understand the Sacraments.

There are seven Catholic Sacraments. Most Catholics receive six. The Sacrament of Holy Orders is only taken by priests.

Ultreya,
Joe
 
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jpflavin1

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By the way, the simple man of Galilee did not have to worry about all of this. There were no Catholics or Communion during that time.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

ElizabethB8246

New Member
I don't think we'll all ever agree on matters of religion; I just wanted to add to previous posts by sharing my own experience in regards to The Most Blessed Sacrament.

As a Catholic who had been away from the faith for many years before my own conversion ('reversion') and being in communion with the church since then, I did not return seeking the Church to change for me, but knowing that I needed to change. Being away and then coming back only increased my faith and love for this sacrament.

The church permits reception in very rare exceptions as has been previously noted in this thread. These exceptions were made for the purpose of making avenues of salvation available in rare/serious circumstances, and not to be exploited as a reason to not return to communion with the church or to avoid the sacrament of confession.

At the end of the day, I believe faithful Catholics are simply trying to provide guidance on reception of the Most Blessed Sacrament because there are so many people (including many Catholics) who truly don't understand the significance of that sacrament, and that improper reception is a serious matter.

I really appreciate that everyone who has posted on this thread has approached this topic, on all sides, with respect and kindness for all, and I hope I've done the same.


---
- 'Solvitur Ambulando'
- St. Augustine
 
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Hi Andrew,
I spent five weeks on the Camino this year and managed to get Mass about 80% of the time.

It is true that most churches are locked during the daytime but will open about half an hour before mass for the local ladies to say the rosary and 'the trimmings of the rosary.'

In most villages 8.00 pm was the time of mass and as previous pilgrims have said; ask old ladies, and listen for the bells , they usually ring about ten minutes before Mass.

In many churches they have the blessing for pilgrims immediately after Mass and time and time again I found that the local people would wish us well with such enthusiasm that one would think that we were the first pilgrims to pass by that year

If you would like a copy of the prayers and responses for Mass just PM me your email address and I'll send them to you.

Buen Camino,
Lydia
Lydia - do you have a copy to send to another pilgrim? I plan to walk in May 2022. TY in advance: I will PM my email address.
Cheers, Catherine.

Moderator comment:
Publishing your email address on a public forum is not recommended.
PM @Lydia Gillen instead.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Vacajoe

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Lydia - do you have a copy to send to another pilgrim? I plan to walk in May 2022. TY in advance: I will PM my email address.
Cheers, Catherine.

Moderator comment:
Publishing your email address on a public forum is not recommended.
PM @Lydia Gillen instead.
You may want to look for a more recent post - this thread is ten years old!
 
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Here's a pdf (https://catholic-resources.org/ChurchDocs/MassTexts-English-Spanish-booklet-withLoH.pdf) which might answer your needs.

Mass Times can often be obtained from websites, and now they are posted at many places along the Camino Francese but generally Spaniards assume that a massgoer will be local and will know the time. If the hospitalero doesn't know (it happens) and there is no turismo, then just ask at a bar near the church. I have noticed exiting a church after a service, that the wives and mothers will proceed to the bar to collect their husbands and children, and proceed home for dinner.
 
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man.grangeburn

Michael A. Nolan
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Sarria-SdC June (2010).
Tui-SdC Sept (2019).
Hi,I was wondering if it is difficult to find a church to attend Mass on the Camino Frances at most stops? Thankyou,Andrew
For anyone still looking for help with Mass Times. It has been some time since I have used it but I think this website still works: misas.org
If you have a translation facility on your computer/laptop/iPad/mobile 'phone it will make things easier.
The Option (top right) is not for languages but for countries.
The website gives Mass Times for Sundays, Saturday Vigils and Holidays of Obligation.
If nothing else, it gives you an idea of where Churches are located.
 
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Gosh, this is an old thread!
I have had some pilgrims in my groups who wanted to attend Mass each morning.
In many villages, it was possible. Mass times are posted on or near the door.
But in some villages, Mass was moved to other villages depending on the day.
 
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When last on the Francese, I noticed that in Galicia, not only were mass times posted, but were also posted for the next pueblo down the road.

While I advise pilgrims to just ask about the local time, we need to remember that Spain is a country where religion is a divisive factor in their history, and likely about half the people you will meet will have no idea when services are held and they really don't particularly care However, whatever their politics (and in Spain the two are connected) the Spanish are astonishingly and wonderfully anxious to help pilgrims, so they'll usually try to find out for you. I recall one incident in Luarca on the del Norte where a small posse of tattooed young Goths got on their cellphones to enquire of their grandmothers what the mass hours might be. They then marched me to the local basilica to make sure that I knew where it might be.
 
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