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Catholic pilgrims

Mary P

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
For those pilgrims who want to attend Mass frequently, or do other religious activities, are services/schedules/places available and accessible during the hours a pilgrim might be likely to want them? Or are most rural churches closed?
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPdP-Burgos, 2015)
Camino Frances (Burgos-Sarria, 2018)
Sarria-Santiago (Oct. 2018)
Mary, always check with the hospitalero, the person at the bar, and on the church door, as well. Things change and sometimes there is mass when you least expect it, other times it's no longer happening when all your guidebooks say it is. I had it happen both ways.

Mass was a priority for me and between St. Jean and Sarria I was able to attend mass in 24 towns. St. James provides. They almost always include a pilgrim blessing, often unique and very moving.

Also, many little chapels along the trail are open for prayer and reflection. Check the door to see if it opens. Some places that looked abandoned turned out to be open and beautifully cared for inside. Love those surprises!
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria to Santiago May 2018
I'm old, fat and slow, so I needed a lot of rest stops. Brought along my rosary and said one decade at every church I passed. Some were closed but I sat on the steps. Some had the most astonishing cemeteries attached. You'd be amazed how refreshing it can be to drop your pack, rest your feet, and recite the prayers for about five minutes.


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Camino(s) past & future
Some were closed but I sat on the steps.
In France, most are open, even the small chapels. My observation was that almost all churches were closed except in cities. Three or four were open for sellos in the hopes of a donation (though none ever implied that a donation was mandatory). Some places included a tour with the sello, Barbadelo, Palas de Rei, and Furelos come to mind.


Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
Almost all the churches in Germany and Switzerland were open as well, not to mention a large number of tiny (seats 6-8?) roadside chapels, plus innumerable wayside shrines with crosses or statues.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept 2016
Camino Portuguse Oct 2018
Two years ago we made it a point to visit every church and chapel we could find. If it was locked, we knocked and walked on. If it was opened, we lite a candle. We found many churches closed due to lack of clergy. One priest would say mass in many towns. Mass happened when he arrived. For us it was really hit or miss. We often found we just missed a noontime mass or early evening mass. The bigger cities it was easier to find mass. In the end just asking the locals pointed us in the right direction

Buen Camino
Camino(s) past & future
CF (4/2017)
CP (5/2019)
In April-May last year, the "places (towns)" where I stayed for the night had pilgrim mass at 7:00 pm in a nearby church.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances May 2014 - May 2017; Finisterre & Muxia May 2016; Ingles Sept 2018
In Sarria when I got my sello at the old church they gave out a list of masses in the churches through to SdC. Before that, lots of evening pilgrim mass opportunities, most memorably: Roncesvalles, Los Arcos (stunning when they light up the altar for mass), Carrion de Los Condes, Triacastela, Rabanal. Buen Camino!

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