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Luggage Transfer Correos

Hello, churches!

2020 Camino Guides

Jakke

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (2016), Via de la Plata / Sanabrés, Barcelona - Santiago, la Lana - 2019
Possibly my thought is the result of the CP being underdeveloped and I'll see more as I go on. I am now in Tomar. This has been a pilgrimage in many ways. There are two things I have missed though:
Churches, that are actually open (any denomination), and
Churches, that try to actively (without pushy behaviour of course)
Reach out to the pilgrims that pass their doors. You'd think that would be up their ally...
Without getting into a religious debate here, what do you think? Could not they do more? I would welcome it. We're adult enough to decline an invitation if needed...
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
It depends. I agree with your point. However, even just having open doors with a banner welcoming all pilgrims, means you have to have someone, not necessarily a cleric, in the church to make sure nothing inappropriate occurs. Once you open church doors, you are inviting both the considerate, cultured, and contrite, as well as the criminal into the building.

I think it goes without saying that there are not enough priests or nuns to keep the doors open. For most Christian denominations, this is a global concern. However, in smaller communities where people engage in subsistence farming, or hold jobs, finding someone with the time and energy to monitor comings and goings in a church might be difficult. While the Camino may be a really big deal to many of us, to many local folks, I would assume it can be a right nuisance at times.

Lastly, and I am NOT trying to be cynical here, but to attract passing pilgrims into open churches, as opposed to heading for the next cafe, you necessarily need to have something they want. Faith and the need for contemplative prayer is not commonly found among the youngest among us. Appreciation for fine, ancient architecture and religious art is similarly not common among the young, in general. Also, in my experience, there appears to be an inverse relationship between age and religious conviction and the need to associate with organized religion.

Even if one were to go "round the bend" and "over the top" and offer free Wi-Fi and a cool place, out of the sun to use it, you would likely get resistance from the nearby cafes who are using the same gambit to attract pilgrims to their businesses.

It is a "sticky wicket..."

I hope this adds to the dialog.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Jakke, how do you always manage to think up the thought-provoking questions? I was disappointed when a church I wanted to see was cerrado, but as t2andreo points out, it's a problem (at least in the US). In Baltimore I lived literally in the shadow of two huge 160+ year old (yeah, not old to the rest of the world, but in the US it means something) Catholic churches with attached large schools--Holy Cross was the 'German' church, one block north, and half a block south, the 'Irish' Mary Star of the Sea. Eight blocks east was the large "Polish' All Saints with it's school. All three schools were boarded up until just before I left, when Jesuits started a boys school at Mary Star of the Sea. One priest 'rode' a circuit between the three churches, which even at Christmas and Easter looked empty.

Not a solution to this question (which I read as what sort of outreach should there be), but I found a few ways into locked churches. First, love love love the tips in the CSJ books on who might have the keys:)...and if that failed, I was known to hang out looking for any passing woman of a certain age. Sometimes, sad pilgrim eyes and a pleasant tone got me in when a workman showed up:rolleyes:. I think even four years later they laugh about me in Estella. I invariably found that the person who let me in was happy that a pilgrim wanted to see their church or chapel, and would show me around, let me try to roll my r's, etc. I may have been very lucky, or a giant pain in the rear, but there was not one locked church or chapel I wanted to see that I didn't get into... eventually.

long off topic story to follow: I was in Ponferrada on Pentecost, loving the sight of little boys and girls running around in First Communion clothes, and wanted to see San Tomas de Ollas (what a gem, worth the short walk off the Camino) before attending Mass (though I worried how I would do in what would be a very crowded church). I walked up to the town, and paced back and forth in the plaza, wondering if it was too early on a Sunday to knock on the house with the red vine on the balcony (or however it was described in the guideo_O...thank you CSJ) to see if they had a key. Finally a nice woman came out, and surmised by my pack and expectant pilgrim smile I wanted in...she let me look around, we talked about the church's history and my zig-zag pilgrimage route, and as she stamped my credential I asked if this was still an active parish church. It was and I was invited back for Mass. Probably a dozen people attended, and she had clearly warned the priest that my Spanish was deplorable--it was the only time in 90 days that I understood the homily. He used little words and spoke slowly, and would glance at me to see if I was following along. I have similar stories for the Norte and Primitivo as well...but San Tomas, what a gem!

Back to outreach: I wonder if the churches are already doing a lot with a little with the priest shortage. They may feel it is the pilgrims who don't want to see them. I don't know. I saw pilgrims (not judging, just commenting on what I saw) literally run in and out of the cathedral in Pamplona--stamp my book and I'm on my way. I heard older women pleading with pilgrims to show appropriate respect for the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in Lugo (once) and Leon (way too many times). They may not want to be a stop if there's going to be inappropriate behavior. In the little places that were opened for me, they seemed relieved and happy that I wanted to pray, and was dressed as appropriately for church as a pilgrim can be.

what are your thoughts, Jakke?

edit for name mispelled :oops:
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy (2010; 2016), Norte, Primitivo, Muxia/Fisterra (2010), Mozarabe, Via de la Plata, Sanabres (2011), Arles, Aragones, Frances (2015)
Interesting topic! :)

Spain (and Portugal seems to be the same) has trouble with thievery... Many churches came to lock their doors or/and gates when no one could be present to look after their "treasure". Disrespect, poverty or loss of faith, it's kind of hard to tell how it's became this way? Whatever the reason, it just led to the vision Tom pointed out. I believe it was not always that way though, as ie in France, most churches are open even if there is no one to guard the place.

I also agree with Smallest_Sparrow, it is often possible to find a "keeper of keys and ground" to open a closed gate/church. It would often be someone who's invested him-herself in his-her parish's life and who would be fine to give some time and offer a private visit to an interested pilgrim.

About churches reaching out to pilgrims, I felt quite fine with what I've experienced. Some places were passive, other more proactive. I guess it's hard to find balance between the 2, and to act accordingly to the "kind" of pilgrim who enters the church (from flying by sort to seeking relation sort)... There are generally more "guardians" in popular places. I also think it's always possible to have "more" if one seeks so.
While most pilgrims are a nuisance to locals, the ones who express genuine and respectful interest to a church and/or faith are noticed and welcomed with more warmth than the others. They usually just stand out...

Faith and the need for contemplative prayer is not commonly found among the youngest among us. Appreciation for fine, ancient architecture and religious art is similarly not common among the young, in general. Also, in my experience, there appears to be an inverse relationship between age and religious conviction and the need to associate with organized religion.
Hummmm........... I don't know if that is generally so, but I can tell for myself that it generally is not (if I may call myself "young" :rolleyes:)
And, may I add, I met many Youngest to whom it was not either..... and many Oldest to whom it was!
Is there some hope here, or what? ;)

you would likely get resistance from the nearby cafes who are using the same gambit to attract pilgrims to their businesses.
Well, this may then lead to a new attraction on the Camino: open street fight between priests and bar-tenders. :D (ok, I'll just be leaving now :rolleyes:)

Back-on-topic
Agree again with Smallest_Sparrow: isn't it the pilgrims who generally are quite not exactly... pilgrims? :)eek: another touchy topic here!) ;)


 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Hm, on that topic, perhaps we/you could volunteer to keep churches open by donating part of our holidays/vacations, rent a place in the respective village and spend 8 hours or so inside a church to take care that nothing bad happens ... Buen Camino, SY
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I think I agree with both @t2andreo and @Marion-SantiagoInLove...I think there has been a falling away from organized religions, leaving mostly the older members. But I also see in some churches a resurgence, primarily in the young, who are looking for something missing.
 

Jakke

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (2016), Via de la Plata / Sanabrés, Barcelona - Santiago, la Lana - 2019
Nice idea, Sy! A little poll then: do you think the churches feel they have lost the battle for the souls - resulting in despondency?
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
Last night I stayed in Monreal, where both the bar/restaurant and the Albergue are out reaches of the local church. But when the church bell rang at 8:30 pm and my dinner companions recognized it as a call to mass, we couldn't find the service at first, as it was held in an unmarked home near the church. We just walked in and joined in. After the service, we were blessed. But why wasn't there a notice about the mass in the Albergue next to the church, giving date, time, and location? I feel that the church has made itself the centre of a dwindling community (no more grocery store) except for the religion bit.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Albertagirl,

Today you probably are on route to Eunate. Lucky you!
A great spot to wile away the time when approaching Eunate via the Camino Aragones is the bar/resto El Camino on calle Mayor, in nearby Eneriz. Wonderful food and a simpatico welcome. Often filled with macho hunters late in the autumn.

Carpe diem and Buen camino!
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Nice idea, Sy! A little poll then: do you think the churches feel they have lost the battle for the souls - resulting in despondency?
I am not going there, not because of the forum rules regarding discussing religious topics, but because you would need to start with the classic philosophical approach: If we want to discuss xyz, we first have to define what we all mean by saying xyz.

Buen Camino, SY
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Last night I stayed in Monreal, where both the bar/restaurant and the Albergue are out reaches of the local church. But when the church bell rang at 8:30 pm and my dinner companions recognized it as a call to mass, we couldn't find the service at first, as it was held in an unmarked home near the church. We just walked in and joined in. After the service, we were blessed. But why wasn't there a notice about the mass in the Albergue next to the church, giving date, time, and location? I feel that the church has made itself the centre of a dwindling community (no more grocery store) except for the religion bit.
Good idea about the notice...when i stayed in San Miguel in Estella, they had posted times for the churches and also the monastery at Irache ...after a day of me lurking at several of the churches and walking down and back to Irache, I came back with a note-page of time corrections, that the hospitaleras were kind enough to transcribe onto their posted list immediately. In fact, when I'd studied the list before heading out, they'd come over to make sure I knew where each church was, and really worried over the fact that the church I most wanted to see would not open again until after I left. heh heh, they underestimated my ability to waylay the keeper of the keys.:rolleyes:
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Hm, on that topic, perhaps we/you could volunteer to keep churches open by donating part of our holidays/vacations, rent a place in the respective village and spend 8 hours or so inside a church to take care that nothing bad happens ... Buen Camino, SY
Why do I keep having this mental image of some of our more colorful forum members standing in the vestibule, slapping their hiking pole into their opposite hand while scanning the crowd like a bouncer...

on a more serious note, I wonder what percentage of those walking on the pilgrimage route care to see any churches, or for that matter, how many of the hospitaleros do? I know that the hospitaleros who most assisted me in finding a church or Mass were Spanish Catholics, but I don't imagine one's religion, or opinion towards religion in general or Catholicism in particular, is on the application to assist at an albergue (maybe except for the Catholic albergues). This is not to say those walking, or those assisting in the care and feeding of walkers, should have an interest in religion or churches (be it for architecture, art, history, etc)...it may be asking a lot for overworked hospitaleros to have comprehensive lists for everything everyone seeks. I expected to find my own churches, and was happily surprised when helped in that endeavor. there were times I felt that I was the first to ask about a church in some time. In terms of demand from those who walk, church outreach may be percentage wise a small issue.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
Albertagirl,

Today you probably are on route to Eunate. Lucky you!
A great spot to wile away the time when approaching Eunate via the Camino Aragones is the bar/resto El Camino on calle Mayor, in nearby Eneriz. Wonderful food and a simpatico welcome. Often filled with macho hunters late in the autumn.

Carpe diem and Buen camino!
@mspath
I am currently in Tiebas and shall be going on to Eunate and Puenta la Reina tomorrow. As it is 13 km. from here to Eunate and I want to spend some time there if I can (I believe that the church there will be open from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm) I shall probably not have time to stop in Eneriz. In any case, I eat little (today nothing) at noon. It sounds like a great place to stop for a rest, but I want to return to Eunate, which I took a short detour from the Frances to spend time in last year.
I have just been distracted from writing this email by a young Italian male sitting on the bed next to me clad only in his very skimpy underpants and perfuming himself. I am getting pretty good at custody of the eyes, but have not yet mastered custody of the nose. It is amazing what you can learn (or not) on Camino.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Jakke, you have been concerned by the 'exploitation' of pilgrims by those who live along the Ways; and, are perturbed by the absence of infrastructure to enable or entice pilgrims to enter churches along the Ways. Most of those old buildings you are passing see barely a dozen attend the monthly mass which the itinerant priest tries to organise within his circuit of parishes. Opening, lighting, securing those poor old stones for the benefit of the occasional passer-by is way beyond the economic or human resources of those places. Even in the larger towns congregations are a small percentage of populations.

Perhaps we should turn this all around. How about if pilgrims were charged a significant fee to walk the Way in exchange for which they gained guided access to points of interest without the need to seek out key-holders or priests? Perhaps every pilgrim should have to perform service - running the Alburgues, cleaning, repairing and care-taking the churches and other ancient monuments. Perhaps every pilgrim should be allocated a mojone or a bridge or a waymark that was their responsibility. Perhaps if we all want our caminos to comply with our expectations it is time that we worked on the delivery instead of relying on a nebulous population of others who should be responsible.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
Jakke, you have been concerned by the 'exploitation' of pilgrims by those who live along the Ways; and, are perturbed by the absence of infrastructure to enable or entice pilgrims to enter churches along the Ways. Most of those old buildings you are passing see barely a dozen attend the monthly mass which the itinerant priest tries to organise within his circuit of parishes. Opening, lighting, securing those poor old stones for the benefit of the occasional passer-by is way beyond the economic or human resources of those places. Even in the larger towns congregations are a small percentage of populations.

Perhaps we should turn this all around. How about if pilgrims were charged a significant fee to walk the Way in exchange for which they gained guided access to points of interest without the need to seek out key-holders or priests? Perhaps every pilgrim should have to perform service - running the Alburgues, cleaning, repairing and care-taking the churches and other ancient monuments. Perhaps every pilgrim should be allocated a mojone or a bridge or a waymark that was their responsibility. Perhaps if we all want our caminos to comply with our expectations it is time that we worked on the delivery instead of relying on a nebulous population of others who should be responsible.
If I were charged "a significant fee" to walk the Way, I doubt if I would ever do so. But then, it would have become something that I would not want to do.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I have just been distracted from writing this email by a young Italian male sitting on the bed next to me clad only in his very skimpy underpants and perfuming himself.
off topic but I can't help it...one small muni albergue, all the beds were single, no bunks. Talking with a young pilgrim ,who didn't speak English (important for story)--I was sitting on my bed, he was standing in front of me and quite close. While discussing the road, the next day, etc in our shared broken Spanish, he kept adjusting himself...inches away from my face. In mid broken Spanish I interjected "need help with that?' in English, then continued my plans for tomorrow in Spanish. Conversation over, I tried not to laugh as he walked away, still adjusting.
ah, good times
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
... How about if pilgrims were charged a significant fee to walk the Way in exchange for which they gained guided access to points of interest without the need to seek out key-holders or priests? Perhaps every pilgrim should have to perform service - running the Alburgues, cleaning, repairing and care-taking the churches and other ancient monuments. Perhaps every pilgrim should be allocated a mojone or a bridge or a waymark that was their responsibility. Perhaps if we all want our caminos to comply with our expectations it is time that we worked on the delivery instead of relying on a nebulous population of others who should be responsible.
The short answer is NO! The slightly longer answer is Yes, but after ones Camino. A lot of us came back after our Camino(s) to help in albergues or similar. I think we shouldn't confuse the two. Buen Camino, SY
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
"If I were charged "a significant fee" to walk the Way, I doubt if I would ever do so.". "The short answer is NO!".

Oh good, thats alright then. I'm glad I've had my second really bad idea for today. I've realised that I have put so many provocative suggestions into the first three sentences of that paragraph that no one has got to the fourth one yet ;)

Edit: I have given myself points for trolling and will now b*gger-off and do something useful for a bit.
 

Jakke

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (2016), Via de la Plata / Sanabrés, Barcelona - Santiago, la Lana - 2019
Jakke, you have been concerned by the 'exploitation' of pilgrims by those who live along the Ways; and, are perturbed by the absence of infrastructure to enable or entice pilgrims to enter churches along the Ways. Most of those old buildings you are passing see barely a dozen attend the monthly mass which the itinerant priest tries to organise within his circuit of parishes. Opening, lighting, securing those poor old stones for the benefit of the occasional passer-by is way beyond the economic or human resources of those places. Even in the larger towns congregations are a small percentage of populations.

Perhaps we should turn this all around. How about if pilgrims were charged a significant fee to walk the Way in exchange for which they gained guided access to points of interest without the need to seek out key-holders or priests? Perhaps every pilgrim should have to perform service - running the Alburgues, cleaning, repairing and care-taking the churches and other ancient monuments. Perhaps every pilgrim should be allocated a mojone or a bridge or a waymark that was their responsibility. Perhaps if we all want our caminos to comply with our expectations it is time that we worked on the delivery instead of relying on a nebulous population of others who should be responsible.
Could be worth a try on a voluntary basis. Thanks for thinking with me!
 

Jakke

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (2016), Via de la Plata / Sanabrés, Barcelona - Santiago, la Lana - 2019
Could be worth a try on a voluntary basis. Thanks for thinking with me!
An additional note. I know that, e.g., in Holland the Catholic church is known for trying to keep the church buildings open. Nice, but personally I would be even more interested in contact with active members - prirsts or laymen.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
An additional note. I know that, e.g., in Holland the Catholic church is known for trying to keep the church buildings open. Nice, but personally I would be even more interested in contact with active members - prirsts or laymen.
Not much help to you now on your current route, but I looked at a book that listed all the convents and monasteries in Spain that provided lodging, and arranged a night at some of them...in some cases I could share meals and attend services, in all I had some chance for interaction besides a stamp in my credential. The monks especially were a talkative bunch, I could imagine you having great conversations.
 

cher99840

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
An additional note. I know that, e.g., in Holland the Catholic church is known for trying to keep the church buildings open. Nice, but personally I would be even more interested in contact with active members - prirsts or laymen.
I walked St Olav's in Norway last year with a pilgrim's office guided tour. Much of it was going church to church and meeting locals. I'll take walking on my own over that, as sometimes we didn't leave until lunch time because the local wasn't available to open the church until 11 a.m. For me a pilgrimage is a solitary experience, taking each day's gifts as they naturally unfold.
 

boski

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/primitivo (15)
Possibly my thought is the result of the CP being underdeveloped and I'll see more as I go on. I am now in Tomar. This has been a pilgrimage in many ways. There are two things I have missed though:
Churches, that are actually open (any denomination), and
Churches, that try to actively (without pushy behaviour of course)
Reach out to the pilgrims that pass their doors. You'd think that would be up their ally...
Without getting into a religious debate here, what do you think? Could not they do more? I would welcome it. We're adult enough to decline an invitation if needed...

You are 100% right. I am not religious at all but i could not believe the minimal involvement of the churches. It's supposed to b a pilgrimage. They didnt even have boards with address for albergues or information to help you on your journey. Most of the churches we passed were closed. Im glad i didn't do it as a religious experience or i would've been livid
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Welcome to the forum @boski. An interesting viewpoint. You have no religion or interest, presumably, in the institutions of the church and yet you feel the church should have your interests in mind? I'm sure some of the churches struggle to believe the minimal involvement of many 'pilgrims'. "It's supposed to b a pilgrimage." Pilgrimage is in the heart not the landscape.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
You are 100% right. I am not religious at all but i could not believe the minimal involvement of the churches. It's supposed to b a pilgrimage. They didnt even have boards with address for albergues or information to help you on your journey. Most of the churches we passed were closed. Im glad i didn't do it as a religious experience or i would've been livid
I'm sorry your Camino experience was not what you were expecting. Maybe it changed since 2012, but I walked several caminos then, including the norte/primitivo, and always felt welcomed by the local community and their churches. I stayed in several monasteries and convents, got into every church I wanted to see, had a few long discussions with priests and monks, and several short exchanges with very kind sisters. I don't know if there is something similar for the portugues, but for spanish caminos i found the following useful:
The Spiritual Traveler Spain, a Guide to Sacred Sites (Beebe Bahrami)
Lodging in Spain's Monasteries (Eileen Barish)
www.monasteriesofspain.com

I approached my trip with the idea that I was the one seeking, and was grateful that when i knocked someone answered.
I hope you had a good trip in spite of it.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
You are 100% right. I am not religious at all but i could not believe the minimal involvement of the churches. It's supposed to b a pilgrimage. They didnt even have boards with address for albergues or information to help you on your journey. Most of the churches we passed were closed. Im glad i didn't do it as a religious experience or i would've been livid
There is a shortage of priests, also in Spain, and their first and foremost task is taking care of their parishioners. I know a few Spanish priests quite well and know that they are stretched very thin and work incredibly long hours. The church=human beings, and human beings can only do so much in one day. Buen Camino, SY

PS As stated elsewhere, there is always the possibility, especially if you speak Spanish, to volunteer and help to keep more churches open - for everybody, not just for pilgrims ...
 
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Holly Mitchem

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2016
I am an art historian and I also loved stopping in the churches and attending pilgrim's masses along the Camino Frances in July. The churches were one of my favorite parts of the Camino. Right outside of Melide there is the small church of Santa María de Melide right on the Camino. Its interior is covered with the most amazing 15th century frescos. The day we visited there was a young Spanish pilgrim volunteer who gave a brief, docent-type tour of the interior. I stayed for about a half hour and heard him give it in Spanish, English, and French. At the entrance to the church he had set up a small card table with cold lemonade and cookies for passing pilgrims. Although I don't feel a vocation to be a volunteer hospitalera, at the time and ever since I have returned, I could envision myself spending several weeks at a village or town on the Camino and watching over and giving brief tours of a church or chapel.
 
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Montana Jayne

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2015 - Camino Frances
? Camino Ingles
I am an art historian and I also loved stopping in the churches and attending pilgrim's masses along the Camino Frances in July. The churches were one of my favorite parts of the Camino. Right outside of Melide there is the small church of Santa María de Melide right on the Camino. Its interior is covered with the most amazing 15th century frescos. The day we visited there was a young Spanish pilgrim volunteer who gave a brief, docent-type tour of the interior. I stayed for about a half hour and heard him give it in Spanish, English, and French. At the entrance to the church he had set up a small card table with cold lemonade and cookies for passing pilgrims. Although I don't feel a vocation to be a volunteer hospitalera, at the time and ever since I have returned, I could envision myself spending several weeks at a village or town on the Camino and watching over and giving brief tours of a church or chapel.
 

Montana Jayne

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2015 - Camino Frances
? Camino Ingles
We did the CF last year from SJPP to Santiago as a religious pilgrimage. Here and there we found locked churches, but they were the exception. We were able to attended pilgrim masses nearly every evening and found the priests attentive to the pilgrims, giving blessings and tours at the end of mass. The churches were so very beautiful!!! We just loved our pilgrimage and the wonderful Spanish people we met everywhere we went.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
Although I don't feel a vocation to be a volunteer hospitalera, at the time and ever since I have returned, I could envision myself spending several weeks at a village or town on the Camino and watching over and giving brief tours of a church or chapel.
Peg studied art and it may be fair to call me a history nut. We had a hoot giving an impromptu tag team lecture to some Japanese pilgrims in front of some paintings at the cathedral's museum in Astorga. Actually, thinking about it, we had done this before in Boston where the audience was a museum guard (immigrant) and the subject was a painting of a famous battle where a remote cousin was a minor figure. I think he appreciated both the art and the history. Maybe we should find us a camino church.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
For the last few years our forum member, Rebekah Scott, has hosted a foreign priest who has given holiday time to hold masses in the churches on the meseta near Moratinos - Terradillos and San Nicolás. The services specifically welcome pilgrims and notices are posted along the way in albergues and bars. I know that this year she hosted a New Zealand priest, among others.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
I cannot agree more with how special Santa Maria de Melide is. And yet so few people stop in in their rush to what I don't know. I also took full advantage of the information provided by the young man, explaining the frescos, engraving and iron work. It is one of these special places together with Eunate, and while right on the Camino sadly ignored.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
I cannot agree more with how special Santa Maria de Melide is. And yet so few people stop in in their rush to what I don't know. I also took full advantage of the information provided by the young man, explaining the frescos, engraving and iron work. It is one of these special places together with Eunate, and while right on the Camino sadly ignored.

Another worthwhile visit is the guided visit of the cathedral's roof in Santiago. Not much fun if you have fear of heights, but extremely interesting. I wish they had a written booklet of sorts ato better remember all that was explained.

On the Portugues, in Barcelos, there's a lovely church near the townhall that offers great contrast between its very strict, plain stone work and the use of blue tiles on its arches.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Two other churches come to mind: the one behind the albergue is San Vicente de la Barquera on the Norte and the one in Padron, on the Portugues, where the original stone to which Santiago's boat was supposed to have been mored. If you are lucky the cleaning lady may be around, or can be found, and she will open the door.

The one in San Vicente has received special recognition as a historical monument of some kind and it has a "guard" who gives visits. Its proportions a sublime, and each wood slab on thr floor in actually a tomb.

Also the one in Fromista, not the unconsegrated one, but one that is still in use and has works that have an interesting history (stolen, returned) and someone to show you around.

Ah, and another on the Primitivo, also attended, in Vilabade. It was built in 1447 and is also a national monument. Frescos but also an anachronic statue of St-Joseph dressed as a pilgrim.

Ah, and as you walk into Pontevedra there's the shell shapped chapel, the Santuario de la peregrina, also with an atendant, as well as the one that is part of the Convento San Francisco. Finally, in Pontevedra there is also the Santuario da Aparicion where the Virgin appeared to Sister Lucia. The chapel is very ordinary in terms of architecture though, but the good news is that the convent runs an albergue there that is not in Brierly but in a German guide. Not dorms but single or double rooms are albergue prices.

Btw, the church in Barcelos with the beautiful tiles is Igreja Matriz.

Hope these ideas of churches open and/or with historical and architectural info will be of interest to some.
 

kelleymac

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
I often had to ask if there was a mass nearby the albergues, but usually could find one. -- On Good Friday, though, all the churches were closed in the little villages :( , so I suggested to my son, Ciaran, that we say a "Glory Be" every time we saw a cross. (The Glory Be is a short prayer.) We must have said hundreds of Glory Be's that day! Towards evening, Ciaran would tell me "Don't look over here Mom! There's a cross!"
 

HeidiL

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2004-), Portugués, Madrid, 4/5 Plata, 1/8 Levante, 1/8 Lana, Augusta, hospitalera Grado.
I wouldn't demand open churches (but am overjoyed when they are open), but would very much appreciate a sign with times of masses. (I have frequently had luck in the mornings, when the old ladies are cleaning the churches, and one times was asked to climb the steep steps to a side altar to replace the flowers because they were too steep for the volunteers.)
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
I wouldn't demand open churches (but am overjoyed when they are open), but would very much appreciate a sign with times of masses. (I have frequently had luck in the mornings, when the old ladies are cleaning the churches, and one times was asked to climb the steep steps to a side altar to replace the flowers because they were too steep for the volunteers.)
See this handy map re masses along the camino .

First created 2010/updated 2012 in Google maps and entitled Parroquias de los Caminos de Santiago, this lists opening times for churches and the mass times as of 2012. You might copy the map as a KML file to then add to your own set of Google maps for further reference while walking. Or you could click print to make a continuous flat copy with a wealth of reference data.

For more posts re mass on the camino see this earlier Forum thread.
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/i-plan-on-doing-the-the-frances-is-it-possible-to-go-to-mass-everyday.36876/
 
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Jakke

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (2016), Via de la Plata / Sanabrés, Barcelona - Santiago, la Lana - 2019
Welcome to the forum @boski. An interesting viewpoint. You have no religion or interest, presumably, in the institutions of the church and yet you feel the church should have your interests in mind? I'm sure some of the churches struggle to believe the minimal involvement of many 'pilgrims'. "It's supposed to b a pilgrimage." Pilgrimage is in the heart not the landscape.
Ah, sure. Still, I wish there would be more of an efford. I am in Tui now. I was invited by a café owner to their services. That's it, for all of Portugal. One invite with a shy smile and almost apoligetic attitude.
 

Jakke

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (2016), Via de la Plata / Sanabrés, Barcelona - Santiago, la Lana - 2019
See this handy map re masses along the camino .

First created 2010/updated 2012 in Google maps and entitled Parroquias de los Caminos de Santiago, this lists opening times for churches and the mass times as of 2012. You might copy the map as a KML file to then add to your own set of Google maps for further reference while walking. Or you could click print to make a continuous flat copy with a wealth of reference data.

For more posts re mass on the camino see this earlier Forum thread.
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/i-plan-on-doing-the-the-frances-is-it-possible-to-go-to-mass-everyday.36876/
Obrigado!!
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Ah, sure. Still, I wish there would be more of an efford. I am in Tui now. I was invited by a café owner to their services. That's it, for all of Portugal. One invite with a shy smile and almost apoligetic attitude.
I'm so sorry! I remember you really wanted to have that sort of interaction, and tried to prepare so well for it before you left (in some really interesting threads here). I hope it improves, and certainly it should in Santiago.
Buen Camino
 

Jakke

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (2016), Via de la Plata / Sanabrés, Barcelona - Santiago, la Lana - 2019
I'm so sorry! I remember you really wanted to have that sort of interaction, and tried to prepare so well for it before you left (in some really interesting threads here). I hope it improves, and certainly it should in Santiago.
Buen Camino
Obrigado!
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
I cannot say anything about the Camino Portuguese, except it has much more of a history as a trade route than a pilgrimage path. I live on the Camino Frances, and can tell you a good bit of effort has gone into opening the churches along the Way to pilgrims, at least in the summertime, and at least in Castilla y Leon. July through September, there's supposed to be a townsperson in the church with the doors open -- unfortunately it's a government-diocese intiative, so nobody checked with actual pilgrimage people to determine the best opening times! Still, more than 1,100 people stopped in our little Iglesia de Santo Tomas de Moratinos in 2016, much fewer than we've had in the last six summers. For every pilgrim who stops, at least four or five go whizzing past. And of those who stop in, I'd say 60 percent only want a sello. They never even peek in the sanctuary door.
Maybe three or four each day go inside and spend a bit of time. And that's who we do it for.

As for "outreach?" We have regular Sunday Masses (although the Mass time seems to change each week!). When there are pilgrims about I will often step up and invite them to come to Mass, if they have not figured out what the ringing bells and gathering villagers signify. PIlgrims are uniformly amazed and even shocked to be asked to go to church. I always laugh out loud when I'm told "I'm a pilgrim. I don't have time to go to church!"

As Kanga said above, the Camino Chaplaincy, the people who run English-language Masses at Santiago cathedral, also posted volunteer priests to Moratinos the past two summers. These guys open the church in the morning, and occasionally hear pilgrim confessions. In the afternoon we hold a pilgrim Mass (in English) at the parish church in Terradillos de los Templarios -- an average of 10 pilgrims attend each service.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
"I'm a pilgrim. I don't have time to go to church!"
Oh for f)*&£ )@%(%*&@&Y£$**(())£$@£!@*)_(_)&(^&%^£!@()___^$$$£!

I'm a pilgrim. It isn't even my church. But I will always have time to try to become part of what the camino is all about.

Or maybe that is just a furtherance of a dear friend. When asked to join us for solstice said "I think I'm busy. When is it?" and followed our puzzlement with " I don't think I could take my clothes off".

edit: thanks to Reb & Sy for the 'likes': I was busy reprimanding my heavy thumb when they posted ;)
 
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SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
My thoughts exactly @Tincatinker my @#$$$$ thoughts exactly. I remember the last time I passed through Mansilla de la Mulas in 2014 (end of October) There was a healthy number of pilgrims in the albergue municipal and surely a few more in other accommodation. At least 60 in town, perhaps even as much as 80. Mass was at a very reasonable time (19:00) - Pilgrims attending? 1! Buen Camino, SY
 

Montana Jayne

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2015 - Camino Frances
? Camino Ingles
A hearty thanks to any and all of the Spanish people who have tried to enhance the pilgrimage experience for all of us. I am especially grateful for all of the "Buen caminos" from the locals. Sometimes it lifted me up when I was tired or discouraged. I so love Spain!
 

Jakke

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (2016), Via de la Plata / Sanabrés, Barcelona - Santiago, la Lana - 2019
Welcome to the forum @boski. An interesting viewpoint. You have no religion or interest, presumably, in the institutions of the church and yet you feel the church should have your interests in mind? I'm sure some of the churches struggle to believe the minimal involvement of many 'pilgrims'. "It's supposed to b a pilgrimage." Pilgrimage is in the heart not the landscape.
In fact, yes - see the Great Commission!
 

Jakke

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (2016), Via de la Plata / Sanabrés, Barcelona - Santiago, la Lana - 2019
A hearty thanks to any and all of the Spanish people who have tried to enhance the pilgrimage experience for all of us. I am especially grateful for all of the "Buen caminos" from the locals. Sometimes it lifted me up when I was tired or discouraged. I so love Spain!
True. And I think our Portuguese friends are catching on as well.
 
Thread starter OLDER threads on this topic Forum Replies Date
Tove Sørum Camino Portugues 14
Clark Camino Portugues 8
R Camino Portugues 1

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