For his 25th anniversary as a priest, Father Patrick L.
Posey, pastor of St. James Church in Falls Church, will make
a pilgrimage to Spain this May. Accompanying him will be
Father José E. Hoyos, director of the Spanish
Apostolate, and many members of the parish. Father Posey
hopes the trip will serve as a chance for both English-and
Spanish-speaking parishioners to grow in holiness during the
Year of Mercy. Here are a few of the spiritual highlights
they plan to include in their trip:
The little town of Avila is notable for the medieval walls
that encircle the city and saints who called the city home:
Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, two great mystics of
"As I approached my silver jubilee, I revisited a well-worn
book of mine, St. Teresa of Avila's autobiography, and I
thought I would like to visit the country of her birth,"
Father Posey said. "One of her sayings I most admire is, 'The
feeling remains that God is on the journey, too.'"
As part of their spiritual voyage, Father Posey and the group
will visit the cathedral of Avila, the Basilica of San
Vincente, the convent where St. Teresa first became a nun and
the first discalced Carmelite monastery she founded - San
The cosmopolitan Barcelona was home to the 1992 Summer
Olympics grounds, one of the world's most famous soccer teams
- FC Barcelona - and the renowned Catholic architect Antoni
Gaudí. The church has named him a Servant of God, the
first step toward beatification, in recognition of his
humility, piety and the use of his talent for God.
While the gothic Cathedral of Barcelona is worth a visit, the
real masterpiece is Gaudí's fantastical,
nature-inspired Basilica of the Sagrada Família,
featuring stained glass windows that create rainbows in the
sanctuary and columns resembling tall stalks of celery.
Though construction on the church began in the late 1800s,
the building is still unfinished. Gaudí famously
noted, "My client can wait."
Santiago de Compostela
This town in northern Spain is the presumed resting place of
the apostle James and the final destination of the Camino de
Santiago, a centuries-old walking pilgrimage. Father Posey
will celebrate Mass there at the cathedral in honor of his
The church is famous for its botafumeiro, an incensory that
takes eight men to hoist as it swings throughout the
cathedral at high speed. Pilgrims are encouraged to hug a
statue of St. James, and to venerate his remains.
At the pilgrim museum, visitors can play a video game
navigating a pilgrimage during the Middle Ages, watch a video
documenting each step of the six main paths to Santiago and
learn more about the Camino's history. To get a true taste of
the town, try the Tarte de Santiago, a delicious almond cake
or the traditional Galician pulpo - octopus.
Spain is full of Catholic treasures, like intricate Belenes,
or Nativity scenes displayed in churches during Advent. Each
Holy Week, the southern city of Seville has a huge gathering
for the somber Semana Santa processions. Toledo contains El
Greco's iconic religious paintings. Many Spaniards have a
devotion to the spirituality of the native saint, St.
Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei. The
traditionally Catholic people have preserved centuries of
faith history for pilgrims to discover.
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