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Vatican

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Pope Francis

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Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is getting ready for the Pope's visit

2010-11-04

P. Leonardo Lemos Montanet
Canon of Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (Spain)

"The Cathedral, once one enters, helps us to maintain an air of privacy. The pilgrim arrives tired, with blistered feet, aching pains, often exhausted.  And once they arrive, they experience unspeakable joy, an indescribable joy.  It is normal for the pilgrims coming here to experience a transformation."

Obradoiro Square is the doorway to this cathedral.  In the main facade of this imposing Romanesque cathedral, stands the Holy Door with the so-called Portico de la Gloria. This is the
central door that opens only during Holy Years, when the Feast of St. James falls on Sunday July 25.

P. Leonardo Lemos Montanet
Canon of Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (Spain)

"Going up the steps of Obradoiro, the pilgrim finds this magnificent portico, which is a catechism in stone, carved by Master Mateo and his team in the twelfth century.  This also represents the Glory."

Going through the Holy Door is much more than just entering a cathedral. It is also part of the tradition of receiving a plenary indulgence during the Holy Year.  Going through the Holy Door, saying a prayer and confessing helps to start anew.  

P. Leonardo Lemos Montanet
Canon of Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (Spain)
"It is normal, therefore, that true miracles of St. James are inner miracles.  People who have gone for many years without coming to confession. Youth since their First Communion have abandoned the sacraments. Couples who are living under difficult circumstances, and each doing their part, have the experience to get in the way."

Each day thousands of pilgrims visit the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Once inside their attention is drawn to the striking small size of the cathedral´s floor. The church can hold 2,000 people and is always teeming with pilgrims.

Behind the altar is a statue of St. James where the pilgrims line up to embrace him.  To get to the heart of the cathedral one has to descend narrow stairs and there they will find the remains of St. James, patron saint of Spain.

P. Leonardo Lemos Montanet
Canon of Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (Spain)
"The most important part of the cathedral is not the Romanesque style but the ´heart´of the church.  We maintain the remains of St. James in that little silver urn from the eighteenth century. In a way, it is for us the center, the heart of the cathedral.¨

In addition to being a masterpiece of Romanesque art, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is the last stop of a pilgrimage that still continues to attract thousands of people, 20 centuries after the arrival of the Apostle to Spain.

P. Leonardo Lemos Montanet
Canon of Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (Spain)
"The cathedral is an end point of pilgrimage, but sometimes we have to recognize that the end is a beginning point because it marks a transformation in life."

A road, a Cathedral and a life-changing city.  The tomb of St. James resides in a true work of art that is the cathedral.

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