A Pilgrimage to the Marian and Eucharistic Miracle Shrines of Western Europe


Today at 7AM, a wakeup call was made by Hesperia Pelegrino because we would be headed img_20161008_085116for the region of Asturias. Then at 8AM was our breakfast and luggage out. After our breakfast, we paid the two cans of Heinecken beer stored in our Hotel room at the Hotel Reception.

Then at 9:20AM we left Hotel Hesperia Pelegrino and we headed ourselves for Asturias, Spain. But we passed by Lugo. Lugo is a city in northwestern Spain in the autonomous community of Galicia. It is the capital of the province of Lugo. The municipality had a population of 98,560 in 2014, which makes it the fourth most populous city in Galicia.

Lugo is the only city in the world to be surrounded by completely intact Roman walls, which reach a height of 10 to 15 meters (33 to 49 feet) along a 2,117-meter (6,946 ft) circuit ringed with 71 towers. The walk along the top is continuous round the circuit, and features ten gates. These 3rd century walls are protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

These walls were built by the Romans as a way to keep the city safe from enemy attacks.img_20161008_112825-old-city-wall-2-km-long They were constructed over a period of 45 years between 265 AD and 310 AD. Lugo is located in a hill and the wall surrounds its top. During the following centuries, numerous modifications and repairs were needed to preserve it, but it still stands today as the most prominent symbol of the city.

The wall surrounds the Downtown part of the city and it has several entrances. The original Roman gates are, the Mina, the Neuva, the Falsa, the San Pedro, and the Santiago gates. The other five, and more recent, gates resulted from the development of the town and its ever increasing need for more entrances. The wall surrounds the “downtown” part of the city and it has several entrances. The original Roman gates are, the Mina, the Neuva, the Falsa, the San Pedro, and the Santiago gates. The other five, and more recent, gates resulted from the development of the town and its ever increasing need for more entrances.

It is also from the Roman walls that you can get the best view of the cathedral’s frontal elevation, particularly from a photography perspective.

Lugo was an hour and half of travel by bus from Santiago de Compostela. During our travel, Morning Prayer was prayed and led by Group 1. Before the Morning Prayer started, Fr. Bonie Ampoyas asked the whole group to offer prayers for the eternal repose of the soul of Fr. Jimmy Faustino who died today at 11AM (Philippine time). After Morning Prayer, reciting of the Holy Rosary was started immediately led by Inday Silva. After the Rosary, Monty distributed bible bullets and I got this passage: “Go then, to all peoples and make them my disciples,” (Matthew 28:19).

Arrival at Lugo was at around 11:06AM. We were met by our local tour guide, Joaquin, and we went straight to the Cathedral. Lugo is the only city in the world to be surrounded byimg_20161008_124505 completely intact Roman walls. And the Cathedral is beside these Roman walls. The Cathedral is dedicated to St. Mary and is known as Lugo Cathedral, built about 1129, under the direction of Raimundo de Monforte, though the actual main façade and towers date only from 1769. Its elegant stalls were carved by Francisco Mouro in 1624. This cathedral enjoys the privilege of having the Blessed Sacrament perpetually exposed, a fact commemorated in the armorial bearings of the town.

The cathedral is another of the city’s architectural treasures. The incredible chapel of the Virgin de los Ojos Grandes, is very Romanesque with valuable Baroque elements. The beautiful Renaissance choir which is the altarpiece by Cornelius of Holland, and an original tympanum in the north door, are some of the temple’s most significant details. The central nave, which is extremely high and has slightly pointed arches, points to a Gothic influence.

At 12 noon we had our Mass presided by Fr. Joemer Candido in one of the chapels of the cathedral. The altar was still a pre-Vatican II, that is, the priest celebrated the Mass with his back towards the people. After the Mass, we toured inside the cathedral and our tour guide explained the historical background. We visited the Virgin of the Big Eyes, Our Lady of Hope, the Saint Froilan’s chapel and others and then went back to our bus. The distance from Santiago de Compostela to Lugo is 134 kilometers.

We left Lugo at 1:27PM bound for Covadonga and our lunch was along the way (or outside img_20161008_160713-we-ate-our-late-lunch-herethe city) since the people of Lugo celebrated their fiesta, so they roamed around the city. We stopped at San Isidro Restaurante for our late lunch at 2:45PM. We left the restaurant at 4:16PM for Covadonga which was 3-4 hours of travel by bus but it depends on the traffic.

In going to Covadonga, we passed by Cangas de Onis. Cangas de Onís is a municipality in the eastern part of the province and autonomous community of Asturias in the northwest of Spain. The capital of the municipality is also Cangas de Onís.

More than seventy square kilometers of the concejo form part of the Parque nacional de los Picos de Europa. Within the park is the village of Covadonga and Covadonga is one of 11 parishes in Cangas de Onís.

In 722 AD, Iberian Christians won a namesake battle over the Muslims in Covadonga. This was the first Christian victory in the Iberian Peninsula over the Arabs and Berbers invading from north Africa under the Umayyad banner, and is often considered to be the start of the 770-year effort to expel Muslim rulers governing the Iberia during the Reconquista. Our Lady of Covadonga is a significant Marian shrine. The Spanish Army has, over the years, named several of its units “Covadonga.” Covadonga is a mountainous region

The Sanctuary of Covandonga is a monument dedicated to Our Lady of Covadonga that commemorates the Battle of Covadonga. Our Lady of Covadonga is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and a Marian shrine devoted to her at Covadonga in the province of Asturias in north west Spain. The Spanish shrine rose to prominence following the Battle of Covadon in 722, at which the Moorish invasion of Spain was first resisted. A statue of the Virgin Mary, secretly hidden in one of the caves, was believed to have miraculously aided the Christian victory. Our Lady of Covadonga is the patron of Asturias, and a basilica was built to house the current statue. Pope John Paul II visited the shrine at Covadonga to honour the Virgin Mary.

According to tradition Pelayo retreated to a cave where a hermit had secreted a statue of the Virgin Mary, saved from the Muslim conquest. He prayed to the virgin for victory. In the subsequent battle the Christians made use of the natural defenses. The Moorish commander fell in the battle, and his soldiers fled. This victory, considered the first of the Christian reconquista of Spain, established the independence of the Kingdom of Asturias in north west Spain. Pelayo credited the intercession of the Virgin Mary for his victory. And in recognition of this miraculous intercession, King Alfonso I, the Catholic (739-757) commanded that a monastery and chapel be built on the site in honor of Our Lady of Covadonga.

The distance from Lugo to Covadonga is 325 kilometers and checked in in Gran Hotel Pelayo.

For more pictures, please see my Facebook

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