The Oldest Church on Camino. October 30, 2014

O’Cebreiro. A tiny village of Celtic origins and my favorite place on earth , after Assisi. This village has pre-Romanic origins and has been a place of rest and sanctuary for over 1,000 years. It was founded by Benedictine monks in around the ninth century. The church and surrounding buildings have been restored and there are several little thatched roofed huts called “pallozas” still standing and are considered protected historical landmarks.

What draws many people here is a miracle/legend to have occurred in the 14th century. As it goes, a pilgrim was entering the village, tired and wearied, desiring to go to Mass. He wanted to see the consecration and be uplifted. He mentioned this to a daft, angry priest who ridiculed the man’s simple faith. The priest had lost his faith in the Eucharist…easy to happen. At the time of the consecration , the host was transformed into flesh and the Blood of Christ in the chalice boiled over onto the corporal or altar linen.
Needless to say, the priest had a bit of a change of heart.
The relics of the chalice and Host and stained corporal are enshrined to the right of the altar. The feast of this miracle occurs on sept. 8 and 9. And

and attracts over 50,000 people. The importance of this miracle is evidenced in the fact that the composer, Wagoner, dedicated his masterpiece , Parsifal, to this chalice.

This is the oldest and most beautiful church on the camino, particularly for its simplicity and warmth. I lit a candle in honor of all your prayers left at the shrine of Cruz de Ferrel. It is the tallest red votive in the photo, shining next to the relics of the miracle of the Eucharist. Light ONE candle in the darkness and that darkness is dispelled. The focus is not on the darkness but the light.
The most important candle in every Catholic Church is the Paschal Candle, the Easter Candle, in which the Light of Christ dispels the darkness of sin. In the renovation of the church, a hearth will be built into the plaza outside the doors of the church as a permanent symbol of the Light of Christ. We will light the Easter fire and the Paschal candle from this very hearth and carry that Light into a darkened church, coming to “light” by Christ.

Christ shines in the darkness of your heart. He is that one Light you must focus on, especially when grief, anger , bitterness and loneliness seem to overwhelm. Each one of us is to become a living “candle ” a candle in human form, shining the brightness of Christ’s love on those you meet.
Buen camino. Fr. Frank

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