Monday, October 12, 2015

Our Lady of Pilar

Our Lady of the Pillar is a title for Mary, based on her appearance to James in Zaragosa, Spain on October 12.

Supposedly, after Pentecost, James went to the ends of the earth to proclaim the Gospel, as Jesus instructed. His journey lead him to the Iberian Peninsula, where he hoped to spread the Gospel,  but his efforts were not welcome.

During prayer, he spoke of his despondency and Mary appeared to him atop a altar made of jaspar carried by angels. She was holding a statue on a pillar that she gave to James. She asked him to build a church on the site and to bring the statue into the church. It was the first church in history to be dedicated in honor of Mary. In later centuries, the chapel was replaced with a Basilica.

James was called by Mary to return to Jerusalem, but he was martyred by Herod in 44 A.D. James was denied burial in Rome so his friends brought his remains to Compostela, Spain. The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela contains the remains of James. Compostela is the destination of many pilgrims who walk the Camino from southern France to the west side of Spain. The Camino is the second most visited pilgrim site in Christianity. The walk can take as little as five weeks to a couple of months to complete.

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