Wednesday, July 25, 2012

St. James, the Patron of Pilgrims

Today is the feast of St. James the Apostle, brother of the beloved Apostle, St. John.  On his Apostolic Journey to Spain for the 4th World Youth Day, Blessed John Paul II recited this prayer before the tomb of St. James:
St James!
Behold me here, once again, beside your tomb
which I approach today, a pilgrim of all the pathways of the earth,
to honour your memory and implore your protection.
I come from luminous and perennial Rome
to you who became a pilgrim, following the footprints of Christ
and who brought his name and his voice
to this farthest part of the earth.
I come from Peter's side
and, as his successor, I bring to you,
to you who, with him, are a pillar of the Church,
the fraternal embrace that traverses centuries
and the song which resounds firm and apostolic in its catholicity.
With me, St James, there is an immense and youthful flood
which has surged from springs in all the countries of the world.
Here, you have it, united and still in your presence,
anxious to refresh its faith in the vibrant example of your life.
We come to this blessed threshold in eager pilgrimage.
We come immersed in this great throng
which throughout the centuries
has led people to Compostela
where you are pilgrim and host, apostle and patron.
And we come today to you because we are on a common journey.
We are walking towards the end of a millennium
which we want to close with the seal of Christ.
We are going further still, to the beginning of a new millennium
which we want to open in the name of God.
St James,
for this pilgrimage of ours we need
your zeal and courage.
For this reason, to ask them of you, we have come
as far as this "finisterrae" of your apostolic adventures.
Teach us, apostle and friend of Our Lord,
the WAY which leads to him.
Open us, preacher of the lands of Spain,
to the TRUTH you learned from the Master's lips.
Give us, witness of the Gospel,
the strength always to love the LIFE.
Place yourself, patron of pilgrims,
at the head of our Christian youthful pilgrimage.
And just as, in the past, the peoples walked towards you,
may you be a pilgrim with us when we go to meet all peoples.
With you, St James, Apostle and Pilgrim,
we want to teach the nations of Europe and the world
that Christ is - today and always -
the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE.

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