Pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Our lady of Hope and Caracava of the Cross, Murcia (Spain), on October 19, 2014.
Pope Benedict XVI says in the Encyclical 'Spe Salvi': "In this sense it is true that anyone who does not know God, even though he may entertain all kinds of hopes, is ultimately without hope, without the great hope that sustains the whole of life. Man’s great, true hope which holds firm in spite of all disappointments can only be God—God who has loved us and who continues to love us “to the end”, until “all is accomplished”."
Well, this is, precisely, what we wanted to do when we planned the pilgrimage to Murcia: to proclaim real hope and to announce, as Christians that we are, that we need to place this hope in the one who never fails, in the one who never gets lost and in the one who always walks along with us: in God.
Once again, the sisters of Valencia and of Macael embarked us on one of their inexhaustible pilgrimages, where they made us get up early, walk, run, go without much sleep, but most of all full of joy, smiles, entertainment, excitement, prayer to grow in our faith and to take part in the happiness of being Christians and members of the Home of the Mother.
What better place to find the hope than there, where Our Mother appeared and gave the name to the sanctuary: the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Hope, in Calasparra, in the province of Murcia.
We left early from Torrent (Valencia) and from Macael (Almeria), and after travelling for almost three hours, we arrived directly at the shrine. We were very happy to see once again our friends from Macael and the sisters that this year have been assigned there. There were approximately 65 persons, between Servant Brothers, Servant Sisters, lay members of the Home and friends.
First of all, we visited the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Hope, a beautiful place which impressed us all, especially seeing the religious ambience and the faith with which the pilgrims come and visit. Clara, one of the members of the Home who is originally from Murcia, told us the history of the apparition and the devotion that the people have to our Lady there. After praying the Rosary, we visited the room where the statue of Our Lady is kept and those who wanted, received the imposition of the cloak, a very beautiful and emotional moment.
Our Mother rewarded us with a great summer day and we all enjoyed a marvelous picnic in which, once again, our friends from Macael demonstrated their generosity and a special touch that they have for the kitchen. When we pass the day with them, it is not a day to diet, but rather to enjoy and to give thanks to our Lord for the wonderful food received.
Later we continued on our way to Caravaca of the Cross to visit the Basilica – the Sanctuary of the Holy and True Cross, where we celebrated mass with Father Henry and had the privilege of receiving a blessing with the relic of the True Cross of Caravaca. One feels something very special being in front of this bit of the cross where our Lord died. Juan told to us that this Lignum Crucis dates back to the Thirteenth century, when a priest from Cuenca received it directly from two angels while he was celebrating mass by request of the moslem sayid Abu-Zait, who, together with his court, converted to Christianity at having contemplated such a grand event.
Almost with no time to catch our breath, we went down to the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Monastery of the Carmelite Discalced Priests, founded by Saint John of the Cross. There we encountered another moment of peace and quiet, prayer and devotion to one of the big figures of our religious history. This place is one of the jubilee temples where one can obtain the plenary indulgence granted by Pope Francisco for the Theresian Jubilee Year in Spain (summoned from October 15, 2014, to celebrate the fifth centenary of St. Teresa of Jesus’ birth). We thanked the Carmelites for offering us their house and allowing us to pray in such a solemn place.
And after this long day, in which we saw our expectations fully fulfilled, it was time to say farewell, with kisses and hugs and the promise of meeting again.
I am sure that we returned home with the assurance that hope exists and that we simply need to place it where it’s really worth it: in God.
Thanks to the Home of the Mother for helping us and guiding us along the way.
-By Pedro, LHM (Valencia, Spain).