From the moment you leave, and during your whole trip, you can assist to what is called the “pilgrims mass” in a lot of the towns that you will go through, a service with be held normally at 8pm if there are mass officiants available. These Pilgrim masses are especially destined for pilgrims. The accompanying priest can also join the celebration and salutations are specifically given to groups.
Once the pilgrims arrives in Santiago, and if his pilgrimage was spiritual and religious, he can attend the “pilgrims mass” celebrated every day at 12pm.
During the celebrations of the pilgrim’s mass in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, you can notice, in some established occasion, the use of Botafumeiro, a meter and a half high and 53kg gigantic essence burner placed in the central nave of the church. The activation of the Botafumeiro can be achieved by donations made from groups, even though the church will maintain its activations to 25 occasions, the rest of the year, another, much smaller essence burner is used: “La Alcachofa” or “The Artichoke”.
In this Holly Mass, pilgrims from different places, with different languages come together around the Lords Table, of his Eucharist, after having embraced the Apostol and visited his Sepulcher.
The anticipated embrace of the Apostol
Once in the Main Altar, by walking on the right side, you will be able to go up and embrace the image of the Apostol that presides the church.
Thank you Saint James, my friend and brother, for helping me to arrive here! Thank you for being with me, for your witness to the Gospel and for your legacy!”
Under the crypts vault, lies the true finish line of the Camino: the walls of the ancient tomb and in the middle the urn that contains the remains of the Apostol.
“And you are here, Saint James, in this far off land. You are here to preach the risen Christ, to encourage our search and our faith. Strengthen my faith and my Christian life, which many times seem to leave us. You are the strong one, the intrepid, the Son of the Thunder.”
The Pilgrims prayer
“Apóstol Santiago, elegido entre los primeros, tú fuiste el primero en beber el cáliz del Señor y eres el gran protector de los peregrinos: haznos fuertes en la fe y alegres en la esperanza, en nuestro caminar de peregrinos siguiendo el camino de la vida cristiana y aliéntanos para que, finalmente, alcancemos la gloria de Dios Padre. Amén.”
“Saint James Apostol, chosen amongst the first, you were the first to drink the Lords chalice, and you are the great protector of pilgrims: make us strong in faith, happy is hope on our pilgrim journey following the path of Christian life and sustain us so that we may finally reach the glory of God our Father. Amen.”
The end of the Camino turns into the beginning of a new life that begins at the exit of the Cathedral.