Training and rest days

As has become a tradition in recent years, during the month of May the coexistence of seminarians from Bidasoa in Pallerols has been organized. This year we have been attended by 10 people, whose countries of origin are Guatemala, Uganda, Colombia, the Philippines and Puerto Rico, and three priests have accompanied us: Fr José Francisco, Fr Jorge and Fr Constantino.

The scheme and organization have been similar to previous years, improved with the accumulated experience. Around eleven in the morning we left Pamplona on the 31st, Tuesday. We take advantage of the outward journey to visit some interesting places and this year we made a stop and an inn in Ainsa, where we had lunch in the shade of some trees and, after having a cold coffee in the town square, we made the Visit to the Blessed Sacrament in the crypt of the village church. After strolling a bit through the streets of the medieval town, we resumed our march, through Ribagorza, to reach Balaguer and from there to Ponts, where Ramón Camats was waiting for us, who gave a complete explanation of the itinerary of Saint Josemaría and his companions from Barcelona to Peramola.

Upon arriving in Peramola, he showed us the barn where Saint Josemaría spent the night of November 19, 1937, and then we ordered dinners for the following days at Fonda la Masia.

Without further delay we headed towards Pallerols, where we settled in the refuge that we already knew from previous years. There was time for a moment of prayer in the church and then we had dinner with the products that the kitchen team had prepared. A brief gathering to finalize the plans for the next day, and after praying Compline, we went to sleep.

The following day, June 1, Wednesday, Fr José Francisco got up a little earlier than the rest and celebrated Holy Mass, so that we could have the first meditation with the Lord in the Tabernacle. Generous breakfast and after a talk on ascetic topics, we prepared the backpacks with the food, and started the march towards the Cabaña de San Rafael. Arriving at the place, Fr Constantino and Fr Jorge, helped by two deacons, Vicent and Juan Carlos, celebrated Holy Mass on the rustic altar similar, we think, to the one used by Saint Josemaría during his stay. There was then lunch and a gathering, glossing the pages of the book “Camino de Liberación“, by Jordi Piferrer, which recounts in detail the days that the founder and his companions spent there. We started back and by mid-afternoon we arrived at Pallerols, where everyone organized themselves as they wanted until dinner time. A couple of us went down to Peramola to pick up the dinner prepared at the Fonda and the group gave a good account, because the effort of the day whetted the appetite. Gathering, I pray Compline and rest.

The next day, June 2, Thursday, had the same behavior as the previous one, in the first bars. But mid-morning we left for Ribalera, accompanied by Ramón Camats, who was driving an all-terrain vehicle. Arriving at the Ribalera, there was an inspection visit and everything was arranged to celebrate the Holy Mass, keeping in mind the last one celebrated by Saint Josemaría, before arriving in Andorra. When we finished, we got ready to have lunch with the sandwiches and sandwiches that the “cooks” diligently prepared. And as a climax, a tradition of these coexistences was continued, which consists of “repairing” the accident that caused the cognac bottle to break in 1937, and that prevented the attendees from celebrating with a little of that liquor. We try not to break it and make amends with a little sip – nothing, half a finger – that incident. Jordi’s book always accompanies us, which introduces us and sets us in the places that we are kicking following the footsteps of those first fugitives. After the stay in the Ribalera, return home, and continue the routine of the previous day.

On Friday, the 3rd, we had a retreat in the morning and at the end, at around two o’clock, we started the march to Cal Fenollet, where Rosa was waiting for us with a wonderful and generous meal. This year we hadn’t brought a guitar, but in Fenollet they lent us one, and after lunch we got ready to sing song after song. Rosa had a great time. Before leaving, and on the ground, we indicated the path that the expeditionaries followed, we saw the place where they stayed, although now it has been transformed inside and is no longer a corral but a house with all of the law, and looking at the Santa Fe mountain, we point out the route they followed, on the way to the Ares mountain and the Borda de Conorbau. At night, after dinner, we took out the portable organ brought from Pamplona and next to the apses of the original church, next to the door of the refuge, in the light of the moon, we had a great musical gathering, animated by Óscar, who He did wonders with the keyboard.

Saturday 4, is dedicated to Andorra. Other years, some decided to walk the path that goes from the hermitage of Santa María de Feners to Mas D’Alins. However, this year we have all preferred four wheels. As we took a long time to enter Andorra, as a long queue formed, as we arrived, we headed towards the Mas D’Alins area, where we got an idea of ​​the itinerary for the last stage. We visited the Oratori de la Mare de Déu de Canòlich, where Saint Josemaría and two of his companions are represented. In an outdoor picnic area, under the pine trees, we had lunch and then we toured Andorra: the Coll del Jou, the church of Sant Germà and Sant Julià, where Saint Josemaría is represented in a high relief. We made the Visit to the Santísimo and on the way to Andorra la Vella, where we visited and prayed in the church of Sant Esteve. We walked a bit through the streets and back home to prepare the barbecue for the last day.

On the 5th, the Solemnity of Pentecost, we had meditation and solemn Mass, with organ music and liturgical songs. We had breakfast, we gathered our things, we left the house ready for the next inhabitants and we left for Torreciudad, where we had lunch, we carefully visited the sanctuary, we gave thanks to the Virgin for the magnificent days spent and we set out for Pamplona, ​​where we arrived around eight in the morning. the afternoon.

We hope that next year, following the tradition, we can return.