Jhan, from Puerto Rico, writes:
From June 1 to 6 we were together in Pallerols de Rialb twelve seminarians from different countries: Hernando (Colombia), John Lawrence (Philippines), Gregorious (Indonesia), Axel (Guatemala), Erick (Mexico), Jhan (Puerto Rico) , Mario and Menaka (Sri Lanka), Francis (Tanzania), Vincent (Uganda), Julio and Óscar (Venezuela) accompanied by two priests: Fr Constantino and Fr Miguel. This year, in addition to the Bidasoa International Ecclesiastical College, a seminarian from the San José Major Seminary of the Diocese of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, also established in Pamplona, has joined.
We left Pamplona on Tuesday, June 1, at 11:30 a.m. and after two hours of travel, we stopped for lunch in Aínsa. After a walk through the town we continue our way to Pallerols. When we arrived, after a while of prayer and properly settling in the Rectory and the old school, we had dinner on spaghetti and potato omelettes that Don Miguel prepared, all very good and in abundance. Between anecdotes, jokes and laughter, we had a social gathering.
The first day in Pallerols, we began with a meditation that Fr Miguel preached to us. After breakfast we had a talk and from there we went to Peramola to see the haystack where Saint Josemaria slept before reaching Pallerols. We climbed back to Pallerols and set off towards the Cabaña de San Rafael.
We celebrate Holy Mass on a wooden altar right in front of the cabin. Right there in the cabin we ate and after a while of gathering Axel read the anecdotes of those who were with Saint Josemaría in the cabin, while Fr Constantino explained historical details of those years of the Spanish civil war. When we returned we had a time of prayer and then a talk with Fr Constantino about the history of the Rose of Pallerols. This dessert night to celebrate the martyrs of Uganda, Vincent's country, we had Catalan cream. In the gathering Hernando asked a round of questions, there were some other answers that made us very funny. What a good time we had, there was a family atmosphere.
The second day we had meditation with Fr Constantino and after breakfast a talk with Fr Miguel about friendship. At the end of the talk we prepare to leave for the Ribalera.
The hike was more demanding than the one to the cabin. When we got to the ravine we rested a bit and Hernando read the anecdotes in the book Camino de Liberación. Afterwards we celebrated Mass in the same place as Saint Josemaria, we had lunch and had a good time chatting. The temperature was very good and it was very comfortable. To celebrate our arrival at the Ribalera, Fr Constantino took out a bottle of cognac to commemorate what they did on the 1937 expedition, as we had just read.
On the way back we prayed the Rosary and Menaka sang the litanies. Between chants and jokes with each other we reached where we had left the vans.
The third day of the coexistence consisted, in the morning, of a time of spiritual retreat in the church of Pallerols and then we visited the house of Fenollet.
There Rosa was waiting for us, who prepared an exquisite and abundant mountain rice and other meats, all magnificent. Some of those who knew the place warned us from the first days: "At Fenollet you eat a lot and well." After lunch we sang to Rosa and her family: Francis, Malaika and Erick were the ones who gave themselves the most. Finally, we visit the place where the members of the 1937 expedition spent the day.
The next day, after meditation, we celebrated Mass and at breakfast we sang mornings to Fr Constantino, who was celebrating his first communion anniversary. The objective of this day was to reach Andorra. Some decided to do the last stretch on foot through Mas d'Alins; Others of us crossed the border with the vans.
After lunch we visited the parish of Sant Julià de Lòria, the first non-desecrated church that Saint Josemaría found when he arrived in Andorra. There we were received by the parish priest, Fr Pepe, who explained the new altarpiece by the artist Marko Ivan Rupnik. We were also able to admire the bronze sculpture of Saint Josemaría, the work of the artist Rebeca Muñoz.
From Sant Julià we went in vans to Andorra la Vella and Escaldes, and we walked a little through its streets remembering the journeys that Saint Josemaría made in 1937 through these same places.
On our return we prayed the Rosary, we had a time of prayer and we prayed the first vespers of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. We finished the afternoon and the last night of conviviality in Pallerols with a wonderful barbecue.
On the last day, we celebrated in Pallerols the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord. After breakfast we packed everything up and headed to Torreciudad. We arrived to see the video mapping of the altarpiece. In the afternoon we visit the exhibition of the experience of faith. Before the blessing with the Blessed Sacrament, we went up to the tower where we could contemplate the beautiful landscape that surrounds the Sanctuary. After the adoration and blessing of the Blessed Sacrament, we thanked God and the Virgin for these days full of grace and returned to Pamplona.
When we arrived in Pamplona we were all happy and immensely grateful. We have spent some wonderful days visiting some of the places where Saint Josemaría traveled. Deo gratias!