Associació d'amics del camí de Pallerols de Rialb a Andorra
 
Historic expedition from Madrid to Pallerols and Andorra

Mass in La Ribalera commemorating the Mass celebrated by Saint Josemaría in 1937


On November 26-28, a group of four people from Madrid, under the enthusiastic encouragement of Manuel Fuertes, spent a few days in Pallerols.

 

It was Manuel who had the idea of organizing this expedition in which friends of his would go, including the priest of Opus Dei, Tomás Alvira, son of Tomás Alvira, one of the expedition members who in 1937 accompanied Saint Josemaría in the passage of the Pyrenees. The fundamental idea was for Fr Tomás to celebrate the Eucharist in the same place where his father had attended the Mass celebrated by Saint Josemaría on November 28, 84 years ago, which also coincided that on both dates it was Sunday 1st of Advent. This is how the expedition that would reach Pallerols from Madrid was formed.

The visitors were: Manuel Fuertes, Fr Tomás Alvira, Pele Postigo and Santiago Torras. On the part of the Association of Friends of Pallerols they were accompanied on different occasions by Jordi Piferrer, Octavio Rico and Ramon Camats.

 

The visitors were: Mr. Tomás Alvira, Pele Postigo, Manuel Fuertes and Santiago Torras. On the part of the Association of Friends of Pallerols they were accompanied on different occasions by Jordi Piferrer, Octavio Rico and Ramon Camats.

 

The group of visitors left Madrid on Friday, November 26 at 9 in the morning and arrived in Peramola at 3 in the afternoon. The first thing was lunch at the Fonda la Masia. Then we visit "El Pajar" and the house of Tonillo, Antonio Bach Pallarès, who was a guide in this area. Then we go to Pallerols going up directly to the Saint Raphael Cabin. There the historical writings that narrate the 5 days spent in this place were read by the group that included Saint Josemaría and the seven who accompanied him, among whom was Tomás Alvira. (See "Camino de Liberación" pp. 58 to 70).

Then we went down to the church and rectory of Pallerols visiting the most emblematic places: the "oven", the place where Saint Josemaría found the rose that confirmed his decision to continue to Andorra, the place where he celebrated Holy Mass, etc. reading in these places the corresponding historical writings (See "Camino de Liberación" pp. 44 to 57).

At night we went to Coll de Nargó, in the Fonda del Llac, which was the base camp from where we made the visits for the next days 27 and 28.

 

On Saturday 27, Fr Tomás Alvira celebrated mass in the church of Organyà and then we left for Andorra where we visited some places where, from December 2 to 10, 1937, the group of Saint Josemaría was present. There we visit the church of Sant Julià de Lòria and the Mas d'Alins house on the border, then the places they visited in Andorra la Vella and Escaldes. (See "Camino de Liberación" pp. 136 to 191).

 

Finally, on the 28th, we went to La Ribalera to celebrate Holy Mass, which had been the main reason that had moved Fr Tomás Alvira to go to Pallerols. There the historical writings were reread (See "Camino de Liberación" pp. 71-79).

 

After mass was celebrated in the Ribalera, we returned to Pallerols to say goodbye, leaving at 3:00 p.m. towards Madrid, where they arrived at 20:30.

The visitors were deeply moved by the experiences experienced during these 3 days, with the intention of returning soon accompanied by their relatives and friends.

To finish this little chronicle we attach one of the many writings that appear in the aforementioned book "Camino de Liberación". In this case, it is a letter by Tomás Alvira referring to the Andorran border crossing on the night of December 1 to 2, 1937, which you can find on p. 128 of the aforementioned book:

 

"Last night, around one o'clock in the morning, we were already very close to the border line, when the guide -who had been joined by two more- told us to quickly get down on the ground, but each one under a tree. This caused us great fright, because we assumed that they had seen someone. The alarm occurred because the guides saw a bonfire precisely where we were going to pass, moving away from the well-lit police house that was nearby. Faced with this complication, it was decided to pass between that house and the bonfire where undoubtedly there were surveillance people (then different people would put themselves to guard the border) heating up, because the night (from December 1 to 2) was extremely cold. Our guide gave us instructions:

We should not put the sticks on the ground, to avoid noise; we would try not to rest our feet on moving stones, so that they would not roll, and we would go as light as possible. Thus we began to walk, with considerable fear, when suddenly the loud barking was heard and followed by the dog that they must have had at the police station.

I thought it was all over there, because the dog, with his barking, clearly indicated that someone was passing by. We continue our march; he kept barking the dog and finally fell silent. Nobody came out! What happened? It's inexplicable. Even though the border line was at the beginning of the mountain, we continued walking in silence until we reached the northern slope. After the demonstrations of joy, our group stayed in silence and prayed the Holy Rosary".

Associació d'Amics del Camí de Pallerols de Rialb a Andorra.   Av. Diagonal, 620, 1er. 2a, 08021 - Barcelona (Spain) . Tel.: (+34) 629 910 612