Pamplona, the largest city along the Camino route and home to nearly 200,000 people, was my Sunday morning destination, hoping to attend Mass at noon.
I was raised Catholic but have not actively practiced the faith for many years. However, my samskars (past life memories) must be very strong, as I find lofty inspiration in these old and grand cathedrals. The one here in Pamplona, and its enormous pipe organ, are both the largest in this region of Spain, Navarra.
I arrived just shortly before the mass began, in time to be seated and enjoy the entry processional (short video).
The organ played and filled the vast hall. Throughout the service frankincense was burning, being cast about in great wafts by a man dressed in a white robe with a black ruffled cloak. He looked like what I used to associate with the altar-boy attire when I was a child, but he was no boy.
I was seated next to the alabaster tomb of Carlos III and his wife, in prayerful repose with many mourners carved below them. The altar contains a silver-coated statue of Mary that glistens admirably from the light steaming in the stained glass windows. In front of this statue of Mary the Navarran Kings were crowned through the ages.
I experienced much of this Spanish service with closed eyes, absorbed in the sensory experience of the loud resonating organ music and great clouds of incense. The enormity of these giant old cathedrals encourage one’s soul to soar up and fill the upper reaches, following the notes and the incense. I leave worldly associations and float with the sounds and smells, lost in the devotion of centuries.
After Mass I visited the rest of the cathedral, finding again saint Joseph and the Christ child. Is this common only here, or elsewhere too?
The local patron saint Fermín, Bishop and Martyr in the year 615, has an altar dedicated to him behind the main cathedral altar. His skull bones are in the silver statue of his head and his femur bone is in the case on the right. Saint relics are a big deal in these old Catholic churches and I pay my respects to his sainthood.
I said prayers for all those who have sponsored my Camino, whose support will help build our new Temple of Light at Ananda Village. If you are inspired to Walk with me on this journey follow the link at the top of the page.
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