Pastor’s Column


This great apostle is the principal patron of Spain, which nation hosts his earthly remains. During the defense of the Spanish homeland, which lasted eight hundred years, his intercession was regularly sought, and his patronage proved a constant source of strength to the Spanish people.

Even to this day, no expenses are spared in Spain for the celebrations of their ancient patron on July 25. Some ten years ago, Fr Savoie and I were actually in Compostela for the feast-day of St. James. I have never witnessed such fireworks before or since. It seemed the whole sky turned gold.

One of my favorite musical works is a reconstruction of Vespers of Saint James, based on manuscripts discovered from about a thousand years ago. It provides one of the earliest examples of polyphony, and the entrance hymn (not properly part of Vespers itself) makes use of a Gothic phrase common to this day among pilgrims: Ultreia! And the response: Et susseia! This is a word of encouragement and edification: Go further! says one pilgrim; And go higher! returns the other. That is to say, keep persevering, keep marching forward, but do not forget also to keep your mind on Almighty God. If you are interested, you can listen to the tracks by searching for: Ensemble Organum – Ad Vesperas Sancti Iacobi.

The remains of St. James the Greater have been sought by pilgrims for many centuries. They are kept in Compostela, in northwestern Spain.


Those interested in registering or in the full schedule can contact me by e-mail at

We only have about a half dozen candidates this year; just a last reminder to talk to people that might be interested. We start on August 10.

Categories Uncategorized | Tags: | Posted on July 23, 2023

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