Under the slogan “Los Enviados” (The Envoys), the Archbishop of Pamplona and Tudela organized, the Lenten “Javieradas of 2019″ an event which for the past 79 years has been repeated in the form of a multitudinous pilgrimage to the town of Javier, where Saint Francis Xavier was born. Students and teachers from the schools of Saint Augustine of Valladolid, Romareda, and Zaragoza, as well as the novices from Monteagudo in Navarra, were among the 24,600 pilgrims that were in attendance this past 16th of March.

Thirty students from the Recollect schools of Valladolid and Zaragoza, accompanied by some teachers, catechists and friars, ended their pilgrimage to Javier on March 16.

Before starting the traditional pilgrimage route, the group stopped at the Marian shrine of Ujué in Navarra. There, led and encouraged by Professor Alberto Magán, a member of the pastoral team of Romareda College, they prayed to the Lord and paid homage to the Virgin.

Having placed themselves in Mary’s hands and after a light lunch, the bus left everyone in Aibar, a small municipality in Navarra, 15 kilometres from Javier. On a sunny morning, the students, teachers, catechists and friars arrived in Sangüesa (Navarra), where all the members of the Augustinian Recollect Family stopped to rest, have lunch and regain their strength.

Then around three o’clock in the afternoon they joined all the other pilgrims in the multitudinous Via Crucis to the birthplace of the Spanish saint, located almost nine kilometers from Sangüesa.

According to official figures, 24,600 pilgrims gathered on the esplanade of the castle of Javier, representing a record figure with respect to recent years.

The Eucharistic celebration began at five o’clock in the afternoon and was presided over by the Archbishop of Pamplona and Tudela, Monsignor Francisco Pérez, who in his homily indicated that “if the Lord has gathered us here, before the figure and life of Xavier, it is for only one reason: not to be afraid and to trust him”. “It often happens that we are threatened by adverse situations of all kinds, and the temptation is to look at it with anguish and despair”; he also affirmed with determination saying: “Let us look at life with the same eyes with which the Lord looks at us”; “This is a light that never extinguishes, that’s always on. Hope is sustained here and from it emanates an existential security.

At the end of Mass, the OAR Family of pilgrims present, proceeded to the basilica next to the castle to kiss the relic of the patron saint of the missions.