The beauty of God's creation: Montserrat and Manresa
From 'Group 3', Catholic Education, Diocese of Parramatta
(Written by Gerard, Jamie, Chris, Lisa and Rachel)
Hola! Amigos y Amigas!
The first day of pilgrimage to a holy site, Montserrat and later to Manresa.
Today we took the winding journey from Barcelona to the the famous pilgrimage site of the mountaintop basilica and monastery. We were greeted with breathtaking regional views.
The natural beauty of God's creation was crowned with human made works that only improved this mountain. Even though most of us were prepared with what to expect we were still taken away.
The architecture and sheer size of the basilica, cloister and facade on this mountaintop ‑ all visitors and pilgrims were in awe. This site has been visited since the early middle ages and still draws pilgrims from around the world.
As PAR03, we headed inside to an inner chapel directly behind the main drawcard for pilgrims to Montserrat ‑ La Moraneta (A black statue of our Blessed Mother, the Black Madonna) with another statue of St George at our rear. Fr Fernando led us for Mass in this historic chapel, where our prayers and music filled the room and spirits with joy.
Afterwards we split up ‑ some to explore the basilica and small shops, some of us to wait patiently in the queue to pay homage to La Moraneta, others on a mountain trek of the Way of the Cross and others to attempt the more difficult path to the summit.
With two hours of free time, seven of us lined up to see the historic Catholic icon. According to legend It was created by St Luke. For the full two hours of free time, it literally took us that long to reach the icon. For the last 40 minutes
Seven hundred steps was our goal, 700 steps to get to the highest point of Mountserrat. On our second attepmt, (yes, we were keen to conquer this feat) we made it to the ruined Hermitage of St Anne.The journey was steep and treacherous. We climbed up stone‑carved steps of various sizes and without railings for support. Although we didn't complete the hike, the views that met us were breath‑taking.
Manresa ‑ church and cave of St Ignatius of Loyolla
Breathtaking, that is the word to describe the church built around the cave where Saint Ignatius lived and prayed. The Cave was decorated with large marble slabs lined with gold. What blew us away were the crosses Saint Ignatius carved out himself in the cave with his fingernails. Absolutely breathtaking!Overall a day to be remembered and still more to come!
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