Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Unusual Name

It is not uncommon to hear the name Pilar is Spanish speaking countries. Unlike most first names the so-called Catholic countries it at first glance does not appear to be a saints name. In actuality it is linked to today's feast of St. James.

It is said that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. James on the banks of the Ebro river, the largest river in Spain. She appeared atop a pillar From that apparition grew the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title Our Lady of the Pillar. From that the simple Spanish name Pilar.

The remains of St. James are traditionally believed to be kept in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, in the autonomous community of Galicia in Northern Spain. Each years thousands of people make the Pilgrimage along the Way (el Camino) carrying the booklet called Credential which is stamped at various points to prove that they have either walked. 100 km or cycled 200 km to the Cathedral. Those who compete the journey receive the compostela, the certificate for having completed the journey.

Today with our Spanish bothers and sisters we remember the son of Zebedee, the brother of John, the apostle of Jesus, ιάκωβος in Greek, Santiago in Spanish, James in English, one of the first to hear and respond to the words of Jesus.