Vatican prohibits customary Traditional Latin Mass for pilgrims in Spain 

Our Lady of Christendom pilgrimage Our Lady of Christendom is an annual pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Covadonga (Asturias) that takes place around the feast of St. James the Apostle (July 25), patron saint of Spain. | Credit: Our Lady of Christendom Pilgrimage

The Vatican has prohibited the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Covadonga, a rite that customarily takes place at the conclusion of the annual Our Lady of Christendom pilgrimage in Spain.  

The organizers of the fourth edition of the pilgrimage announced the prohibition in a July 6 post on X: “At the Archdiocese of Oviedo they have informed us that they have received instructions from the Dicastery for Divine Worship stating that the Traditional Holy Mass is not to be celebrated in Covadonga.” 

The pilgrimage will take place from July 27–29 starting out from Oviedo. Our Lady of Christendom explains on its website that the pilgrimage “is organized by a group of faithful lay Catholics devoted to the celebration of the Holy Mass according to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite,” otherwise known as the Traditional Latin Mass or the Tridentine Mass.

“The aim of the pilgrimage is the sanctification of the soul through the graces requested from Our Lord, through the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, offering prayers, sacrifices, and mortifications for three days. In these days of pilgrimage we especially commend our homeland and the Holy Father [to the Lord],” the website states.

The organizers note that the pilgrimage of about 60 miles “is independent of any institute, community, or religious organization.”

According to the Archdiocese of Oviedo, this devotion to the Virgin Mary at what is now the shrine in Covadonga dates back to “many years before the battle of Covadonga” in which the Christians led by King Don Pelayo defeated the invading Muslim army in the eighth century A.D. 

“Currently Covadonga receives more than a million visitors throughout the year from the five continents,” the Spanish archdiocese states on its webpage about the shrine.

‘Not a reason to be sad’

Given the prohibition of offering the TLM at the basilica at the conclusion of the pilgrimage, the organizers said in their announcement on X that this year the Mass on the third day will be celebrated in the pilgrims’ camp in the morning before completing the final leg of the pilgrimage. This Mass will be in the extraordinary form.

“This circumstance should not be a reason for sadness but should encourage us to persevere in the love and devotion that we profess for the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar within Holy Mother the Church,” they stated.

Instead of Mass, “upon arriving at Covadonga, the singing of the Te Deum will take place before the Blessed Sacrament solemnly exposed and the consecration to the Blessed Virgin will take place to conclude the pilgrimage,” the organizers of Our Lady of Christendom stated.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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