Greetings from the rector of the sanctuary
May the Lord be with you friends of Meritxell. Welcome to our new sanctuary web site.
With the opening of this website dedicated to our sanctuary, we want to open a new window from which we will spread the message of the Andorra Patron Saint to all the faithful, pilgrims and visitors. At the same time, it should serve to facilitate getting closer to Our Lady of Meritxell.
Faithful to its name, Meritxell will guide you along your way with the splendorous Light of Midday. And when you reach the sanctuary door, you will find your “casa pairal” like in the prayer Ave “Beautiful shining Aurora / make this place / the villages of Andorra / the Casa Pairal”. Casa Pairal means ‘open doors’ and offers a welcome as was written on the ancient houses of Andorra, “This is your home”. The tourists who visit us too are fraternally welcomed to come back to the house as pilgrims.
Andorra has always been a hospitable country. It always was, but it particularly offered peace when Europe was at war.
Meritxell, the icon of Andorra, is a representative of this welcome or “service”: to all citizens from the country’s seven parishes, ‘the Andorran parishes pledge a pilgrimage on the first Sunday of May; to all immigrants who in Meritxell find the spirit of their integration in the country without abandoning their roots, the Portuguese people pledge a pilgrimage on the eve of 13 May, the Rociera Mass at the Feast of Pentecost and the Baturra Mass on the Sunday closest to 12 October. A pilgrimage too are the ‘sardanes’ danced on 8 September in the Great Cloisters that form our main square.
A pilgrimage to the Meritxell Sanctuary is a commitment to peace. As pilgrims we pray, “Meritxell of peace, teach us charity”. The Gavernera in Meritxell develops the social, fun and educational work of the AINA Country House. The donations made to the Patron and Mother Andorra are passed on to the children weakened by problems of attention, work or health in their families. We know that the future depends on today’s youngsters, so Meritxell takes AINA’s motto, “To invest in the human and Christian values of the young.”
With great gratitude and affection I take this opportunity that has been offered to me to on behalf of the Sanctuary of Meritxell, thank our bother sanctuaries of El Pilar, Lourdes, Montserrat and Torreciudad for opening their brotherly arms welcome us into the Marian Route (Ruta Mariana). This has always been our dream, to warmly greet the pilgrims of Meritxell from our country in the heart of the Pyrenees, inviting them to pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Lourdes in the Atlantic Pyrenees; to El Pilar in Zaragoza, oldest Marian temple in the world; to Montserrat which along with Meritxell, form the route of the “Dolces M” (Sweet Ms) and to Torreciudad, the sanctuary of the families, located in the land that saw Saint Josemaria Escrivá de Balaguer born.
Today, from Pallerols del Cantó to Sant Julià de Lòria, it has become a route of pilgrimage. We thank you, our sanctuary brothers!
Sanctuary, synonymous of path. Meritxell will follow the path with Lourdes, Montserrat and Torreciudad, fully aware that our walking is the joy of singing together, “How great is the Lord, my Spirit!”.
(Parish priest of Canillo & Rector of the Sanctuary of Meritxell)