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Three new trees in the Wood of Souls in Mostelares

A group of Hospitaleros Voluntarios del Camino de Santiago paid tribute to three deceased companions on Sunday 28th January: “Resti” Gutiérrez, “Justi” Infante and José Ignacio Díaz. Around 30 people from different parts of Spain went to Mostelares, on the outskirts of Castrojeriz, to plant three trees and place plaques at their feet.

This is a custom that dates back to 2015, in memory of the disappeared comrades: an olive, almond or holm oak tree is planted in their memory in an area called El Bosque de las Almas (The Wood  of the Souls).

The event was of particular importance to the group, which paid tribute to José Ignacio Díaz, the founder of Hospitaleros Voluntarios, parish priest of Santiago el Real de Logroño, pilgrim and hospitalero, and “prominent figure”. The idea of traditional, voluntary and fraternal hospitality, which characterises this group of volunteers, came from him and was presented at the First International Forum of the Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago, held in Jaca (Huesca) in 1987, in order to serve the pilgrims, whose numbers began to grow in the 1980s. Hospitaleros Voluntarios was ‘officially’ born in 1990 with the first hostel in Hornillos del Camino, where its  volunteers served.

Resti Gutiérrez was in charge of the municipal hostel in Castrojeriz for many years, while Justi Infante, a “humble and loving worker”, came to the Pilgrim’s Way thanks to his doctor’s prescription.

After the trees were planted, ceramic plaques from the workshop of a ceramist in Triana, Seville, were placed to commemorate the work of the three volunteers.

 

Trainings 2024 for Hospitaleros Voluntarios

In 2024, the courses for would-be hospitaleros will follow the following schedule:

  • 23-25 February Velletri (Rome)
  • 8-10 March Praglia (Padua)
  • 22-24 March Pianezza (Turin)
  • 5-7 April Valpromaro (Lucca)

For info write to Laura Monastier accoglienzapellegrina.corsi@gmail.com
The above schedule can also be found in the ‘Hospitaleros Voluntarios’ section of the Spanish Federation: https://www.caminosantiago.org/cpperegrino/hospitaleros/cursos.asp

27-29 October: 2023 Meeting of the Hospitaleros Voluntarios of Accoglienza Pellegrina in Pietrasanta/Valpromaro

On the last weekend of October, the annual meeting of Accoglienza Pellegrina hospitaleros voluntarios took place in Pietrasanta and Valpromaro. During the event, about sixty volunteers from Italy, Holland and Spain, as representatives of Hosvol Spain, were hosted at San Francesco hostel and Casa Diocesiana della Rocca in Pietrasanta. During the day, other hospitaleros joined in to take part in the planned activities.

On Friday evening, after dinner, hospitalero Filippo organised a leisure activity aimed at getting participants to know each other and bringing them together. On Saturday morning, a tour of Pietrasanta was led by Gabriele Veschi, a passionate connoisseur of history and art, to discover the monumental beauty and history of the city. After lunch, taking advantage of the sunny day, the participants went for a pleasant walk to Marina di Pietrasanta to enjoy the beach and each othe’s company.

In the late afternoon, the annual meeting was held, during which the Accoglienza Pellegrina Board of Directors summarised the activities of the Association for the year 2023, commenting on the various points together with the numerous members present. Late evening, hospitalera Marinella, led a group activity with a focus on hospitality.

On Sunday morning, the participants moved to Valpromaro to attend Holy Mass in the Church of St. Martin.  After Mass, the twinning of the pilgrims’ hostel “St John the Baptist” in Grañon and the pilgrims’ hostel “Giuseppe Mancino” in Valpromaro was celebrated live on Zoom. The Spanish parish priest, Father Alejandro, and Marina Saiz exchanged moving words with Iacopo Menchetti, Enza Bini and the parish priest of Valpromaro, Father Alessandro, and hoped to meet in person soon. The celebration continued with the testimonies of the people of Valpromaro, the Spaniish hospitaleros voluntaries represented by Anai Barreda and Manuel Oliva, Herman Velvis, hospitalero from Holland, and the AP hospitaleros.

The celebrations continued in the pilgrims’ hostel, where the participants cheerfully welcomed the banner that marks ten years of collaboration and a large wooden muñequito with dozens of replicas of it inside, on which the participants had written their names.

A rich lunch, prepared by the local people and attended by the Bishop of Lucca, Paolo Giulietti, was shared in the old village school.

Joy, generosity, fraternity, sharing, emotion and enthusiasm accompanied the participants throughout the meeting.

Update of accommodation

On 21 April 2023, we published on this website a list of accommodation along the Via Francigena considering both the start from the Great St. Bernard Pass and the start from the Montgenèvre Pass. It is a long and detailed work that now needs everyone’s collaboration in order to remain up-to-date and respond to changing realities. We invite all our members and pilgrims to report any variations in the proposed list as well as new and different accommodations. Information should be addressed to accoglienzapellegrina.strutture@gmail.com.

To date, we have published 8 updates. Download the latest one by clicking on this button:

New accomodation in Montignoso

We are particularly happy to announce the opening of a new donation-based hostel in Montignoso (MS) in the property of the Parish of Santa Maria della Rosa and run by the Montignoso Pastoral Unit.
The PILGRIM’S HOUSE “THE BREAD AND THE ROSE” is located at Capanne di Montignoso, in the centre of the small village, precisely in Via Fabbrica. The hostel will open on 25th June 2023.  The facility consists of four two-bed rooms, shared washrooms and showers for a total of eight beds. The kitchen can be used directly by pilgrims although the hospitalero would encourage pilgrims to prepare together a shared dinner and breakfast.  A convenient wash basin for washing clothes as well as threads and pegs for drying are available. The facility is not equipped with WI-FI and is unfortunately not suitable for welcoming pilgrims with disabilities.
This year, our volunteers will take shift from 1st July to 28th October.  They will be accommodated in a reserved room equipped with two beds and a wardrobe.
The facility is located right on the Via Francigena that makes easier for pilgrims to stop for a glass of water or a coffee or for using toilets; for our hospitalero an excellent opportunity to assist them.

List of accommodation on the Via Francigena

Drawing on various sources, based on personal knowledge and reports received, we have prepared a list of accommodation along the Via Francigena considering both the start at the Great St. Bernard Pass and the start at the Montgenèvre Pass.  The two routes meet in Vercelli.

You can now download it from our website ACCOGLIENZAPELLEGRINA.ORG by visiting the page ACCOMMODATIONS > GENERAL LIST

A long and detailed work that now needs everyone’s cooperation in order to keep it up to date and responding to changing realities. We invite all our members and pilgrims to report any changes in the list proposed and new and different accommodations. Information should be addressed to accoglienzapellegrina.strutture@gmail.com.

The list of accommodation is also intended to be a working tool for our volunteers on duty who need to give directions to pilgrims passing through, on what to do next. A hard copy can be made available in the hostels where we serve.

Special thanks to those who have been involved in this useful project.

As an example, you can see below the first page of the list:

2023 training

In 2023, the courses for would-be hospitaleros will follow the following schedule:

  • 24-26 February Velletri (Rome)
  • 10-12 March Cavagnolo (Turin)
  • 24-26 March Ponte d’Arbia (Siena)
  • 14-16 April Valpromaro (Lucca)

For info write to Laura Monastier accoglienzapellegrina.corsi@gmail.com
The above schedule can also be found in the ‘Hospitaleros Voluntarios’
section of the Spanish Federation: https://www.caminosantiago.org/cpperegrino/hospitaleros/cursos.asp

Fire emergency in Valpromaro

In this hot and incredible summer, it has also happened that a pilgrims hostel had to be closed due to fire danger. The huge fire that spread through the woods of Massarosa forced villages and communities in the area to evacuate their homes; even in Valpromaro, the inhabitants and our hospitaleros onduty had to leave the hostel A few difficult days, which we experienced with apprehension, for the community that welcomes and promotes the Casa del Pellegrino “Giuseppe Mancino” with affection and care.

A hostel remains a hostel, even in times of emergency, so instead of accommodating pilgrims passing through on the Via Francigena it has hosted the fire brigade engaged in extinguishing the fire.

Now everything is back to normal, the village has repopulated, the hostel has reopened and pilgrims have returned to the route.

New accomodation in Garlasco

Once again, our board welcomed the request for cooperation, on an experimental basis, with the ‘Casa del Pellegrino – Cascina Toledina’ in Garlasco (Pavia), which is part of Fondazione Exodus di  Don Mazzi.
The donation-based accommodation, right on the Via Francigena, is equipped with twelve beds, a kitchen, a reception area, two bathrooms
We would like to emphasise the social relevance and solidarity aspect of this collaboration, given the particular context in which the hostel is included;  as a matter of fact, it is  part of  a facility that welcomes young people in recovery or reported by the judicial authorities.  For them, hosting pilgrims constitutes an extra element of connection with the reality of the Via Francigena and the world of pilgrimages which can prove beneficial on them .

During our service we will be strictly required
– not to introduce alcohol or drugs, not even for personal use;
– not to give young people either money or our mobile phones.

We will also have the opportunity to interact with them, collaborating in some practical activities, e.g. looking after the animals, the vegetable garden, etc.
The duration of the collaboration, which includes the presence of a hospitalero, will start this year from Saturday 28 June and will end on Saturday 15 October.