Gibraltar’s Bishop has met a Spanish diplomat in the Campo de Gibraltar to secure Madrid’s help in the planning of a cross-border procession to mark 700 years of devotion to Our Lady of Europe. The meetings were part of a wider effort to finalise arrangements for the walk and associated events, reports the Gibraltar Chronicle.
With less than three weeks to go, Bishop Charles Caruana and Juan Valenzuela, the priest who heads the diocese of La Linea, have been doing the rounds of Campo officials.
Among their visits over the past fortnight, they met on two occasions with Julio Montesino Ramos, the Spanish Ministry for Foreign Affairs representative in the Campo.
“He is helping us resolve any bureaucratic problems that may arise at the border,” Father Valenzuela told the Chronicle.
In the latest meeting, the Bishop and the Spanish priest visited La Linea mayor Juan Carlos Juárez in his office and secured his support for the event. The Bishop said the procession would serve to bring communities on both sides of the border closer through their faith.
A replica of the statue of Our Lady of Europe – a gift from Gibraltar to La Linea - will be carried across the border in a procession led by Bishop Caruana. The procession will leave from the area of the airport terminal at 7pm on April 27 and make its way into Spain, where it will be met by a Spanish delegation led by the Bishop of Cádiz and Ceuta.
From there, the procession will make its way to La Linea’s main church (Inmaculada) where, weather permitting, an open air mass will be celebrated in the square outside.
The main procession will be preceded three days earlier by a pilgrimage of Spanish worshipers from La Linea to the Shrine at Europa Point.
“These acts seek peace, friendship and union between communities and across Europe,” said Bishop Caruana after his meeting with the mayor. “This is a special celebration for Gibraltarians, and no doubt for people from La Linea too, who want harmony between citizens across the continent.”
Juárez said the processions had his full support “because they will bring our two neighbouring cities even closer together.”