Javier Castle
Saint Francisco Javier
Mayor's greetings

Javierada, Novena of Grace


Novena de gracia
The Novena in honor of St. Francis Javier lasts from 4 to 12 March. It starts on the 4th March , 9 days before the date of the canonization of the Saint, 12th of March 1622. It includes nine days of pilgrimage. Each day is assigned to a specific area of Navarra as well as various religious orders, associations, etc...

The 'Javieradas' are one of the most important pilgrimages held today in Spain, with many participants and deep religious feeling. Their main purpose is to honour and venerate the patron saint of Francisco Javier. They Similar to the Camino de Santiago, but less intimate. They may looks like a sporting event, but they are an expression of faith. They also are similar to the many springtime Marian pilgrimages.

The type of holiness of St. Francis Javier, missionary, vigorous, apostolic, impatient, passionate, impetuous... has been and is still living in Navarra, a patron saint that remains deeply rooted in the subconscious as prototype Navarran family... that from earliest childhood, was a strong and determined missionary. Francis Javier, patron of Navarra. While most of the pilgrims reach Javier by walking, lately there is more diversity: bike, jogging, rollerblades, by road, over the mountains, etc.

There are also other Javieradas apart from the principal: School Javierada, Family Javierada, Patients Javieradas...

The origins date back to 1886 when thousands of Navarros made the pilgrimage to Javier on the occasion of the last cholera epidemic of the nineteenth century. There were other occasions: family, occasional, Jesuit school, centennial... But none of them became an 'annual event'. And none of them was called a 'Javierada'.

The word "Javierada" was invented by a Navarran bishop, Don Marcelino Olaechea, to refer to that other event. which had made scholars rifle through the pages of Shakespeare scholars to findthe name of the little Spanish kingdom. "Navarra is the wonder of the world" said the English writer. This quoted was dusted off and admired as a prophecy fulfilled in the dramatic years of 1936-1939. During those years, when Spanish Catholics spoke of "Crusade" and believed in the "Crusade" the word Javierada grew, by through the association of ideas. Cross and Crusade. Javier and Javierada. Immediately afterwards the Javierada started to be, furthermore, the pilgrimage to Javier that is important during Lent and the 'Novena of Grace' which begins on 4th March.

Since 1940 it has been institutionalized by the Brotherhood of Knights Cross volunteers as the annual pilgrimage to Javier. The Canonical Brotherhood, started by Bishop Olaechea and made up of Navaran veterans to "keep the spirit of the Crusade" which they had lived through. In that same spirit, sheltered from the March cold by the war capes turned into habits, accompanied by the same crosses that had gone with them to the front. In the following years other institutions and the diocese of Pamplona were added, making the a new pilgrimage seem ancient, original and authentic.