John Paul II European Center of Pilgrimage is situated at Monte do Gozo, about 250 meters from the Camino Frances, 5km away from Santiago de Compostela Catedral. It was opened in the Holy Year 1993 to commemorate the visit of the Polish Pope in this place.
In our Center – known as a „Polish Albergue” – both organized groups and individual pilgrims may find a bed and food for the body, and guidance for the soul.
We offer for pilgrims: double rooms, dormitories, cafeteria, two chapels and conference halls. Plenty of green area around our Center makes it a perfect place for rest, reflection and regeneration before the last part of the Camino. John Paul II European Center of Pilgrimage is owned by the Archdioceses of Santiago de Compostela and is run by the Missionaries of La Salette.
History of the place
Monte de Gozo is the second – after the cathedral in Compostela – mostly mentioned place on the Camino de Santiago. For generations of pilgrims this place has its symbolic meaning, associated with joy, because from this very place,for the first time, they may see the goal of their pilgrimage – the cathedral where rests the body of St. James.
It seems that Mount of Joy (Monte do Gozo) was called that name by the French pilgrims back in the Middle Ages. Already the Codex Calixtinus mentioning that last hill before Santiago calls it Mons Gaudi.
The first chapel that was built for pilgrims in this place was dedicated to Holy Cross. Unfortunately, the edifice was destroyed and no description of it was left. A new chapel, dedicated to St. Mark the Evangelist, has served pilgrims since the Holy Jacobean Year 1965.
Contemporary history of Monte do Gozo is marked by the visit of St. John Paul II, who celebrated a Holy Mass in this place on the 20th August 1989, during the World Youth Days. This event is commemorated with a monument od St. John Paul II situated next to St. Mark’s chapel and our Center that took the name of the Polish Pope.