Listening to God’s Call on the Camino
Posted on 11. Aug, 2012
There are places like this all around the world. Whether you visit Glendalough in the east of Ireland, Iona off the coast of Scotland or Santiago in the northwest of Spain there is an ineffable sense of something sacred. It’s not just the location, which is as near heavenly as earth can be, but there’s something else that you can’t really describe. Places like these have been the destination of countless hundreds of thousands of pilgrims for well over fifteen hundred years.
This year in Santiago de Compostella is no different. Those of you who have walked the Camino will be familiar with the eclectic nature of the pilgrims. They come from all over the world and are drawn from every religious background and none. On my last walk I met a Presbyterian from Korea, an agnostic from the UK and a Methodist from Texas, to name only a few. Pilgrims travel to Santiago by foot, by bike, on horseback or ( in the case of one particularly adventurous pilgrim ) on a unicycle! They are all in search of something whether it’s time to reflect, a renewed relationship with God or a sense of peace and adventure.
I’ve been in Santiago for this last week welcoming pilgrims to the Basilica, concelebrating in the Mass and hearing confessions. It’s been tiring, but amazing to play even a small part in a pilgrim’s journey. If you’re around drop in and say hi! I’m usually just inside the main doors on the left. While I’ve been there I’ve seen a continuous queue of tired, happy people waiting to reverence the relic of St. James. The Camino, no matter how it is approached, represents one of the most exciting developments in the Catholic Church today.
It is surely a movement of the Holy Spirit that calls so many people to leave everything behind for a few weeks and walk from horizon to horizon seeking something that cannot be readily be described. Blisters, a bit of sun burn and tiredness notwithstanding, I’ve yet to meet one person who regretted making the trip. For every one of them it has been a profound, even life changing experience. The invitation is open to all, so what’s keeping you?
There’ll be a day pilgrimage along the Camino of Cork from Kealkill to Gougane Barra on the 30th of September for the Feast of St. Finbarr. It a good day’s walk along an ancient pilgrim pathway. If you’re interested let me know. All our contact details are on the website www.mscvocations.ie
Also next year in July / August I’ll be leading a group on the last 114km of the Camino from Sarria to Santiago. More information to follow.