Monday, 30 December 2013

Something for the New Year perhaps?

No time to post at present but here is a video clip of a pilgrimage that fascinates me, El Camino de Santiago de Compostela - The Way.

It is not a pilgrimage for the faint hearted, it is well over 600 kilometres (according to which route you choose).

It appears to attract people in search of a meaning to life - possibly they find a sense of the sacred on their journey.

Somehow, I doubt that this is enough to bring about a conversion to the Faith but it must surely bring some graces, some spiritual awakening in those who have no faith.

And, for those who do, perhaps it deepens and strengthens their belief.

Watch the video and judge for yourself....


  1. Did you read about the terrible fire on Christmas Day at the Shrine of the Virgin of Barca in Muxia, Spain? The church is/was at the very end of the camino. It contained a magnificent baroque altar dating from 1717 which had only recently been restored at a cost of €400,000. It is no more.

  2. When I arrived at the church in Muxia in July 2008 at the end of a walking pilgrimage that began at Worcester cathedral, it was shut. The darkened interior could be just be glimpsed through a small grill in the door. I was there for 24 hours, hoping to get access, but gave up and carried on to Finisterre. The pilgrim office and the town hall both apologised and said many pilgrims regularly complained that the church gave no access to those who had made the point of walking there (it is a choice of routes needing a long detour). Maybe if more people had been allowed access to pray in the shrine and see its glories, there would be more mourning for its loss. Like many closed churches on the road to Santiago, it was an example of the poor witness of the Spanish Catholic church to so many thousands of seekers of truth who take the trouble to embark on pilgrimage through many miles of Spanish territory but rarely encounter the living faith. What a lost opportunity after all the recent talk of Evangelism !

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  4. (had to correct an appalling phrasing!
    BTW:That your Christmas was blessed, not only with merriment !
    I don't know why you said judge for yourself- any video can only be a taster of the "Via Lactea".. English retains with no article a number of reasons for being somewhere without nefarious purposes : on holiday and on business remain , on honeymoon without chastity and marriage is no longer an experience, on pilgrimage science fiction, even for a great many devout.
    A modern pilgrimage to Lourdes is a great thing, involving considerable "lio" - and how many blessings! - but with modern transport, it is not the experience of our ancestors.
    One step after t'other, one day after t'other.
    Cycling, beasts of burden, make that easier, but it remains the many days immersed in the landscape - with prayer? with song? Hymns? jollity? joy? sweat? exuberance? endurance? sacrifice? fellowship? daily mass? Drink? change, comfort, discomfort?
    Steps were taken some thirtyodd years ago to stop the old pilgrim route from disappearing as it so nearly did, it must be divine providence that it survived at all, Franco's Spain was not loth to turn magnificent monuments originally set up for pilgrims into paradores, ie staterun touristtraps,such as in Leon - Spain is not without living faith, but as FrereRabit notes, not only have the vast majority gone secular, there are places where the impression one gets passing through is that it is wholly absent - sadly testimony from anyone who has lived in a particular area all too often corroborates.
    Cities may have more variety , more parishes, whatever, howsoever minority.But many smaller localities whose original raison d'etre was pilgrims passing through have turned their back on their history as well as on their religion - is that any surprise?
    I don't KNOW why the Via Lactea should attract non catholics, the secularized, even say orientals , but I surmise it's like Galstonbury : It's THERE. Abolishing religion leaves a hole , describing the lack of christianity as a "hole" is vapid and insufficient, still, if some stirring of the spirit as Jesus stands at our internal door should lead to a pilgrimage to Santiago if not yet openness to the word of God preached, well, then, praise the Lord for these first stirrings, ! I don't know whetther it's "better" to pilgrim individually, as a family, or a group with a priest (big advantage: confessions and daily mass) but ive heard individuals report some very rum ideas expressed by some fellow pilgrims