From June 8- 23, 2015, twenty-three men (18 Discerners, 2 Priests, & 3 Seminarians) will walk along the last 164 miles of the ancient Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) pilgrimage trail (Frances route) to Santiago de Compostela, and the relics of St. James the Apostle. This pilgrimage is not just a trip or vacation, but a walking discernment retreat led by the Office of Priestly Vocations of the Archdiocese of Detroit. It is an opportunity for these men to grow in relationship with Christ and better discern where the Lord is calling them to serve Him. Please pray for these men as they embark upon this spiritual path.
Since the 10th Century, pilgrims have walked to the shrine of the Apostle St. James at Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. Legend holds that St. James’s remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain where he was buried on the site of what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela.
The routes to the shrine are known as “Caminos,” or Ways. Walking a Camino was a traditional form of penance and pilgrims received an indulgence to pardon their sins. During the Middle Ages, the route was highly traveled, however, the Black Death, the Protestant Reformation and political unrest in 16th-century Europe led to its decline. Since the 1980s, the Camino has attracted thousands of modern-day pilgrims each year from around the globe.
So why walk the pilgrimage? Outside of the Holy Land, the Camino is one of the oldest pilgrimages in all of Christendom. By walking this storied path, we will have the opportunity to ‘walk in the footsteps’ of thousands of pilgrims before us. The ancient pilgrim saw this journey as a symbol of the life of Christ and a reminder that their own lives were pilgrimages to heaven. Above all, it was and will be, an opportunity for growing in our relationship with Christ and better discern, ‘where is the Lord calling me to serve Him?’
For more information about the Camino de Santiago experience, see the current movie starring Martin Sheen, “The Way”.