Saturday, September 16, 2017

Arrival in Santiago de Compostela

Arrival was less an event than a process for this pilgrim. We walked into the city Thursday night, having completed the 334 kilometers (over 200 miles) from Oviedo. The Cathedral of St. James looms over the old city. We felt "zombified" at that moment; the hard flagstones, the crowds of tourists, the residual physical strains, left us ready for nothing but sleep.

In the morning we were ready to complete the "business" of pilgrimage: standing in line along with hundreds of other pilgrims from all the various routes to receive our Compostelas, the Latin certificate affirming we had completed the walk we set ourselves. 
Outside the Pilgrim Reception Office, a charming Irish nun offered me the text of a prayer.

We thank you, God, for bringing us safely here and for the many blessings and gifts of our pilgrimage. 

The company and kindness of strangers, the beauty of the way, the joy of traveling light, the strength to go on even in difficulties are reminders of your presence within us and among us. 

Now that we have arrived, we remember all our loved ones, especially those who have been in our hearts and minds as we walked the Camino. As we return home, give us courage to live in the spirit of the Camino so that we make this world a more loving and peaceful place for everyone. 

We make our prayer through Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Amen.

She also offered a suggestion for where to eat dinner. She was spot on.

In the evening we attended the pilgrim mass at the Cathedral. Remarkably, for this Episcopalian, in that gold encrusted setting, the theme - expressed through women liturgical leaders and by the presiding priest's homily - was as much the redeeming power of the Mater Dolorosa who shares human sorrows as her son's redemptive sacrifice. You never know what you will encounter in a church.

This sunset on the plaza as we emerged seemed a fitting close to an intense day.

1 comment:

DJan said...

Congratulations on your successful trip! I've been following along (I always read all your posts) but felt compelled this time to leave a comment with my very best wishes and my thanks for the journey. :-)