It is absolutely wonderful. I am back here in Santiago de Compostela, less than a year since we came on the wonderful pilgriamge with members of the Cathedral congregation and others. The reason I’m here, without 59 other pilgrims, Is that I have been invited to speak at ‘II Congreso Internacional de Acogida Cristiana y Nueva Evangelización en el Camino de Santiago’ which basically means the ‘International Congress of Christian Welcome and Renewed Evangelisation on the Camino’.
It was lovely to be asked by the Dean of Santiago to take part in this Congress, a real privilege and affirmation after coming last year and subsequently welcoming Don Segundo to Southwark.
This is the official description of the conference and I hope it gives you a little flavour of what we will be doing.
The theme of the conference is: “The Apostle James and the search for God on the Camino”. The various presentations and round-table discussions are aimed at showing both the richness of the pilgrim’s spiritual search and learning more about Saint James the Apostle and the 1000 year old pilgrimage to venerate his tomb.
The Associations of Friends of the Camino de Santiago participating in the conference will speak about their work. For example José. A. Marzoa, President of the Pilgrim Association in Luxembourg; Adeline Rucquoi, President of the Association of the ways of Santiago in France and Mª Ángeles Fernández, President of the Federation Spanish Associations of Friends of the Camino de Santiago will speak and take part in different round table discussions.
I’m speaking at the opening of the conference tomorrow but first have been invited to read at the Opening Mass. It is wonderful that Anglicans are given such a welcome.
I’m here with Fr Colin Jones and Marion Marples, the Chair and Secretary of the Confraternity in the UK. So I am not alone as they are both the real experts on the Camino and I am just a novice – but a passionate novice about the benefit of pilgrimage and especially of walking the Camino.
So I flew into La Coruna and was quickly being driven through the beautiful Galician countryside to Santiago and to the hostel of San Martin Pinario in the Plaza de la Immaculada which is on the north side of the Cathedral. It is a beautiful old building with lovely accommodation and from my room a great view down towards the Franciscan monastery. It is good to be back in this most holy and beautiful city and I ask God to bless our time together.
Our Lady, pray for us.
St James, pray for us.
All the saints of God, pray for us.