Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A community gathers

One of the great joys of this ministry is being witness to the ever changing pilgrim community. It is absolutely fascinating. Having walked a few caminos both Robin and I have an understanding of the closeness that is created amongst those traveling the road to Santiago together. The uniqueness of our present situation is that we get to spend time with an ongoing stream of camino families. I thought the pilgrim introductions at yesterday's mass were pretty much spot on for understanding the breadth of interest in the camino and the diversity of the camino families. We had pilgrims from Malta, Beijing, Slovakia, Zimbabwe, Australia, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Holland, Germany, Spain, USA, France, Faroe Islands, Canada, and Japan. The curious thing is how all these folks from different countries, cultures, and age groups mostly seem to subscribe to a sense of communal well being that transcends personal wants. Note, I say mostly for after all we are all still human, and the camino, while admittedly a transforming experience, occasionally meets its match with a few folks that just see things differently. So be it. Everyone just keeps inching along towards Santiago whether it's a good day or a not so good day. The journey simply continues and things get sorted along the way. Actually that is a great part of the attraction to the camino for me. I am always amazed, and quite honestly encouraged, by how easily pilgrims can adapt to a changing situation and not seem to give it too much thought. Usually the scope of the issue at hand pales in comparison to the journey ahead and so there it lies, RIP.

Capilla de Nuestra SeƱora de la Soledad
So, once again, I fully admit this is the best "job" I have ever had, and Robin is right there with me on this. The opportunity to witness the transforming experience of the mass in so many people is a blessing in and of itself. We have received countless comments from pilgrims thanking the Camino Chaplaincy for providing this much needed, and appreciated, spiritual care in an English language setting. No one is proselytizing other than by living our faith in accordance with our beliefs, offering genuine hospitality to all, and showing compassion for those in need. The word is getting out and attendance at mass and evening prayer is growing. Our current team of volunteers including John R., Stephen S., Fr. Joe, Fr. Tony, Robin and myself have great chemistry and closely share the stewardship of this ministry. But, we are certainly not alone. Other terrific volunteers have preceded us and others are scheduled to follow us. I feel certain that the Camino Chaplaincy's work with the pilgrim community here in Santiago (and now also in Moratinos, and Terredillos) will remain in good hands for a long time to come. The next time you are in Santiago please stop by the cathedral and say hello. We hold daily mass at 10:30 am Mon-Sat, evening prayer services at 6:00 pm Mon-Fri, and confessions. All are welcome. Buen camino.

The Sacristan (me)
Yes, it is an old chapel
Robin reviewing the gospel acclamation

All is ready
Fr. Tony presiding this morning

No comments:

Post a Comment