The Way of St. James Pilgrimage

Gary Miller, a devoted Catholic who attends the daily 8:15 AM Mass in Assumption, and Frances Inafuku who is deeply involved in many ministries in our parish, began their pilgrimage independently to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain the early part of June, 2012.

What is the El Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage?

James, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples, is the Patron Saint of Spain. According to ancient local tradition, on January 2nd of the year AD 40, the Virgin Mary appeared to James on the bank of the Ebro River at Caesaraugusta, while he was preaching the Gospel in Iberia. Following that apparition, St. James returned to Judea, where he was beheaded by King Herod Agrippa I in the year AD 44. Legend holds that St. James’s remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to Iberia, where they landed at Padrón on the coast of Galicia, and took it inland for burial at what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela.

This El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage is also called The Way of St. James or St. James’ Way.
The Way of St. James has existed for over a thousand years. It was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during medieval times, together with Rome and Jerusalem, and a pilgrimage route on which a plenary indulgence could be earned; other major pilgrimage routes include the Via Francigena to Rome and the pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Today tens of thousands of Christian pilgrims and many other travelers set out each year from their front doorstep to make their way to Santiago de Compostela. Most travel by foot, some by bicycle, and a few travel as some of their medieval counterparts did, on horseback or by donkey. In addition to people undertaking a religious pilgrimage, the majority are travelers and hikers who walk the route for non-religious reasons: travel, sport, or simply the challenge of weeks of walking in a foreign land. Also, many consider the experience a spiritual adventure to remove themselves from the bustle of modern life. It acts as a retreat for many modern “pilgrims”.

Gary is a “veteran” Camino pilgrim as he had done various stages of this “walk” before but this is the first time for Frances who is determined to complete the nearly 500 miles pilgrimage and will walk for 5 weeks at 13 miles a day from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago. The entire ABVM Parish is praying for them and we wish them a very special spiritual journey.

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Picture 1: L to R: Gary, Frances, Frank and his dad Turlock (fellow pilgrims from Ireland)
Picture 2: Pilgrim route
Picture 3: Frances and Gary at Santiago de Compostela