Why Hike the Way of Saint James?
In 2002, I was blessed to make my first pilgrimage to Fatima, Portugal. During that pilgrimage, our group made a side trip to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. In my Fatima experience, I discovered a little known or at least, little talked about reality of the message of Our Lady to the three shepherds. That the core of Our Lady’s plea was to pray and offer sacrifices for the conversion of sinners and the salvation of souls. This part of the message of Our Lady rang true in my heart. It is true that we must be willing to offer sacrifice, uniting it to Christ, to make reparation for sin and call sinners to conversion, and this is where Compostela comes in. There is an ancient pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint James which for over a thousand years pilgrims have walked to do penance and seek, through silence, to grow closer to Jesus. In addition, the long journey acts as a time of penance and reparation which may be offered for other. For many years, I have offered prayers for priests who are lukewarm in their priesthood, for those priests who are over-burdened by the day to day struggles and priests who have lost their way. I felt the desire in 2002 to someday walk the Camino with priests as a primary intention, but never thought it would happen. I am grateful to Bishop Jugis, who joyfully granted his permission for this journey. I am looking forward to spending time with the four, young seminarians with whom I am traveling.
I offer my hike, of course for my own private intentions as well as priests who need graces to reignite their desire to truly be Alter Christus to the world. I will also carry the Diocese of Charlotte and the parish of the Cathedral of Saint Patrick with me, as well as so many intentions which have been entrusted to my care. I hope that through the long days of silent reflective prayer I will grow closer to Jesus, encourage the young seminarians, and help my brother priests and more. I ask you to include in your prayers the safety and spiritual growth of the five pilgrims.