Monday, July 3, 2017

Rest Your Weary Heads!

For those who have been worried, my long, lost bag has shown.  I am now re-packing and preparing to leave tomorrow. The other members of the fellowship are out wandering the streets of Leon. They don't even know yet. How happy they will be to know that this episode is over. What new penances await!?! 


Til next post,
God bless,
Fr. Roux

It's just the beginning...

Thoughts and Reflections
from Camillo X. Salas-Bowen
The group is not even half way to finish the Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, and our Lord has already bestowed on us many blessings. (The following lines are written with the purpose of providing a very brief review of some of our experiences in certain places.) 

After having met a great priest named Padre Enrique, who celebrated mass for the pilgrims in Spanish in the Iglesias of Santa Maria del Manzano, and drove us to the enormous church of St. John in Castrojeriz (during the feast of St. John the Apostle), we headed to Boadilla del Camino where finally we encountered Fr. Roux in a great Albergue. 

El Camino de Santiago
Even though it took us forever to get in touch with someone to open the church, the sacristan eventually facilitated us with everything to celebrate Mass in thanksgiving. As in the other towns, we had lunch and dinner with other pilgrims that wanted to spend time with us either to know more about the church, or to have a good conversation or a good laugh. From there, our squad walked 25 km (15.2mi) to Carrion de Los Condes that had unending fields of wheat accompanied by an improvised musical. 

Despite all the obstacles, we arrived safe a sound to the albergue run by a small community of sisters (and seminarians from Madrid, as well) that gathered all the pilgrims, invited us to share our story, and sing songs. In addition, Fr. Roux delighted our ears with the Spanish song, he famously calls, One-Ton-Tomatoes (Guantanamera). 

The sisters welcoming us with songs
Then, Fr. Julio, the pastor of the church, allowed us to serve at Mass with Bishop Antonio. The bishop blessed us and the rest of the pilgrims during Mass, and Fr. Julio asked Matthew Harrison, Aaron, and Matthew Dimock to close with a piece of Gregorian Chant in honor of Our Lady. The celebration of the liturgy, the blessings of the pilgrims and the Gregorian made it a wonderful and memorable experience.

Camilo X. Salas-Bowen; Matthew W. Dimock, Jr.; Bishop Antonio;
Matthew P. Harrison; Father Roux; Aaron Z. Huber;
Deacon Luis (newly ordained); and Seminarian Cesar (Diocese of Madrid) 
The door behind us represent the miracle of a group of Spanish virgins in the twelfth century. After praying for the intercession of the Virgin Mary, they were protected by two bulls who attacked the Moores who wanted to kidnap the virgins .

In the Joy of Christ,
Camilo X. Salas-Bowen

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Cold and Rainy! Who knew?

Good afternoon, well, it is here anyway.

We have had a few internet issues, but hopefully we are on track to keep blogging for a while. The post from Matthew was actually written a couple of days ago, but only was sent out today. It's been a good couple of days since then. When we began yesterday morning, the sky let loose with a driving cold rain. Camilo was generous in giving up his poncho and gators so that I could try to stay dry and somewhat warm. I think I will appear in the next issue of CQ (Camino Quarterly).

The nice thing about hiking in the rain is that it forces one to remain quiet and pray. So, even though we have agreed to keeping the first few hours as a grand silence, the rain made it a bit longer. With hours on end to pray and just be open to the movement of the Spirit, I have turned to offering many rosaries. I have found the offering each decade for a person (or intention) takes on a whole different reality. Many of us often remember someone or another at the beginning of a mystery as we offer our daily rosary, but here, with 4 or 5 complete rosaries being prayed each day, I am remembering people or situations that I have not thought of for years. Yesterday afternoon, I was remembering my first grade teacher! How beautiful and joyful to bring so many people to prayer that otherwise I might not have ever thought of again. I recommend the practice anyway, but now, it is with gusto.

I have to tell you about the day I caught up the the men. I began in the darkness of 5am, with only the moon and light from a few other hikers to follow. I was hoping to catch them before they had begun their hike, I found out that I arrived to the town where they stayed only about a half hour behind them. Of course, they are faster and I had an unexpected struggle ahead.

The road you see rising from right to left was cut into the hillside with about a 12 degree grade. But with some planning and patience...

...I made it to the top!

This is looking back to the town.
Of course, what goes up, must come down and the other side of this height descended with a 13% grade.

Long story short, however, I actually arrived at the town ahead of the rest of the fellowship as they met a gentleman who told them his life story and introduced to his family and basically kept the off of the trail for two hours. So, when I arrived, I spent some time in the church, one of the few we find open, then found the others had arrived and settled into the albergue across the street.

Finally back together, we set off the following morning. The men had met several along the way who were curious about the Faith and seminarians, but I'll let them tell those stories. However, on the road this day, we stopped in a town to see if the church was open and not only was it, but there was Adoration this day. What a gift!! We made a Holy Hour and the continued on our way.

The rest of the day's events, I'll let one of the others write about. However, the beautiful takeaway is the God has gifts everywhere. One has to be ready to see and embrace them. Til next blog,

God bless,
Fr. Roux