Jim Howard intrigued me during Announcements at the 8 am service last Sunday when he described, with maps in hand, how to learn more about Father Gary's religious, spiritual, physically rigorous 500 mile hike along the Camino de Santiago or the Way of St. James, where pilgrims of all faiths have traversed the idyllic northern Spanish countryside for over a thousand years.
As Father Gary is already experiencing, pilgrims walk the Camino for various reasons from seeking penance to enlightenment, or due to grief, joy, love and loss. Nevertheless, all progress toward the Cathedral in Santiago where it is believed that the remains of the apostle St. James are held.
"The Camino, by its nature, serves as the ultimate metaphor for life. Footsteps along a well-trodden path may be our guide, but do not shield us from the questions that most of our busy everyday lives prevent us at times from fully recognizing. The road offers very little to hide behind. The process of life is life along whichever road, path Camino, or Way we find ourselves on. Our humanity toward ourselves and others, our history and our future is what defines us." (http.//www.theway-themovie.com/camino.php)
The most popular route crosses the Pyrenees Mountains along the Spanish - French border starting in St. Jean, where Father Gary and Justin, his son, began. Sunday morning at 8 am I knew that they started in Spain and it would be spiritual, beautiful, hot and arduous. How did I learn about the town of St. James and people Father Gary has already met along the way such as a speech therapist moving to Gastoria, his host who white water kayaks the Ocoee River in North Carolina, a Buddhist man walking the entire Camino barefoot, deliberate and slow, or that the first person from Saudi Arabia is on the Camino? I learned all of this and many reflections plus stunning pictures of the countryside, ancient churches and Gary and Justin from Father Gary's blog. This was my first venture into a blog which I could not access at first because I typed in "www." For all interested in reading Father Gary's blog, simply type "theway2016blog.wordpress.com" in the address bar of your search engine (i.e. Google, Yahoo, Safari, etc.). To get the full story of his journey start at the end first, as the most recent posts appear at the beginning.
You also can learn more by watching the movie "The Way" referenced in the blog and my source for the second paragraph.
We are all on a faith and spiritual journey everyday, whether a visible and deliberate one or at home on your porch. Mine is already enhanced and inspired by Father Gary's blog.
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