Pilgrimpace's Blog

October 19, 2011, 3:33 pm
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Amongst the busyness of life and work I am spending as much time as I can this week getting ready to go to Galicia for our small but challenging pilgrimage.

This readying is happening at a number of levels.  There are the practical things to be done.  Our transport is all booked, I have to get currency, I’ve annotated the CSJ Guide to the route.  Meenakshi and I are assembling our kit (I’ll post a photo of it when it’s all ready and a kit list if I have time).  My list for the Levante is here.  A three day walk and the ability to share things between the two of us means it will be more focussed this time.

I have realised that my Spanish skills have deteriorated badly.  When I finished two years ago, people told me off if I said my Spanish was poco – it was a decent standard, if very rough and ready.  Now it is tiny.  Fortunately I have found a teacher, Gilda, and will have enough for the Camino.  This time, I will keep it up; I am planning to be reasonably fluent when I get the chance to go on the next big walk.

Again, I am experiencing the generosity of pilgrims who have walked the route recently and spend a lot of care giving advice – thanks especially to John and Mig.

I am preparing emotionally.  There are some nerves and trepidation.  I’m fighting off a cold, which is a sign of this.  It might be a short walk in terms of days, but it promises to be testing.  Especially the first day – 19 odd miles with a long climb at the end.  I am a bit jealous of Meenakshi who is very excited by it – I need to learn from her!

And I am preparing spiritually.  I am aware how much I am prayed for – once again, going away on pilgrimage reveals just how much I am loved and how I am held in a cats cradle of prayer.  On Sunday, at the end of the Eucharist at St Bede’s, Meenakshi and I came forward in our boots, and with our rucksacks and shells to receive this ancient Pilgrim Blessing (sorry to folk at St Gabriel’s that it didn’t happen with you too – I only remembered it at the last minute and needed another priest):

(The text of a medieval rite dated 1078 preserved in the Missal of Vich Cathedral, Barcelona, Spain. At the Abbey of Roncesvalles the blessing is used at the end of the Mass for the blessing of pilgrims passing through).
Priest: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Response: Who made heaven and earth.
Priest: The Lord be with you.
Response: And also with you.
Let us pray.
O Lord whose word makes all things holy, bless we beseech you these emblems, rucksacks and staffs to be used on this pilgrimage. May all those who carry them arrive safely at the shrine of St. James the Apostle, the objective of their journey. We ask this through Christ our Lord.R: Amen
Presenting the Rucksacks
(When presenting the rucksacks the priest says: “In the name of the Lord”)
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, shoulder these rucksacks which will help you during your pilgrimage. May the fatigue of carrying them be expiation for your sins, so that when you have been forgiven you may reach the shrine of St. James full of courage, and when your pilgrimage is over, return home full of joy. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R: Amen
Presenting the shells and other emblems
Receive these shells and medals, as signs of your pilgrimage. With God’s grace may you behave as true pilgrims throughout your entire journey and be able to reach your objective, which is to visit the shrine of St, James and gain indulgences. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R: Amen
Blessing the Pilgrims
Lord Jesus Christ, you taught us through the Apostle St Paul that here below we have no lasting city and must always seek the heavenly city. Hear our prayers for these pilgrims we commission. May the Holy Spirit breathe his grace into their hearts; may he enliven their faith, strengthen their hope and feed the flame of their love. May they thus make their pilgrimage in the true spirit of penance, sacrifice and expiation. May the same spirit purify their minds from every evil thought. May he defend their hearts and give them the constant help of his protection so that they can reach the objective of their journey safely and by means of this pilgrimage they are now starting merit to come one day to the heavenly Jerusalem. You who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
R: Amen
May the Lord always guide your steps and be your inseparable companion throughout your journey.
R: Amen
May our Lady of Roncesvalles grant you her motherly protection, defend you against all dangers of soul and body. Through her intercession may you arrive safely at the end of your pilgrimage.
R: Amen
May St Raphael the Archangel accompany you throughout your journey as he accompanied Tobias and ward off every contrary or troublesome incident.
R: Amen
And may almighty God bless you, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
R: Amen
Go in the peace of Christ
(Translated from a French version of the Latin original by Brother David Leo fsc.
Copies available from the Confraternity of St James http://www.csj.org.uk)

A little more packing; some work to clear.  I am ready.

5 Comments so far
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Buen camino, pilgrims. May God bless your steps through old Galiza. Fuerza! Ultreya!
José Carlos, from Brazil

Comment by José Carlos da Costa

I absolutely love that phrase, cats cradle of prayer!! Will be thinking of you both, and am so excited that you get to share this with your daughter! Bless you both!

Comment by karin

Thank you both. One day’s work, one Spanish lesson, final packing, three sleeps – and we are off.

Prayers will be said for you on Camino and in Santiago.

Comment by pilgrimpace

I have been thinking of you both, knowing that your departure time was very near. I love the way you received a blessing in your boots! Margaret

Comment by Margaret

I’m with Karin – ‘cats cradle of prayer’ is a lovely phrase. Bless you both, and Buen Camino!

Comment by The Solitary Walker

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