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camino chaplaincy

Chaplaincy Services 1


I’m lucky enough to have a few weeks of Study Leave early next year which will fall into two parts. There  will be a pilgrimage and retreat with a group of friends to Santiago for a week or so.

During the rest of the time I will be doing some reading and thinking and writing about the Spanish Carmelite Mystics – Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross – specifically looking at why they speak to me so much in my context as a parish priest in urban areas of deprivation.

Can anyone suggest anything I ought to read around this?  There are obviously the works of John and Teresa.  Ken Leech and Rowan Williams have touched on this.  I really enjoy Peter Tyler’s books on the Carmelites.  Anyone else?  Particularly any women’s perspectives?

If anyone has any thoughts, comments or suggestions, I would be extremely grateful.

opportunity to volunteer at the pilgrims office
August 29, 2013, 8:53 am
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Pilgrims Office Santiago – volunteers wanted October 2013 – April 2014


For many years volunteers have been engaged in the Pilgrims’ Office often on an informal basis. Now the Cathedral wishes to offer more defined, planned opportunities for pilgrims to volunteer to receive pilgrims, issue the sello of the cathedral and the Compostela.


Therefore we are inviting applications from experienced pilgrims to volunteer in the office from October 2013.


The volunteers will pay for their own transport and subsistence. Accommodation will be provided.


Successful applicants will have walked a Camino and will have good language skills including being able to speak Spanish at intermediate level.  From October 2013 – April 2014 we are seeking 2 volunteers who would come usually for a minimum of 2 weeks.


Please inform your pilgrim friends and networks about this opportunity.


Further information and an application pack available from:



lenten journey 8

I have not blogged as much as I intended on this Lenten Journey.  I had a week away on retreat when I was away from the computer; last week was over-full.  We’ll try to make up for this, especially when we enter Passiontide in a week.

In the meantime, an invitation:

If you have not encountered Johnnie Walker’s excellent Camino to Santiago blog, then read it.  John, who is a good friend, volunteers at the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago and is concerned with making the welcome given to pilgrims as good as possible.

He is currently asking pilgrims to fill in a short questionnaire.

You can do this here.

You might want to think about hospitality and welcome in your own situation – how do you offer hospitality to others?  How do you make a welcome?


May you be like a candle

set in the window of the house

welcoming the stranger in from the storm

retreat in santiago

Dear Friends, 

I am honoured to be able to share this with you.  If you would like to come or have any questions, please ask.  And please share; I really hope we have enough interest for it to go ahead,


Under the auspices of the
Archicofradía Universal del Apóstol Santiago
Pilgrim Retreat in English
Walking becomes praying
Three days and two nights’ reflection and prayer
… led by Fr Andy Delmege, a pilgrim …
Hotel San Martín Pinario
Santiago de Compostela
29th – 31st January 2013
bed, breakfast and evening meal approx 35€ per day
Expressions of interest by e mail to johnniewalker-santiago@hotmail.com
The retreat will be held if sufficient pilgrims are interested
The Archicofradia is the organisation commissioned by the monarchs of Spain and inaugurated in 1499 to build a hospital for pilgrims. It was to be “a Confraternity ordered and instituted, of both sexes, from whichever province or nation, in any part of the world”. Build and run a hospital it did in the building which is now the Parador, the Hostal los Reyes Catolicos. In modern times this religious organisation supports projects to help pilgrims and to encourage pilgrims to be of service to other pilgrims.

camino ingles
November 7, 2011, 8:00 pm
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As promised a route report.

We flew from Heathrow to La Coruna with Vueling, arriving on Saturday evening.  We stayed in Hostal Mara which is of good quality, friendly and central.  We spent two nights in Coruna which gave us a good opportunity to explore a lovely city (and to shelter from a terrible storm!).

We were able to have a proper beginning to our pilgrimage with Sunday morning Mass at the Church of Santiago, the traditional starting point of the Camino Ingles

and then some well spent tourist hours walking the city, visiting the Tower of Hercules, the only lighthouse of antiquity still in use, and Sunday dinner, which in Coruna means pulpo.

The first day walking was long, around 19 miles from Coruna to Hospital de Bruma, with a long climb near to the end.  Our fitness was enough for this.  I had a worry that we might not finish before dark, but we were fine (although anyone walking this in winter would have to break the journey using bus or taxi or be able to walk briskly).  We did not have a long lunch break but there were opportunities for refreshment

note that my cake is the biggest

The route is easy to follow.  A combination of the CSJ Guidebook and route marking meant we had no problems at all.  Locals we met along the way were keen to chat and very helpful with directions.

As I have said before, I like the Camino’s combination of urban and rural walking.  The first day included walking out of Coruna, a lovely stretch of promenade along a river, the odd bit of industrial zone, villages, and quiet country and forest paths.

We spent the night in the excellent Xunta Albergue at Bruma, looked after by Carmen the Hospitalera (see Johnnie Walker’s interview with her here) and in the company of a few other pilgrims.  I think this was very important for Meenakshi who had not walked before; it gave a good experience of pilgrim life.  Bruma is small but Carmen has arranged for a local restaurant to deliver food.  We ate a very good menu – mine was Russian Salad, salmon and chips, fruit, bread and a carafe of vino tinto.

The second day was around 15 miles walking to the town of Sigueiro.  This was a lovely walk on a mixture of quiet roads and paths giving precious views like this beautiful Church appearing across a field

Just before arriving in Sigueiro there is a 4km straight stretch along this forest path which tests the spirit and the feet

We stayed in the Hostal Miras which is basic but clean and friendly.  The restaurant there is a particular gem – cheap, good home cooking and the best fish supper I have ever eaten.

The Church of St Andrew, across the river, was beautiful and welcoming, although you may want to check the Mass time; we arrived as the people were leaving, although we were graciously given a sello and time to pray.

Our final day was about 10 miles.  The weather was terrible, continual driving rain and strong winds.  In good weather, this would have been a beautiful walk; on this occasion it was heads down and walking as fast as we could.  The first view of Santiago Cathedral on this route is about half an hour before you get there

Into the Cathedral to give thanks for arrival and for the pilgrimage, then a wonderful welcome at the Pilgrim’s Office (this route is not long enough for a Compostela, but it was definitely a testing pilgrimage and our certificates were earned), before hot showers and dry clothes at our hotel, the excellent Pension Girasol

and a good dinner with Johnnie Walker and the Big Man.  The Botafumeiro swung at the evening Mass, we heard “two English pilgrims walked from A Coruna” at Pilgrim Mass the next day, there was plenty of time to absorb something of Santiago and time to put our feet up








Meenakshi’s guest post
October 30, 2011, 5:50 pm
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Hello, I’m Meenakshi, and dad and I thought it would be nice if i just contributed a post to the blog about our recent pilgrimage to Santiago last week. I will just share a couple of things-

The thing I enjoyed most about our walk was getting up in the morning and just walking, without having to worry or over think anything, knowing that each step we took was getting us closer to our goal.

The thing I hated the most was, probably most obviously, the rain! Although it wasn’t pleasant having to trudge along with soggy boots, it didn’t stop our enjoyment of the pilgrimage, and once we’d arrived, the weather was forgotten.

The most funny thing that happened in Spain, although it makes me feel very guilty for saying this, was when dad fell completely over on the wet patio when we were being shown our room by the lovely lady in our hotel in Santiago. Although we were relieved to see he wasn’t hurt, the mental image of his glasses flying across the ground still makes me chuckle to myself.

And finally, the thing i learnt was to be determined and motivated, and when it got hard, and it did many times, was to just keep walking, keep faith and when we reached the Cathedral, i felt a massive sense of achievement and very privileged to have had all of these amazing experiences while on pilgrimage.