A Pilgrim is a Wanderer with a Purpose

Well, I reckon I am a qualified pilgrim then. My purpose is to fulfill a promise I made to God some 21 years ago. And to rekindle a piece (or should I say ‘peace’) of my Spirit. So I wander with purpose. My new Indian name!

I met a fellow from Canada and we walked together for many miles today. He has done portions of the Camino before and agreed that yesterday’s downhill was the most brutal of the Camino. At least it helps to have some agreement in yesterday’s ordeal.

Today was better: just 13 miles through towns and vineyards. That’s only 30,585 steps, compared to yesterday’s 36,986!

But I picked up a blister the last couple of miles on my left heel. Lanced and drained it and hope it will be okay for tomorrow’s day one of the mountains. 

Night before last was one of the highlights of the pilgrimage. I walked around this old church and noticed a little shop across from it. 

The village–Rabanal del Camino– is small, maybe 6o people and those still around look as old as the buildings that line their steep street. 

I had no sooner stepped in this shop when behind the counter a monk (pictured above) quickly asked, “Can you read English?”

“Well, most of the time I can handle it,” I replied and turned my attention to the merchandise around the walls.

“Good!” He exclaimed. ‘At 6:50 go to the church, pick up a yellow pamphlet on your left and then go sit up front by the priest. He’ll instruct you on what to do.”

“Say what?”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” he said. “I assumed you’d be going to Vespers.”

“Well, yes I thought I would,” I replied.

“Good! We need you to read the Scripture in English.”

Now that’s the way to recruit volunteers!

The little church was small. It looked like the ceiling would collapse at any moment. But there was something humble and moving about it in its simplicity that the larger, more ordained cathedrals didn’t have. I expected Christ to come off the cross at any moment.

I sat right on the side with two monks and another pilgrim who read in German; across from us  we’re two other monks and two pilgrims, one who read it in Spanish, the other in Korean.
The Vespers were conducted (sung) in Latin by the Benedictine monks from Bavaria, who operate the Monestary.

There were probably 25 other pilgrims in attendance, all from different countries. The Camino is a melting pot of the world.

Afterwards, Mass was conducted by a young Korean–I learned later that he is a Chaplin in the Korean Army, on leave walking the Camino! There were three other Korean pilgrims, a woman from Brazil and myself in the “congregation.”

Now here’s the cool part: this young priest conducted the service using an iPad! High tech in an ancient church building. When he gave his homily he asked one of the Koreans (my friend Jaesoo) to translate it in English as he went along!

The Korean priest is in the middle, above.

Afterwards the Koreans and the priest invited me to dinner. Then we went back to the church where the Monks gave all the pilgrims a special blessing.

The Korean priest is second from the left. My Korean friend, Jaesoo, who I met in León, is on the right.

Gotta lance the blister again, so will sign off for now. Many more stories to tell, so stay tuned!


Man of La Manche New Big Blister

Grandfather of the Camino


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