Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Way of St James

My daughter and a friend make their way today from Lourdes to St Jean-Pied-du-Port in France. From there on Tuesday 12th June they will begin a pilgrimage of ancient origin along what is known as the way of St James.
The Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the tomb of St. James (Santiago in Spanish) in Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain. The most popular route, the Camino Franc├ęs stretches 780 km. (nearly 500 miles) from St. Jean-Pied-du-Port near Biarritz in France to Santiago.

St Jean-Pied-du-Port stands at the base of the Roncevaux Pass across the Pyrenees. Pied de Port means ‘foot of the pass’ in Pyrenean French.
Whenever any of our children go on pilgrimage, they carry the intentions of the whole family with them. For our part we try to follow them in prayer and, because they are our children we are always thinking about them. (Our son is currently in Jerusalem too!)
On day one they collect their pilgrim passport and walk the 30k from St Jean-Pied-du-Pont to Roncesvalles. This is the most physically demanding of the whole way. If any reader can spare time to pray for them there is a Pilgrim Prayer below. Our family will pray this every day but they may need more help on day one!

A Pilgrim's Prayer to St. James
This is an ancient prayer that comes at the end of the Pilgrim Mass said along the Camino de Santiago:

 O God, who brought your servant Abraham out of the land of the Chaldeans, protecting him in his wanderings, who guided the Hebrew people across the desert, we ask that you watch over us, your servants, as we walk in the love of your name to Santiago de Compostela.

Be for us our companion on the walk,
Our guide at the crossroads,
Our breath in our weariness,
Our protection in danger,
Our albergue on the Camino,
Our shade in the heat,
Our light in the darkness,
Our consolation in our discouragements,
And our strength in our intentions.

So that with your guidance we may arrive safe and unhurt at the end of the journey and enriched with grace and virtue return safely to our homes filled with joy.

In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Apostle Santiago, pray for us. Santa Maria, pray for us.

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