(Photo courtesy Star of the Sea)
Top from left Alejandra Gutzeit, Cecilia Read; bottom from left Maggie Tuttle, Father Joseph Illo, Erin Manigault, Martin Ford, Claire Herrick.
Star of the Sea young adults hike across Spain in 1,000-year religious tradition
September 19th, 2016
By Catholic San Francisco
Seven young adults from Star of the Sea and their pastor undertook a 230-mile hiking pilgrimage across Spain this summer in a “Camino de Santiago” or Walk of St. James, a 1,000-year religious tradition that concludes at the cathedral that holds the remains of the apostle St. James the Greater.
“The Camino is a very aesthetic experience,” said Martin Ford, 31, of the 20 miles a day of walking that began in mid-August. The group prayed the rosary five or six times a day, and stopped daily for Mass. Seven students and graduates of Thomas Aquinas College were also in the group.
The “Camino” is a popular pilgrimage, despite its rigor. Originally, “the shrine of St. James was located at literally the ends of the earth—before the discovery of America. You were going to follow Christ to the ends of the earth” at the northwest corner of Spain, Ford said. St. James spent nearly 40 years in Spain. His remains are enshrined at the Cathedral of Santiago in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
“It kind of taught me a new way to approach life. When you get up in the morning your feet are in agonizing pain. You can barely walk to the bathroom … Every morning, I’m asking myself, ‘how am I possibly going to walk 20 miles today?’” said Ford. “If you tell God, I am walking until failure…by the end of the day, you can’t believe, I can’t believe, I did that,” Ford said.
Seeing how diminished the practice of the faith is in Spain, with many nearly empty and closed churches, Claire Herrick said she appreciated the vigor of Christian faith in the United States in comparison. The youngest walker had just turned 18, and the oldest was Father Illo at 54, said the parish’s new director of evangelization and catechesis. “Everyone’s tired and hurting and hungry. You really get to see your imperfections come out. What does that mean to love and really work through?”
From September 22, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.