We are ready to go

Little warmth in the failing light

Yesterday was our last training walk (16 K). Robin and I have been carrying our camino packs for the past month and have enjoyed our times together walking along the Columbia River, but now it is definitely time to move on. We feel we are in a good spot both physically and spiritually. We had dinner recently with our former archbishop (now retired) +John Vlazny. He was kind enough to bestow on us the catholic blessing for departing pilgrims. Catholics have blessings for everything. It is a beautiful prayer that reminds us of the purpose of pilgrimage and how we should (and hope) to embrace it. An excerpt follows.

“All-powerful God, you always show mercy toward those who love you and you are never far away for those who seek you. Remain with your servants on this holy pilgrimage and guide their way in accord with your will. Shelter them with your protection by day, give them the light of your grace by night, and, as their companion on the journey, bring them to their destination in safety.” 

It is with these words close to our hearts that we shall set out to follow Saint Ignatius’ journey to Manresa, walking in faith not by sight (and a GPS track or two). We will also be carrying some articles that represent special intentions for some of our fellow parishioners at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Portland, OR. We are very pleased, and honored, to add this special purpose to our journey.

We fly out this coming Saturday for Bilbao, and plan to start walking the Camino Ignaciano on January 14th. We have allowed 27 walking days to complete this 400 mile (640 K) pilgrimage. It is a route that is not heavily traveled as it is still in its relative infancy as a marked camino route. This means fewer services, inconsistent or missing way marks, and fewer pilgrims. Recent interest not withstanding, I would guess this route has been pretty quiet since February of 1522 when Ignatius set out. But, as they say, we shall see. The most important element of any journey is not to get bound up in expectations. Robin and I have been particularly mindful of this as we have prepared for this trip. The number of uncertainties that attend this walk are a bit out of our comfort zone, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. We will have to adjust, as all pilgrims do, according to what befalls us. The trick is to do it joyfully. This pilgrimage (a true gift) should not be burdened with a foul mood because of some loopy unmet expectation. Smiling through adversity does not come easily. Many of us can handle adversity well enough, but it is the smiling part that takes a bit of work (at least for me). Just another thing to practice as we inch along the map. I’ll leave it there for now and pick it up again on the other side of the pond. Thanks for sharing the journey. This should be interesting.

Almost home

Companions on our walk

10 thoughts on “We are ready to go”

  1. Hi Alain and Janet. So good to hear from you both. It was a pleasure to get to know you on the Norte last summer. Prayers are always welcomed. Thanks.



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