Parish Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela
11-18 February 2012
St James, who saw our Lord transfigured, after preaching in Palestine and then bringing the Good News to Spain, you became the first Apostle to die as a witness to Christ. Witness of Christ’s agony in the garden, teach us to represent Christ in our life, bearing willingly our cross after him and working and praying for God’s glory. Amen.
The Pilgrims, seen here as they left in the snow, are now safely back from their Pilgrimage to Santiago
Day One (Sunday 12 February)
Sarria to Portomarin – 14 miles
Setting off from Sarria .. Only 111 km to go!
Twenty-nine pilgrims, led and inspired by Fr Martin Boland and ably assisted by Fr James Mackay joined together for the Cathedral Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Flying from London to La Coruna, the pilgrims began their epic journey in the town of Sarria in Galicia, northern Spain. The distance to be covered on the French Way (el Camino Frances) was more than 111 kms or nearly 70 miles over a period of six walking days. The route took the pilgrims through truly beautiful Galician countryside with only occasional parts of the way on small roads. All along the way the distance was marked on wayside milestones with the number of kilometres remaining to Santiago.
Blue skies and sub-zero temperatures greeted the pilgrims on the first day from Sarria as the path climbed into the surrounding counrtyside.
Along the way several small chapels were seen though sadly few were open for visiting. Here we see the beautiful 12th century Iglesia de Santa María de Ferreiros with its very well cared for cemetery
As the path climbed the pilgrims were treated to wonderful views of the green and pleasant Galician countryside, seen here near Mercadoiro
The path wound up and down towards the first over-night stop at Portomarin, and at times the fatigue began to show on some of the pilgrims
Here we see Anne, Fr James, Joe & Margaret visibly relieved after arriving at Portomarin
Day Two (Monday 13 February)
Portomarin to Palas de Rei – 15 miles
At Portomarin the pilgrims passed the night at a comfortable hotel. In the evening, before supper, they gathered for Mass followed by evening prayers.
A statue points the way in the town square, while on the right we see some of the pilgrims pausing in the early morning sunshine before setting off on the second day of walking from Portomarin to Palas de Rei, a distance of 15 miles
The well-marked path took the pilgrims past several pilgrimage crosses, where memorial objects are commonly left by the peregrinos. On the right we see a particularly ancient and attractive example with pilgrims struggling on in the distance
Fr Martin and Fr James took turns either to lead from somewhere near the front of the group, or else to trail behind, providing essential moral support for the rear-guard.
Palas de Rei
Here we see evening Mass being celebrated by Fr James and Fr Martin at the hotel in Palas de Rei
And here the pilgrims are at supper showing very little outward sign of the pain and discomfort experienced during the long walk!
Day Three (Tuesday 14 February)
Palas de Rei to Melide – 9 miles
After breakfast and morning prayers the pilgrims gathered at Palas de Rei under threatening grey skies with drizzling rain. Wet-weather gear appeared from bags as they set off again on the relatively short ‘hop’ to Melide, a mere 9 miles.
Nice Hat Mary! … Nice Little Dog Fr James!
The rear-guard are spotted at the half-way point. But there are still 56 kms left before getting to Santiago
Day Four (Wednesday 15 February)
Melide to Arzua – 9 miles
Roisin is captured leading the pack up hill out of Melide. The group are seen here leaving Melide for another apparently easy stretch of about nine miles