Tuesday, 2 August 2016

2016 is in full swing!

Chaplaincy in full swing!
Pilgrims after mass with Fr Stephen 

“I haven’t been to Mass since I was a little boy” said the pilgrim. “ When I was about half way along the Camino Frances I was settling down in the albergue in Terradillos de los Templarios with  my friends when a priest came in. He didn’t actually look like a priest but he introduced himself and said there was a Pilgrims’ Mass in the local church . There wasn’t much else to do so we went along. There were people from the USA, France, Spain, the Ukraine, Belgium, Italy and the UK. And me, the Irishman! The priest spoke in English and Spanish and welcomed the French  and Italian in their own languages. After that we all introduced ourselves and said where we came from and where we had started walking. Language didn’t seem to matter and we all understood each other. We also seemed to understand what the priest was saying, talking about peace that begins in our own hearts and if it does it can spread throughout the world. When he invited us to hold hands and say the Our Father in our own language then embrace each other in a sign of peace many people were crying with the beauty of it.
That evening they said that when I got to Santiago there would be a mass in English in the Cathedral. So here I am! Something is bringing me back and back.”

Meeting pilgrims in O Cebreiro
We are now over halfway through the pilgrim season and Santiago is busy. Each year around 12% more pilgrims arrive than the previous year – and 2016 is no exception! What is different is the level of support the Chaplaincy has received from the many priests and pastoral workers who have offered to serve. Already Frs Pat Brophy, Dominic O’Hara and Stephen Pritchard have been ministering in Moratinos and Terrradillos de los Templarios and Fr Ken Lavarone has been developing the Chaplaincy in O Cebreiro in collaboration with the Franciscans there.

In Santiago daily mass has been provided since the beginning of May by Fr Joe Coghlan and he has been assisted by Pastoral Workers, Alan, Robin, John, Annette and Richard. Thanks to all of them and also to Frs Owen and Tony who stand in for Fr Joe when he needs a break.

For those working in the Chaplaincy every day brings something different. Out in Moratinos Fr Pat took to using an electric bike to cycle the route between the villages to meet pilgrims whilst in Cebriero Fr Ken has been walking down the hill to meet the pilgrims coming up!



Fluent Irish speaker Fr Joe
One unique even this year was the arrival of a group of pilgrims from Ireland who had rowed a traditionally built currach named the Naomhoig Na Tinteall the way from Ireland. They did this over two years and they were overjoyed to arrive in Galicia. Fr Joe, the chaplain in Santiago, said a thanksgiving Mass for them in the Irish language and there were enthusiastic celebrations which followed. You can imagine!

We are now preparing for the arrival of more priests and a visit from Bishop Ralph at the end of the month. More news later!




   

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Camino Chaplaincy 2016


Welcome - Camino Chaplaincy 2016
This year Fr Joe Coghlan, the Director of the Camino Chaplaincy returns to Santiago as Chaplain for 6 months. Helping in Santiago and on the Camino Outreach Programme we welcome:
Frs Pat Brophy,  s.m, Dominc O’Hara, Stephen Pritchard, Ken Laverone OFM, John Jhul  OFM Cap, John Larsen s.m, Alan Neville MSC, Gerard Postlethwaite, Tony O’Riordon SJ, Eoin Whooley, Juan Carlos. Chaplaincy Assistants: Alan Pearce,  John Piggott, Robin Piggott, Annette Argall, Richard Mallory, Pauline Rosseau, Morrell Rouseau, Moira Selvage.


Seal of approval
We are delighted to have the blessing and support of Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster and President of the Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales. The Cardinal hopes to visit Santiago with Bishop Ralph to see our work at first hand.
We are also grateful for the enthusiastic support of the Provincial Council of the Franciscan Order and the Bishop of Lugo for the Camino Chaplaincy Outreach programme in O Cebreiro and in Moratinos and Terredillo de los Templarios.         
Bishop Ralph, President of the Chaplaincy with Cardinal Nichols
New season begins

By the end of April the Chaplain Fr Joe Coghlan will arrive and on Monday 2 May 2016 the 4th year of the Camino Chaplaincy begins in Santiago. There will be daily mass in English in the Cathedral at 10.30am in the same place as previous years – the Chapel of Nuestra Señora  de la Soledad.

This year there will also be SUNDAY MASS in English in the Chapel at 9am.

These will continue until 14 October 2016.    

Fr Joe will be available for confessions or simply a chat before and after the morning masses and also in the evening in the Cathedral.

Chaplaincy assistants, who like Fr Joe are also volunteers, will open the Chapel for prayer and reflection at 9am and will be available to welcome and chat with visitors.
Pilgrims arrive in O Cebreiro
Camino Chaplaincy Outreach
This year from June – September the Chaplaincy will also welcome pilgrims in O Cebriero and in Moratinos/ Terradillos de los Templarios. Priests who have volunteered to help the Chaplaincy will spend some of each day on the Camino meeting and greeting pilgrims and in the evening there will be an international Pilgrims’ Mass. Most of the priests speak Spanish as well as English. Everyone is welcome.
We will announce the exact times of services before the programme starts and we will put posters up in local albergues, hostals and restaurants etc.


O Cebreiro – Diocese of Lugo

Church of Saint Peter - Terradillos de los Templarios
The Chaplaincy is delighted to be working in close collaboration with the Franciscan Order who have two priests already in the parish in O Cebreiro. However they are also responsible for 13 other parishes!

Moratinos/Terradillo de los Templarios – Diocese of Palencia

Last year piloted providing our ministry in Moratinos and the neighbouring pueblo of Terradillo de los Templarios.  These villages are situated  half way along the Camino Francés . This year Chaplaincy priests will be there for a longer period and will open the churches to passing pilgrims and provide evening mass.

When the prayers come marching in


Prayer is at the heart of the Camino Chaplaincy. Wherever we are in Santiago or out on the Camino we meet to pray with pilgrims. We also encourage pilgrims to write down their prayer petitions and leave them with us. These are prayed for every day during the season and beyond.

Earlier this year we invited people who will not be going on pilgrimage to email their petitions to us. A considerable number have arrived and every day more petitions join them.  Please circulate this information to your contacts.   

Email your petitions to prayersantiago@gmail.com

Friday, 15 April 2016

Mass in English in the Cathedral of Santiago 2016




Cathedral of Santiago

Mass in English

10.30am
Monday to Saturday

~ Sundays at 9am

In the Chapel of Nuestra Señora de Soledad

From 2 May – 15 October 2016


ALL WELCOME

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Send your prayers to Santiago

Not coming to Santiago this year?


"Pray for one another" James 5:16

Every year hundreds of thousands of pilgrims make their way to Santiago. During their journey they pray about many different things and often they are asked by other people to pray for them on their pilgrimage.  


At the Camino Chaplaincy Mass in the Cathedral of Santiago pilgrims are invited to write down any special prayers or petitions they may have. They do so in considerable amounts and every year over 10,000 such prayers are left by pilgrims. They are prayed for every day from May - October.

If you are not coming to Santiago this year but you would like your prayer intention to be prayed for every day by other pilgrims please send them to us by email. Whatever you write is completely confidential and your email will be deleted when your prayer request is received.


Simply email your prayer request to:

prayersantiago@gmail.com 



    

Monday, 30 November 2015

Priests wanted for 2016


"Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you" Luke 6:38

Opportunity for Priests to put something back into the Camino

Many pilgrims to Santiago offer to volunteer as a way of putting something back into the Camino. They can serve as hospitaleros, volunteers in pilgrim offices or in their local associations. Priests can contribute to the Camino in a unique way by offering a ministry to pilgrims.      

Introduction

The Camino Chaplaincy started in 2013 and for 6 months each year from May – October we provide a place of welcome and reflection for English speaking pilgrims in the Cathedral of Santiago. Daily Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation are provided as well as an opportunity for coffee after Mass. In the evenings a short Service of Reflection is also provided.

In 2015 Fr Joe Coghlan of the Diocese of Cork was appointed Director of Ministry and he served as Chaplain in Santiago for the entire season. Fr Joe will return to Santiago from May - October 2016.

Bishop Ralph Heskett of the Diocese of Hallam in England, who also regularly serves as a Chaplain, is the President of the Camino Chaplaincy.

During 2015 7000 pilgrims  attended services provided by the Chaplaincy however many said that they were disappointed that often Mass was not available on the Camino let alone in English. Many churches in rural Spain are closed due to the shortage of priests and often parish priests have to serve many parishes.

Also a number of priests who have made the pilgrimage have written to us offering to help as a way of putting something back into the Camino. 

Therefore last year we decided to operate a pilot in a community along the Camino where daily Mass was no longer available for pilgrims or the local community. This was very successful. (Read more here). 

Accommodation and finance

Accommodation is provided for priests serving in the Chaplaincy Outreach Programme. Normally priests are expected to cover all other expenses. However we do not want lack of funds to be a barrier to participating in this programme and please let us know if you need assistance.

Placements

The Archbishop of Santiago and local Bishops have been very supportive of the Chaplaincy’s activities and plans. We wish to develop two centres of ministry for 2016 in Moratinos and Sarria. This is dependent on the number of priests who apply and their availability. If because of scheduling we cannot accommodate a priest we will try to find a placement which suits in another location.

Camino Chaplaincy Outreach Programme 2016

We are seeking priests to work with us in two locations initially along the Camino Francés.

Sarria
Sarria is a town 120 kms from Santiago and pilgrims starting there qualify for the Compostela. Because of this 50% of all pilgrims who arrive in Santiago start their Camino in Sarria.
We are very keen to develop a Ministry to English speaking pilgrims in Sarria where we wish to provide a Daily Mass with a Pilgrims’ Blessing for all of those continuing their pilgrimage through the town and for those who are starting out. Five days later these same pilgrims will be welcomed by us in Santiago.
This is a new ministry full of potential and we have been encouraged to explore its development by the Arzobispado in Santiago . It will have the full support of the Bishop of Lugo.

Location – Sarria – accessible from Santiago by train/bus/car.
Accommodation – a self contained apartment in the centre of Sarria will be provided.
Duties – Be available to meet arriving pilgrims. Provide daily evening Mass and confessions in English. To be discussed: whether an early morning Mass for those setting out would be appropriate or indeed whether we should provide an early morning Mass in Sarria and an evening Mass at the end of the first day in Portomarin.   
Language – as in Santiago this ministry is aimed at English speakers however living in Sarria would be all the more enjoyable with conversational Spanish.
Duration of placement – this is a new ministry and would be well served by longer term placements. The ideal would be for one priest to serve for 6 months or two for three months each. However priests with time availability less than this who are keen to work with this new ministry are also very welcome.  

Moratinos/Terradillo de los Templarios

Moratinos is a small, delightful rural community situated on the Meseta in Palencia. It is almost in the middle of the Camino Francés and although it only has around 25 permanent residents it has an hotel, bar restaurant and an albergue. Neighbouring Terradillo de los Templarios  is positively cosmopolitan by comparison with over 500 residents and more albergue beds than Moratinos. Both lie a few kilometres from the main town of Sahagún which is only 2 hours by train from Madrid.  Among the residents of Moratinos live Paddy O’Gara and Rebekah Scott, both former journalists who have dedicated their lives and their home to the care of pilgrims. As part of their property they have a self contained apartment which will be used by chaplains.


Location – Moratinos/Terrajillo de los Templarios.
Accommodation – Self  contained luxury apartment with English speakers living close by.
Duties – Open village church daily to welcome pilgrims. Walk stretches of the Camino to meet pilgrims. Provide daily Mass for pilgrims of many nationalities. Say Sunday mass for the local community.
Language – Ability to say Mass in Castellano and speak conversational Spanish is essential.  
Duration of placement – Two/three weeks is considered to be the optimum.

For further information and to apply please email John Rafferty, Coordinator: caminochaplaincy@gmail.com



Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Camino Chaplaincy 2015 - End of Year Report


 “A HUGE highlight of my last Camino.

“We went to the pilgrim mass yesterday when we arrived, and it was a fantastic and moving experience but without Spanish I could only participate in my head. So to be able to go to the English mass this morning was absolutely lovely. The priest asked us all to introduce ourselves by name, where we were from and where we had walked from, and it was wonderful to hear so many different voices - American, Canadian, Irish, a few of us Brits, Dutch, Mexican - and a guy who lives just across the road   And it was very special indeed to have the Pilgrim Blessing in English. Thanks to everyone involved in organising it.”

“I loved hearing the Pilgrim Blessing, as well as the Scriptures, read in Father Joe's soft Irish accent. He made us feel very welcome and a part of things the entire service. Definitely a highlight of the day.” 

“I stayed in SdC for four days after completing the Caminho portugues last week, and attending the 10:30am English mass became a vital part of my daily routine. I found the liturgy to be reverent and prayerful, and Father Joe and Father Juan Carlos gave thoughtful homilies that spoke directly to our experience as pilgrims. It was a true blessing to be able to take part.”

“I went to the English mass this morning, and it was a real highlight of my Camino. Thank you, Camino chaplaincy, for the vibrant and meaningful service.

These are just some of the comments the Camino Chaplaincy has received during this year.

7000 attend Chaplaincy Services

Last Friday the 16th the last Mass of the Chaplaincy season took place in the “English” Chapel in the Cathedral. The Chaplain Fr Joe presided and he was joined by Fr Juan Carlos and Fr Tony O’Riordon SJ. Fr Juan Carlos lives in Santiago and was the locum priest on Wednesdays to give Fr Joe a day off. Tony is a friend of Joe’s who came out in June to give him a break.

The last Mass was the 140th provided in the Chapel. In addition, during May, June, July and August we provided 86 Evening Services. From our experience over the last two years we now know that the numbers of English speaking pilgrims arriving drops considerably in August hence our decision to stop Evening Services at the end of August.
In total 6,500 people attended our services in the Chapel and approximately 500 attended the Masses provided by Chaplaincy priests in the 5 week outreach pilot.

There were 8 volunteer Chaplaincy Assistants and this number included two married couples. Both couples served for one month each, two volunteers served for three weeks and two for two weeks.    

Bishop Ralph who spent a week with us has agreed to become President of the Camino Chaplaincy and he is currently writing to Cardinal Vincent Nichols the President of the Conference of Bishops of England and Wales and Archbishop Eamon Martin, the Primate of All Ireland regarding the future development of the Chaplaincy.

Sadness and Joy

During the season we were informed about 6 pilgrims who had died on the Camino including the tragic case of Denise Theim. Mass and prayers were offered for all of them. In one case we were able to support the family of a pilgrim who died in Santiago.
The family of another pilgrim who died in Sarria asked for our support when they visited to scatter their Dad’s ashes. Whilst not religious they were very pleased that Mass was offered for their father and the pilgrims present embraced them in solidarity.

It seems between 6 and 10 pilgrims from English speaking countries die on the Camino every year and so we are discussing how best to make them aware of the Chaplaincy and the support we can offer. As well as the country associations we will also make Embassies aware of our services.
We continue to remember those pilgrims who died:
Hugh
Dennis
Richard
Andrea
Denise
Ian

Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them. Amen.


In contrast there was great joy when Jakki and Matthew from California arrived to be married by Fr Joe at the end of their Camino. We had been in correspondence for some months to arrange everything as required by the Church and the law in Spain.

Fellowship

We are very grateful to Sisters Marion and Katherine FCJ of the Camino Companions who with a representative of the Pilgrim House invited those attending mass to go for coffee afterwards. This proved a popular opportunity for pilgrims to share their experiences.
The Pilgrims’ House offers a range of services for pilgrims arriving in Santiago.
The Camino Companions offer a listening service for pilgrims and provide an opportunity for them to share with each other.  

The future – Priests needed!

We are delighted that Fr Joe has agreed to return next year and currently we are in correspondence with a number of other priests who are interested in helping.

An ambition would be to develop a ministry in Sarria where we would offer a Pilgrims Mass and Blessing and an invitation to visit the Chaplaincy 100 kms later in Santiago!
 
Fr Alan outside of the church in Moratinos
We would also like to continue with the ministry in Moratinos and Terradillo de los Templarios and we particularly welcome enquiries from priests who in addition to English can say Mass Spanish for the local pueblo.


Monday, 29 June 2015

May and June 2015...Santiago and beyond

May and June 2015

As June comes to a close the temperature in Spain is soaring. So too are the numbers of pilgrims arriving from the Camino with over 1600 arriving yesterday. The end of June marks the end of the first two months of the Camino Chaplaincy 2015. It is also the end of the first two weeks of the Chaplaincy Outreach project on the meseta.
Robin and John Pigott with the Archbishop of Santiago
In Santiago the ministry is in full flow with Fr Joe Cochlain saying Mass daily, providing the Sacrament of Reconciliation, leading an Evening Service from Monday to Friday and being available to pilgrims for private conversations. In these first two months he has been assisted by Pastoral Workers Annette and Richard from the USA, Alan from Australia and John and Robin also from the USA.

This Ministry to English speaking pilgrims can't be measured simply in numbers. Pilgrims of all nationalities visit the Chapel in the Cathedral where our services are held. Many want to chat, most want to sit and reflect in the prayerful atmosphere. Many go for coffee together after morning Mass. A time of fellowship together. 

In the first two months over 2000 people have attended morning Mass and more than 700 have attended Evening Prayer.

Camino Outreach

Fr Gerard Postlethwaite, Parish Priest of English Martyrs Parish in Somerset, England, is the first of two volunteer priests who are taking part in a pilot project to assess how best we can provide a ministry to pilgrims whilst they are on Camino. Based in Moratinos, a village right in the middle of the Camino Francés, both priests will provide daily Mass and will walk the nearby Camino spending time with the passing pilgrims. Fr Gerard is in Moratinos for three weeks at the moment and in August Fr Alan Neville will take up the reins also for three weeks. Based on their experiences we will assess how best to respond to pilgrims' needs.    

Fr Gerard has been posting on Facebook about his experiences. You can follow him here: 


Here is a selection of his daily postings:

Moratinos

At the still point of the turning world
Moratinos has a population of 22! You might wonder what might happen there. Well I can tell you quite a lot.
When I was waiting for two friends to arrive a group of pilgrims wandered down the street. One of them was a nun in full habit. Later I discovered that they were all Polish and amongst them was a priest called Weldemar who works in the Secretariat of State in the Vatican. 
Later, on the road to Teradillos I met Francesco from Sicily pushing his bike. If I was riding we wouldn't be talking, he said, and that is what the Camino is about. 
At Teradillos I wandered over to the Alberge Templarios and the owner insisted on giving me a bottle of water. She is a real supporter of these masses and makes sure that the Pilgrims know about them.
On the way back I fell into conversation with a lady from Valencia who asked how the local clergy viewed my ministry. Outside the church there was a couple from Germany who spoke excellent Spanish. We were then joined by a couple from South Africa who were on their 51st day having started at Le Puy. I happened to mention Central America and Thomas, the German declared that he had been in Chalatenango El Salvador (my home for 11 years) 
One of the last to arrive at Mass was a young man from Lithuania called Donatus (gift from God). There were eight French at Mass and so many of the introductions were done in French. Three ladies from the Mas if Central shocked me with the news that Mons Henri Brincard was dead. (Readers of my blog santiagoinsandals.blogspot.co.uk will know that Mons Brincard had a profound effect on me in 2013 )
There was a real sense of presence at Mass . Things happen at the heart of the Camino. At the still point of the turning world, there the dance is . There may only be 22 people in Moratinos but there is much more.

Making connections
I was in the Church well before 7.00am and the family from Florida showed up as did another lady from mass . We had a good conversation and then the family headed off . After praying in church the lady asked me again about St John the Baptist (today's feast) and his words: 'I must decrease and he must increase. ' She wrote this down on her credencial. I had also explained to the group that John the Baptist feast comes just after the longest day to mirror these words. She was also fascinated when I explained that the pre - Christian midwinter feast had been of the ' uncreated sun' and we now celebrate the created son of God. 
Before she left she commented that by participating in the celebration of Mass had helped her to make new connections on the Camino. 
Yesterday we had been more than 20.
The German group came through and spent some time singing in the church.

In his own world
The heat just now is criminal-36 at the hottest part of the day. That was precisely why I avoided these months when I was planning my Camino two years ago. 
As I walked over to Teradillos I reflected that, in this heat, an accident can have frightening consequences. Having opened the church I set off for the Albergue. There was only one group outside settling into large beers.I greeted them in English but sensed that they would be happier relaxing over a beer than coming to Mass! Inside Maria Antonia was not around and the barman said that there were very few pilgrims.
I wandered back to the church only to find one man already waiting for Mass . He spoke with an Irish accent but said that he had problems with hearing. Reb arrived saying that there were only three pilgrims in Moratinos. Paddy had also come so it looked as if we would be a foursome. At the introductions the Irish man said that he was called Paul and that he lip reads. I reflected that so much of the joy of the Camino is the interplay with others and Paul would be excluded from much of this. I was just about to start when two girls from Slovakia arrived with a couple from Poland. They were delighted that the mass would be in English. During the first reading another group arrived. It was a father and his three sons from Washington State . In the end it was a lovely group.
When the pilgrims were leaving the father said that it was the most moving mass that he had ever attended. 'This i what it must have been like in the early church'!
Reb is off to Ponferrada today and will not be back until after I have left. It has been good working with her.
Today, by way of a difference, I am concelebrating with Padre Gaspar at the Feast in Teradillos.

Latin verve
I closed the church after about an hour and a half and then headed off for a coffee. Mass in Moratinos had originally been scheduled for 11.30am. Due to the fiesta in Teradillos this had been brought forward half an hour. I knew that chaos would ensue! Even though I rang the bells at 10.30 there was no sign of movement! By 11 there were only Paddy, Reb, Oliver, Milagros, and three others in the church. After I started a few others trickled in.
At the end Modesto was the first to reprimand me for starting early. It meant nothing to him that I pointed out that the time had been changed at the door of the church. 
Reb and I set off to Teradillos only to find the church firmly closed. I went off in search of someone to ring the bells when a man appeared. Within minutes people were emerging from every part of the town and the church was comfortably full when we started. I mentioned my time in Honduras during the Sermon and, at the end, one of the ladies said that her husband is from Honduras. 
Another lady wanted to know why I was standing at the back of the church at the end of Mass! As we were leaving four men came in to lift down the statue of St Peter for tomorrow. 
All in all a very latin Sunday morning, but most effective.

Early on a Sunday
During mass last night the man from the Philippines mentioned that the Camino was helping him to re assess his relationship with the church. 'I feel like a lost sheep' he said. I reflected on this as I wandered down to the church on a beautiful still morning. 
My first visitors were a couple from Austria who had walked from Geneva last year, This time they are walking from Roncesvalles. It is good that people feel comfortable staying in the church for a while. Antonio, the man from Barcelona, cam along and was overjoyed to see me. 'La misa de ayer me impacto mucho' he declared. He disappeared into the church and, when he emerged, there were tears in his eyes.He asked whether he could take my photo, and also told me that he was now carrying the name of the cancer sufferer who had been mentioned at mass. Surely ministry is about touching lives and giving people hope?
Hugh came through later as did a girl from Sweden walking on her own. At one point Esteban from the bar passed by and asked me what time I opened the church. When I said about 6.45am he said that I should still be in bed.
Towards the end of my watch two french ladies came through. They asked, in English, about my mission. A group of youngsters from the US sat down at the door of the church and, one of them, came in for the stamp and poked his head into the church. 
Outside the bar José was brushing up. He asked me about today's masses and the fiesta mass tomorrow in Teradillos.

Small is beautiful
It was stiflingly hot this afternoon and so I decided to forgo t walk to Teradillos. Reb and I drove to the Albergue Templarios where we were told that there were fewer pilgrims. I went over to Jacques de Molay and met an Irish man. When I mentioned the mass his German companion also said that he would come. Back at the church there was a Spanish man from Barcelona who seemed uncertain about joining us . During the introductions one of the men said that he was originally from the Philippines but now lives in the US. He has set up a trust for a dead friend. As I did my translation back into spanish I could see that the man from Barcelona was deeply moved. At the end there was a huge amount of emotion and people could not speak. These masses help the participants to reach into deep places. What a grace at the mid point of the Camino.

Think of what they carry!
Yesterday at Mass I noticed a Dutch lady who came up for a blessing. As she was leaving, she said that she is not very religious, but that these masses are really important. This morning she was one of the first through Moratinos and we had another chat at the church porch. She was walking with the lovely lady from PA who insisted that she have a photo with me. 'You are now part of my Camino, ' she said. The mass in English was perfect she said. It is only then that we can really reflect on the message. 
A little later the couple from Stuttgart came through. Claudia showed me the full credencial. People like this have much to teach us . The man from Brittany also came for a short chat.
Around ten Reb appeared to see whether I wanted relief. I said that I was happy to carry on for a while. As she was going I talked with a South African. One of the two Martins from last nights mass turned up and quietly explained that he was doing the walk for his sixteen year old daughter who died two years ago. When you meet a pilgrim you have no idea what they are carrying. That is why these encounters are so blessed.

Under the Castillian sun
It is satisfying that many of those who go to Mass at Teradillos turn up at Moratinos the following morning! This morning I had ten from last night. I closed the church after about three hours but then, at the bar, met pilgrims from Paris, Colorado, and Ireland. The last had begun at Porto and was doing the route in reverse.
On my way to Teradillos in the scorching sun I met an Italian who was heading to the next village. Outside the church there was a pilgrim from the Ukraine. At the Albergue Templarios I met the Irish who were at lunch yesterday. There was also a German couple who set out from Stuttgart on March 17th. There was also a young Italian priest. Once again the profundity of the introductions was overwhelming.
Back at the bar we met Paul from New Zealand and a Frenchman from Normandy who declared that he had started at Finisterre and was walking to Finisterre.
So many blessings

Here and there
At mass last night I had promised the pilgrims that I would be around the church in Moratinos this morning. In fact ten of them called through. They were still full of last night's mass. Later two delightful Mexican girls came through and asked for my blessing and a photo in that order! I also had a man from the Dominican Republic. 
I handed over to Oliver about ten and headed out with Mel and Bella. We drove through Carrion to Fromista. I never tire of the Church of St Martin. We also visited the parish church where I bumped into the parish priest. 
We wandered back to Vilacazar de Sirga where I had lunched twenty years ago . The templar church is stunning with a fabulous retablo and some alabaster tombs.
Reb and Paddy joined us for lunch, and I was not disappointed.
At Teradillos I wandered over to the Alberge to invite people to mass.We seem to have settled to about twenty. There were two ladies from Singapore and one from Norway as well as five spaniards. The profundity of the introductions where people reflect on why people are walking is quite overwhelming. I had to translate back and to. These bilingual masses are hugely appreciated. I quoted the saying which was in the kitchen at Le Ferme de Bousee: 'Il ni y pas le chemin ver le bonheur. Le bonheur c'est le chemin'
For a new initiative this has been truly rewarding and is clearly meeting a tremendous need.