Tuesday, 17 September 2013

An invitation

When I was planning this pilgrimage I knew that it was important to choose a special day to start. Since Le Puy en Velay is a Marian shrine 15th August was an obvious day. I remember the man who stamped my creencial in the cathedral saying that it was an appropriate day. Now that it is realistic to think about arriving I need to think about the appropriate day. Since the week beginning the 13th October is the obvious time there were 3 choices. 13th October is the Feast of St Edward the Confessor who has links with Ampleforth and is the patron of the schools where I have worked for the last six years. This time last year I was preparing for the wonderful mass in Tewkesbury Abbey with the special aspect of celebrating on the medieval high altar. 15th October is the feast of St Theresa of Avila and the mystical tradition is a theme of this pilgrimage. 18th October is the feast of St Luke. This is the evangelist who gave us the Emmaus story., the Parables and the three great canticles- the Benedictus, the Magnificat, and the Nunc Dimittis. The birth of Jesus is witnessed by humble Shepherds just as the legend of Santiago began with a shepherd. But, above all, Luke reveals Jesus as a pilgrim. He becomes the paradigm of how we should live. Then it was obvious. 18th October is the day to arrive at Santiago. It is a Friday so if you can get a flight with Ryanair and come and greet a tearful pilgrim as he kneels before the Portico de la Gloria. I know that there will be tears-whether of sadness or joy it does not matter. Tears are cathartic. So if you can, come and join me before I set off on 21st for Finisterre

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