Friday, July 26, 2013

The Way of Saint James - El Camino de Santiago

Click to enlarge.  Map by CAS-MCD
El Camino de Santiago aka The Way of St. James aka The Way wrapped up with the Feast of Saint James on July 25th.  The most famous of the routes of The Way is over 500 miles (~800 kilometers long). Nearly 200,000 religious and secular people from around the world are estimated to have traveled on the pilgrimage for hope, faith, healing, development, and many more reasons.

The pilgrimage is centered upon Santiago de Compostela, a city in northwestern Spain where tradition holds the body of Saint James, apostle of Jesus Christ, is buried.  Saint James traveled to Spain to spread Christianity before returning to Judah where he was martyred.  His Spanish followers are said to have taken his body back to Spain.

View Camino de Santiago - The Way of St. James in a larger map

The Emilio Estevez/Martin Sheen movie The Way is probably the best introduction to the pilgrimage.  However, there are plenty of books and movies, both secular and religious, which document the pilgrimage itself day by day and the over all experience.

One of the most common threads shared about The Way is the social experience.  Many people meet up and form bonds which help define the trip.  The below movie does a good job of showing the progression of The Way while also keeping the important human element in a central place.

There is also a documentary on one person's spiritual journey, spiritual development being another major theme of The Way travel media, while doing the walk.

To be fair, however, travel writer Francis Tapon warns that much of the pilgrimage is on paved surface and near traffic. [Note: bad language and historic inaccuracy in the article]


Unknown said...

Er, you know that the feast was cancelled yesterday due to the train tragedy, right?

Catholicgauze said...

The festival and even the high mass were cancelled in the city. However, the feast is celebrated in the universal Church around the world. I marked it in my home town with a special adoration service.