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Walking “The Camino” – My Journey Begins

This summer I’m setting out from the familiar El Camino of Santa Clara, Calif. to take a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain. During the last few years more and more people have walked the Camino. Not unlike the Pacific Crest Trail, it’s a terrific hike of a few hundred miles that doesn’t require an explicitly spiritual purpose. In my case, however, the motivation is in fact religious.

The Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain

The Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain

A pilgrimage is an intentional trek to a holy place to seek God's pardon and help, as well as to give thanks for blessings received.

A pilgrimage is an intentional trek to a holy place to seek God's pardon and help, as well as to give thanks for blessings received. The Camino de Santiago was part of a medieval pilgrimage, where people left their homes and walked to what were thought to be the bones of Saint James. In the Catholic imagination, relics were physical signs of God's closeness to us. Most historians now think it’s highly unlikely that the bones of St. James are in this small city in Spain. Nonetheless, I feel solidarity with these pilgrims, who had a deep need for God's mercies. 

My traveling companion is SCU alumnus Quentin Orem ‘11, whom I had the privilege of teaching several years ago in his very first college course. Since then, we have become good friends. Now that he has finished graduate school, he is beginning his own teaching career at the Jesuit high school in Phoenix. For a Jesuit who has no children, Quentin is as close to a son as I have, and I never take for granted the gift of spending time with him.As I go I will hold in prayer the people I have come to know on the other El Camino in Santa Clara. For nearly fifteen years I have worked at Santa Clara as a member of the faculty and administration. During that time, I have been so inspired by the goodness of colleagues, students, and alumni that I know much of my prayer will center around gratitude for our common mission. I look forward to returning in the fall and sharing my experiences.

Quentin Orem ‘11 and Fr. McCarthy

Quentin Orem ‘11 and Fr. McCarthy

As we go, we will do the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius—a series of meditations where you imagine yourself in the presence of Jesus, in many different scenes from his own journey. I am eager, really, to spend this time with Jesus, literally walking with him as my companion and trying to re-commit my life to him. At this stage of my life's journey, that means asking sincerely where he leads me, seeking the grace to be generous, and trusting in God's providence, with confidence that it is better to go where I am led (wherever that may be) than to seek to control my own way. The Camino, I hope, is a way to practice that, so that it becomes more and more of a habit in my life.

As I go I will hold in prayer the people I have come to know on the other El Camino in Santa Clara. For nearly fifteen years I have worked at Santa Clara as a member of the faculty and administration. During that time, I have been so inspired by the goodness of colleagues, students, and alumni that I know much of my prayer will center around gratitude for our common mission. I look forward to returning in the fall and sharing my experiences.

Jesuit
Santa Clara,religion,identity,religion,personal growth,nature,health,environment,Illuminate

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