Tomorrow, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, a friend of ours, Father Al Rose, is saying mass at the Cathedral in Baltimore and giving me the blessing for a pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela.
C: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R: Who made heaven and earth.
C: The Lord be with you.
R: And with your spirit.
C: Let us pray .
O Lord whose word makes all things holy, bless we beseech you this emblem, this backpack, and these staffs to be used on this pilgrimage. May he who carries them arrive safely at the shrine of St. James the Apostle, the objective of his journey. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, shoulder this backpack which will help you during your pilgrimage. May the fatigue of carrying it be expiation for your sins, so that when you have been forgiven you may reach the shrine of St. James full of courage, and when your pilgrimage is over, return home full of joy. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Presenting the staff
Receive this staff as support for the journey so that you are able to arrive safely at Saint James’ feet.
Presenting the shell
Receive this shell as a sign of your pilgrimage. With God’s grace may you behave as a true pilgrim throughout your entire journey. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Blessing the Pilgrim
“O God, You who took up your servant Abraham from the city of Ur of the Chaldeans, watching over him in all his wanderings,
You who were the guide of the Hebrew people in the desert, we ask that You deign to take care of this your servant who, for love of your name, makes a pilgrimage to Compostela.
Be a companion for him along the path,
a guide at crossroads,
strength in his weariness,
defence before dangers,
shelter on the way,
shade against the heat,
light in the darkness,
a comforter in his discouragement,
and firmness in his intention,
in order that, through your guidance, he might arrive unscathed at the end of his journey and, enriched with graces and virtues, he might return safely to his home, filled with salutary and lasting joy.
We ask this through Jesus Christ Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
May the Lord always guide your steps and be your inseparable companion throughout your journey.
C: May the Virgin Mary grant you her maternal protection, defend you in all dangers of soul and body, and may you arrive safely at the end of your pilgrimage under her mantle.
C: May St. Raphael the Archangel accompany you throughout your journey as he accompanied Tobias and ward off every contrary or troublesome incident.
C: And may almighty God bless you, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
R: Thanks be to God.
Like millions before me, I will walk 500 miles from St.-Jean-Pied-de- Porte into the West, into the setting sun, into death and what lies beyond death. Even before St, James preached the Gospel in Spain, people walked this Way, hoping that the death and rebirth of the sun was a sign that somehow we too would die and be reborn in a different world.
St. James preached that there was indeed a way through death to a new and eternal life, and that way was the One who said, “I am the Way – Yo soy el Camino.”
And at the end is Santiago, the city of St. James, the city of the Field of Stars, Compostela. And at the entrance to the Cathedral the pilgrims are welcomed not by the Last Judgment, but by what lies beyond the Judgment, by the Portal of Glory, Christ in Glory, surrounded by the Elders who have cast down their golden crowns before Him, the Lamb who has taken away the sins of the world , who has wiped the tears from every eye, and by St. James, the pilgrim who has walked beside every pilgrim on that road, whether they knew it or not, St. James whom they now embrace, almost always with tears, but now tears, not of sorrow, but of what? Joy – why do we cry for joy? – but we do, for in this world love and sorrow are forever joined, the Lamb forever bears His wounds as a sign of His love, as too our sorrow and grief are transfigured but not forgotten.