Camino de Santiago - page 2
Table of Contents:
A Pilgrim's Progress: Fr. Stephen Sanchez, OCD, on the Camino de Santiago – 2018 - page 2
We left Larrasoaña at 8:30 - Deacon Ron left earlier. Our goal was to get to Cizur Menor, just past Pamplona. I say 'just past' but after a few kms any amount of distance is a challenge.
It was going to be about a 20 mile walk. Some difficult areas. Sunny and hot. I would think about Job sitting under the broom bush looking for respite from the heat. As the day wore on the more and more I began to appreciate any little shade on the Way or any little breeze.
I began to actually think about and consider 'what' we were walking on. Loose dirt vs packed dirt vs asphalt vs cement vs small gravel vs large gravel, etc.
About 5 miles from Pamplona just past Villava for about 5 miles the there is a cement pavement all along the river Arre.
You have to keep looking for the yellow arrow to stay on the path - usually very well marked out but in one or two places it was not easy to figure out so we asked and people were very gracious to help us.
We passed a couple of swimming pools that were like sirens calling to us.
We walked-on grateful for the beauty, the trees, the occasional space of shade. But there is always a cross to bear. Walking on cement is very unforgiving.
We finally made it to Puente de la Magdalena and were met with a pilgrim's cross. We stopped for a minute to give thanks and went on through an edge of a public park to the Puerta Frances which is the entrance into old Pamplona - or the Pamplona that is within the ancient city walls.
The original city was Irruña but the Romans took it and renamed it after the General Pompeii.
The city was VERY different this time around! Quiet, peaceful, and friendly. Population around 200k, during the Festival of San Fermin (running of the bulls) over 1M.
Deacon Peter and I had a 'pinchon', snack, of tortilla (frittata) of potato, serrano ham, and eggs. I splurged and had a most glorious glass of Coca-Cola, with ice!
We were served by a very gracious gentleman. I imagined a 20-something Jesus - except for the multiple earrings, dread-locks, and tattoos - tall, slender, big brown doe eyes, a wide and ready smile.
We stopped at a pharmacy right around the corner and bought some pain-relief ointment for our poor and aching knees - as soon as we bought it they closed for the afternoon. Guardian Angel's taking care of us again.
We went through the city, past the University of Navarra, and on and up to Cizur Menor.
We settled-in, showered, went to 7:30pm mass at the church of Sts. Emeterio and Celedonio - Roman Soldier martyrs - a beautiful stained glass window of the martyrs is behind the altar, with statues of Our Lady and of St. Joseph in niches to the left and right respectively.
Mass was celebrated by a very gracious priest from El Salvador. I asked about a statue of the Virgen - he said 'in this region', even though each village/town has it's own patroness - the Patroness is Our Lady of Montserrat.
We had a 'pilgrim's meal' - meal from a set menu with servings price - went to the albergue and crawled into bed - after anointing our knees and taking our Advil, Tylenol, etc. combination.
Come Lord Jesus!
We got up early to get on the way - our plan was a day that would be a little over 20kms to Puenta la Reina.
Deacon Peter and I began Morning Prayer out in the patio and about 5 minutes into the Divine Office we were shooed out of the albergue because it was time for the cleaning crew to come in. It was 8:30 am - so we commended ourselves to Our Lord, Our Lady, and St. James and left.
We had a small breakfast of coffee and toast at local tavern while some Basque kittens played at the door. They didn't mew - I was curious as to what a Basque kitten would sound like.
We caught up with Deacon Ron in Uterga. We went through Muruzábal and at Obanos we found a beautiful Church of St. John the Baptist, a 'new' church only 1 hundred years old.
After a very pleasant chat with the keeper we moved off trail to visit the 12th century Church of Sta. María de Eunate – one of three octagonal churches in Spain. We were very surprised but very grateful that the Blessed Sacrament was reserved here. The history is a bit fuzzy but that adds to the mystery. It was a cemetery for a confraternity or religious order. Eu Nate is Basque for Good Door - St. Mary Gate of Heaven? Eunate is also a reference to the number 100 - if you count all the arches there are 100.
We spent some time before the Blessed Sacrament presenting our intentions - my intention is for an increase of vocations to our province (friars, nuns, ocds), and for the spiritual wellbeing of my directees.
We filled our water bottles and continued on to Puente la Reina.
Wherever we ran across a cemetary we would pray for the dead. I've also noticed several memorials along The Way to those who have died walking The Way.
We made it to Puente la Reina and our albergue (named Jaque) was right at the entrance to the town. We went to two churches - the Church of the Crucifix that has an interesting Y-shaped Crucifix and a statue of O.L. of Montserrat. There is also a modern Pieta that I found captivating in the manner that Our Lady was shown in her grief.
The priest who built up the church right before the Spanish Civil war has his cause before the Holy See - he died a martyr's death.
This church also had a very large stork's nest in its bell-tower.
We then went to mass at the church of Santiago and recieved a blessing for pilgrims. BEAUTIFUL retablo and statues. O.L. of Mt. Carmel, O.L. of the Rosary, a very large statue of St. Bartholomew as well as a very famous statue of St. James that is called 'the black' because the statue was black when rediscovered.
It was a difficult night. The A.C. was not working and we slept in a small stuffy room. We soldiered through the night.