Skip to main content



5. To Larrasoana - With Alfred November 2, 2011 Alfred walks across the floor with the poise of a dancer, a gymnast to his trampoline. At the end of the first day of the Camino we share the same small cubicle, along with two others, in Roncesvalles. He’s Brighton born but grew up in Scotland which he claims as his native place. He was to become my first companion on the Camino. We had just been to Mass in the monastery chapel where I participated as a member of the congregation with the other pilgrims. Before holy communion one of the celebrating priests announced that communion is only for Catholics but that others could come for a blessing. My immediate reaction was to ask myself what it must be like for a non-catholic to be told this. I got my answer from Alfred back in our cubicle where he was pacing. When I asked “how are you?” he blurted out his hurt and anger at the exclusion he had just experienced which he saw as an exercise of power on the part of the Church.
Recent posts

33. MUXIA & GOING HOME - I Can't Forget

December 3, 2011  Had a great sleep. After breakfast I headed to the bus station for the trip to Muxia, half hoping that Becky & Mark might turn up. Their plan is to go to Finistera and maybe connect with Brend...but what do you know they turn up for the bus to Muxia becasue the other trip would be too long. They assure me that they would not invade my solitude but I'm really glad to be with them, not wanting too much solitude after the emotion and excitement of yesterday. We had a beautiful day together and Muxia did not disappoint - the church on the edge of the sea, the waves. Wonderful.  When I got back there was a note on my door from Aelfred who had hoped to see me before he moved on. "I can't or shan't forget those early days of the Camino and our time of walking..." he wrote. It was memorable for me too. December 4, 2011 Santiago Cathedral 8.45 a.m. "Even as you Father are in me and I am in you, so let them be in us


December 2, 2011 Got up at 4.00 a.m.while all others were sleeping, had coffee and chocolate from the machine and set out on the final leg of the journey. The reason for leaving so early was to give myself a head start in the hope of reaching Santiago Cathedral for the pilgrim Mass at noon. The others would follow and catch up. The first few hours were mainly through woodland and darkness. The occasional clearing in the woods, the parting of the clouds revealed the magnificent starry sky before dawn but otherwise it rained heavily and the going was tough enough with the handicap of my limping foot. The guiding yellow arrows were hard to see and I had to pause often and gaze intently before catching sight of the right direction. Travelling like that alone through the dark woods was a unique experience. There's more than a Small Measure of Peace in a haunting kind of way. Mark gave me his headlight, without which the early part of the journey would have been impossible. I look

31. To Arzua & Arca - ONLY 20K TO GO!

November 30, 2011 6.00 a.m. Alone in the kitchen of the albergue in Palas and it's raining heavily. As it was in the beginning! Have a long time of silence before moving on. Federico the young Italian comes in. He doesn't speak. Mark, Becky pray with me for my foot. They do this spontaneously from time to time and on one occasion Mark bent down to touch and bless my foot. I really appreciate this. Before leaving we have breakfast in the nearby restaurant. We meet a couple from Sweden who have to return home and cannot complete the Camino this time. That has to be very hard. I couldn't bear the idea of not being able to finish at this stage. And yet, if that were to happen it would be the real Camino - giving up when you don't want to! I've met a few people along the way who had to abandon their own plan and I think of Christine who had to return home because her mother is ill. 2.15 p.m. A restaurant in Melide. My foot is in uproar! Progress is very slow

30. PALAS DE REI - Blessed Are The Eyes That See What You See

November 29, 2011 "I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8) My foot is getting worse but at times at least I'm able to outsing the pain and in spite of it I feel an overwhelming happiness! Today my refrain is Walk A Mile In My Shoes - it motivates, keeps me going. This morning Yesouk said she was meeting the "old" Spanish guy Jose to go with him by taxi. He's probably the same age as me and I said to her that he would not be flattered to be referred to as "old". With that Mark called out to me saying "you are the young Irish priest!". Later someone commented on how I get up so early in the mornings. It gives the impression that I'm a morning person but I had to confess that this is not usually the case and that I need time and silence in the morning before I get going. Mark said he's the same and I said it&

29. O CHILD OF PROMISE COME - Sarria to Portomarin

November 28, 2011  I slept badly because the dorm was too hot and the snoring too loud. Some extraordinary sounds! They are somewhat blocked out by putting on my earphones and listening to music from my phone. Hallelujah by Michael W Smith always succeeds in both uplifting and soothing my spirit. It's 5.00 a.m. and I'm downstairs in the reception area where I will disturb no one. The first birds are singing. Though my foot is in a lot of pain I feel in me the freshness that I had at 17, the excitement of a new community. Also the power of solitude and the importance of loving without a clinging attachment. Nothing so far has become clear about the question of going to work with Ceili community but the daydreams I have are of Shankill and I suspect that this is where God is leading me. Back upstairs I quietly drag my belongings out of the dorm and into the shower room. Getting my bag to close is proving difficult and the tall,  young Korean lady says &q

28. BRING HIM HOME - Silence Has Deepened

November 27, 2011 Sarria  "...we basically remain without shelter, under way and open until the final encounter, with all the humble blessedness and painful pleasure of this openness" (Fr. Alfred Delp SJ) Yesterday was spent alone and it had an extraordinary level of silence, beginning with another beautiful dawn and the sun shone the whole day as I walked through mountains, valleys and small farming villages. Alone, except for breakfast in a little village with Brend. As far back as Logrono I had said I would be with him for his birthday but with the pain in my foot I knew I wouldn't make it as far as Samos where he was headed. So I invited him for breakfast as a birthday treat. It was lovely but it had a certain loneliness in it because it was like we were saying goodbye. He looked directly at me and said in a wistful way "will you not come with me to Samos?" and I wished to God I could but knew I wouldn't be able for that distance. Maybe if