Mel's Healing Pilgrimage 2016

Links to the Camino de Santiago pilgrimages are on the navigation links to the right of the web page.

Monday, August 21, 2023

End of Camino of Shalom

I did not know what to expect from this Camino for myself. There was one expectation from the very beginning. I decided to return for this sixth Camino because my first one confirmed to me that I had a call to a vocation of ministry. This Camino began one month after graduation from seminary and one day after ordination to the diaconate. By January, I will be ordained a priest. It seemed so appropriate that during these six months while I serve as a deacon, a minister who serves those out in the community, I would be on the Camino walking beside other pilgrims.

One of the things I found most surprising was that people's tone or conversation shifted slightly when they learned you were ordained. I don't know if it's intentional, but most people reacted in ways unique to their own personal histories. Some shared more, some grew reserved, and some stopped using swear words. My mentors in this process had told me that life would be different after ordination, but I did not expect it to happen while I was still on Camino.

But the people, oh the people. So many deeply moving stories and thoughts were shared, both within the group and outside the group. Each personal experience is divine and unique and they grace us when pilgrims share them with each other. So though the arc of this Camino may resemble that of prior Caminos, the people we meet on the way shape the journey. I am the type to think "we were meant to meet this day, this moment." 

Will there be a seventh Camino? I don't know yet. I truly thought I might be done after five. If anything, I am somewhat drawn to the possibility of walking on the Le Puy / Chemin de Saint Jacques in France. But much will depend on where my ministry takes me. I just hope and expect that pilgrimage will be a part of wherever I am sent.