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People walk the Camino de Santiago for many different reasons: religious, adventurous, spiritual, for the outdoors or simply to check this off their bucket-list. It is often used to help navigate a transition in their life as one moves from one significant time in their life to another. We believe adolescence is an ideal transition as our young people move from childhood to being young adults.  We have chosen amazing adults to accompany them on this journey. Bobby McKinsey is a Class Mentor who has been with the Class of 2020 since they were in 5th grade. He and his wife are leading this trip along with Bob McKinney, former Clerk of the session. Josh Richard has been on the sailing trip and Cuba mission trips with our youth but also traveld to Bududah and El Salvador with adult mission trips as Director of Communications for MPPC. I will also join this team.

The Camino can mean very different things to different people but there is one thing that binds all Camino pilgrims together: it is a very unique experience, a pilgrimage like no other.

As you discern your call to take this pilgrimage, we want to share 10 great reasons to walk the Camino de Santiago:

  1. Simplicity

The Camino takes us back to basics to enjoy some of the most simple pleasures in life, like walking. Savoring every step of the journey, not just the destination.  We will explore a philosophy of being in the world instead of doing and consuming life. As pilgrims before, this is a philosphy that our young people will take home to apply to all aspects of their life after they finish their Camino.

  1. Community

We do not move through this world alone. We meet people along the journey that shape our lives, encourage us and move us in ways that we will take with us forever. Our traveling companions and those we meet along the way will form a community for us but we will also have a larger community. We will walk with pilgrims who have walked this path before. We will also walk for others each day.

  1. Culture and History

Along the Camino, you will pass cities, towns and villages of all sizes, with stunning churches, monuments and other cultural and historic landmarks. The Camino trail has been used by pilgrims for centuries so the route itself has a long history and tradition. We will walk together but along the way we will stop for coffee breaks in these rural towns. We will not be far from each other, gathering for coffee or a brief break before moving to our final destination.

We will be traveling through the woodlands of Galicia from Sarria to Santiago. If you can walk, you can do the Camino. We will be walking from 8-15 miles a day. We will go over footwear and socks as we get closer. After our group forms, we will have several trial hikes together.

The Camino de Santiago takes walkers across many different landscapes, all beautiful and unique. The path is clearly marked and locals will often come and greet walkers, offering hospitality. Churches are scattered across the path and offer worship services at the beginning, middle and end of the pilgrimage.

  1. Brush up your Language Skills

This is a great way for those taking Spanish to immerse themselves in the culture and use the language. It is not necessary but helpful. It is not just spanish but also with fellow walkers you will meet along the way. You will encounter many different nationalities and, of course, languages: French, German, Italian, Spanish, Basque, Galician. It is a reminder that we are part of a global community.

5. Fabulous Food

We will enjoy traditional dishes and amazing food. We will be staying in hotels along the way and eating dinner every night together in restaurants. Breakfast will be in our hotel and we will have snacks along our travels. We will pay for lunch on our own, stopping to buy a sandwich at a café.

  1. Wake Up

A Pilgrimage is an awakening. As Christ lives in us, we realize we do not need to search for God, we often need to stop running from God. We need to wake up and be attentive to the God who is always present.  Waking up often involves waking up and taking responsibility for ones life and love.

  1. Explore our Faith

This year we are exploring faith practices. Pilgrimage is one of the oldest faith practices. It is an invitation to know God and to be known by God. St. Augustine said that we are restless until we find our rest in God. Along the path, we will learn quickly the things, devices and technology that we use to distract ourselves day to day. We will not be able to occupy our time or thoughts with the usual distractions. We will find our rest in God alone.

  1. Test your Limits

Walking between 7 to 15 miles a day without interruption is not a usual activity in anyone’s daily life. The pilgrimage to Santiago is an unforgettable trip, but also a vital experience that puts us to the test, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Many pilgrims discover a new meaning for the words perseverance and positive values that we can then transfer to our daily life. We will prepare with 3 Saturday/Sunday hikes in town and 4 Sunday School classes.

  1. Daily Meditation

Each moment is a prayer. As you begin each day, you begin with intention acknowledging that we respond to each action of ours responds to the God who created us. It is a practice of faith that weaves throughout through our daily routine. It will become part of the daily life of our young people as they return.

  1. All Roads Lead to Santiago

It is believed that James, a disciple of Jesus spread the gospel throughout Spain and is buried in Santiago. We will take one of the routes he took to share the good news of Christ. In the end, we will reach Santiago together.  We will receive a certificate of completion, the compestelo, connecting us with pilgrims who have walked this sacred path.

Please prayerfully consider this pilgrimage as part of the summer plans for your young person. June 21-July 1, 2019. The cost is $3400 and a deposit and commitment is due November 1. Register here.