James, meet St. James

| Alyssa Bormes | October 13, 2016 | 0 Comments

After writing three columns about the Camino this summer, it seemed excessive to do one more. But who am I kidding? I’ll be writing about this forever!

In an effort to recap the previous articles, the Camino is a 500-mile walking pilgrimage across Spain to Santiago, where the remains of St. James the Greater are housed. My stepsister, Brenda, was my companion. After a few days of walking, I had to stop for some weeks due to a fall that made worse my already inadequate knee. I was able to walk the last 72 miles.

As we neared Santiago, there was an odd thing in the guidebook; it said that many people find arriving in Santiago to be a bit of a letdown. It was such a sad thing to read.

One of the questions that all of us walkers asked each other was, “Why are you walking the Camino?”

At first, it was a surprise as to how few people were there on pilgrimage. Instead, there was a sense of the physical feat, or to somehow find the unknown “something.” What was different for us pilgrims is that we were going to find Someone.

When I was asked why I was walking the Camino, I would reply, “I was called by St. James.” “What do you mean?” The discussion that followed usually boiled down to, “It’s all for Jesus; I would never walk the Camino if not for Jesus.”

When I arrived in Santiago, it was about 7 a.m. The full sun had not yet hit the cathedral, but the light was there. We went to 7:30 a.m. Mass and received the Eucharist. St. James had been calling me to Someone, our Lord. Gratitude flooded my soul.

Later that day, Brenda and I greeted my stepfather — her father, Jim — and three of his grandchildren. Two days after their arrival, it was the feast of St. James. In addition, it was Jim’s birthday. It was amazing to be at Mass together, but then there was that moment — the one unlike the rest.

As a family, we went below the altar to the place where the relics of St. James are kept. On his 84th birthday, James Parson met St. James.

A faithful Catholic man surrounded by two of his 17 children, three of his nearly 40 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, was meeting a man who walked with Jesus, was at the Last Supper, was a witness to the Resurrection, and became an evangelist. James and St. James were each meeting a brother in Christ. What a moment!

Later, I asked Jim, “Do you think this is what your parents had in mind for your 84th birthday on the day you were born?” We all had a little chuckle — of course not, who could imagine this? Yet, Jesus knew, St. James called, and Jim went to Santiago. The Camino was Jim’s pilgrimage, Brenda and I walked it, and his many children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were able to share in the many graces.

St. James, pray for us!

Bormes, a member of Holy Family in St. Louis Park, is the author of the book “The Catechism of Hockey.”

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Category: Everyday Mercies