Today was perhaps my most interesting day thus far on my walk. The irony is, it was also the shortest walk…only 10 miles. Like a good movie, that walk had several plots to the story. I started in Portugal (Vila Praia de Ancora) and walked the first 4-5 miles along the coast line. That led me inland a bit where I walked down long meadow pastures with my only interaction being with a herd of goats! It’s the dichotomy of walking alone…it’s a bit frightening, bundled with the joys of discovering new things. The world is so busy and we are so tethered to our electronics, that rarely can one find the solitude to think. I am thankful this walk has delivered on that front so far.
Eventually I reached the River Mina, which divides Portugal from Spain, and took the 2 km ferry across before walking into A Guarda. A treasure trove of visual experiences today, including finally running into a batch of other pilgrims for the first time (all waiting on the ferry).
I dedicated my prayer time today to our extended family of friends at Holy Name of Jesus church back home. Catherine and I first attended HNJ for Christmas Mass 2007. It was suggested we try this church by our former priest in Orlando, a “newbie” named Fr. Jeremiah Payne. He said “you must try HNJ because one of my best friends from seminary is there…his name is Fr. Tony Welle”. Isn’t it fate that not only did we find HNJ and Fr. Tony as awesome, but that we hit the lotto jackpot for a couple years as Fr. Jeremiah was there as well before moving on to St. Joseph’s. Catherine and I renewed our faith walk by attending the men & women’s CRHP retreats. They were life changing events and I truly don’t know where my faith walk would be now without that experience.
A year later I was part of a formation team that established the current men’s small discipleship groups that meet weekly. I have met so many impressive men through this ministry and have bonded very closely with the 8 other men in my group. I have also had the blessing of bringing the Eucharist to the sick and home bound through the MTS ministry. Today I thanked the Lord for HNJ, our friends there, my ministries and for the opportunity to walk with him today. I prayed for you friends!
I love how the Europeans utilize their public squares as places to gather, eat & socialize.