A MESSAGE TO PILGRIMS ABOUT HOW THE CAMINO IS AFFECTED BY THE ONGOING PANDEMIC
Based on restrictions and recommendations from the Government of Canada and from Canadian and international health authorities, The Canadian Company of Pilgrims advises our members that they should not travel to Spain to walk the Camino, now or in the foreseeable future.
We urge you to pay attention to travel advisories from the Canadian government, and developments in Spain and around the world before making any travel plans.
We invite you to read the following excerpt from our recent newsletter, a message to our members from CCoP President, Lea Pennock, written on her recent return from Spain:
The Camino is still.
We can only imagine, and we do, what that stillness looks and sounds like. No pre-dawn rustling of sleeping bags or midnight squeaking of bunk-bed springs. No tap-tap of pilgrims’ poles along cobbled streets in the early morning. But the cowbells are no doubt still tinkling in the mountain passes, and the baby lambs are bleating in the pastures beside the empty path. Purple camino flowers are blooming exuberantly, uncrushed by pilgrim feet. Maybe the church bells still ring out and startle the storks, which are surely nesting now in a tranquility they haven’t experienced for generations.
Safe at home in Saskatoon, I realize that I’ve been one of the lucky ones, a pilgrim who actually walked a camino, or at least part of one, in 2020. While we were walking, on March 14, the Canadian Company of Pilgrims sent an email to all of our members to tell them that they should not travel to Spain to walk the Camino, now, and in the foreseeable future.
In Spain and on the Camino, overnight, everything changed. The lively streets and squares of Spanish towns were eerily empty. The bars and cafés were closed. Police, and ultimately the army, began to patrol the streets, telling people to get inside and stay there. Along the Camino, albergues began to close.
And so for now the Camino is wrapped in stillness, and will be for some time. But it hasn’t gone away. It will still be there for us when we return, perhaps with a stronger sense of the sacredness of the route and of the earth that we walk on. And perhaps we will be more prepared than any previous generation of pilgrims, since we’ve been given the gift of time to prepare.
Just as the Camino is still there, so is your Association. On behalf of the board and officers of CCoP, I want to acknowledge how disappointing it must be for so many of you that your hopes of walking in 2020 have been dashed, or that you had to scramble to come home early from an adventure that you’d been planning for years. We know that as pilgrims you share our sorrow for and solidarity with the people of Spain, Portugal, and France, including those whose livelihood depends on the Camino de Santiago, and those whose plans for the Holy Year of 2021 are, no doubt, thrown into disarray. We remain in touch with officials at the Cathedral and with Camino-related authorities in Santiago, in Galicia, and in Spain, and we’ll be asking them how we can help. And telling them that we look forward to the time when the world is back on its feet and they can invite us to return.
Lea Pennock, President
Credencials and Badges
The Credencial is available to members of CCoP who are walking, cycling or riding (horseback) the Camino. It is not only your proof that you are a pilgrim, but it allows you entry to the albergues along …
The Camino de Santiago, aka The Way of St. James, refers to the pilgrimage routes to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
A Membership with Canadian Company of Pilgrims (CCoP) is open to anyone who has walked a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, or has an interest in, or curiosity about, such a journey. Membership includes some significant benefits.
Who are the Canadian Company of Pilgrims?
The Canadian Company of Pilgrims (CCoP) is a non-denominational volunteer-run association that supports Canadians interested in the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. We share the Canadian representation with l’Association québécoise des pèlerins et amis du Chemin de Saint-Jacques.
The CCoP provides information and generates awareness and interest in the Camino to Santiago de Compostela through a network of chapters across Canada and its website and Facebook page. Local Chapters provide a forum for the exchange of information about the Camino and also offer practical training and information sessions to the interested and to prospective pilgrims. The Company also issues Credencials (pilgrim passports) which are recognized by the pilgrimage authorities in Santiago.
A Letter of Thanks
Soy el Padre Fran Marcos, párroco de Hontanas (Burgos. España) y dirijo la Casa de Mambré -Casa de Espiritualidad y Acogida- en Hontanas, recientemente inaugurada.
Les quedo eternamente agradecido a ustedes y a la hermana Rebekah Scott por su amable cooperación que han realizado con la entrega de los 5 colchones y fundas anti ácaros para la Casa de Mambré de Espiritualidad y Acogida.
Que Dios les ayude y sostenga en esta labor tan hermosa que están realizando para que el Camino de Santiago recupere todo su significado espiritual y humanitario que siempre fue su seña de identidad a lo largo de su dilatada historia.
Un saludo a toda la Congregación de Peregrinos de Canadá. Aquí tienen su casa para cuando quieran venir a visitarla.
Un saludo fraternal
Padre Fran Marcos
Dear friends. (Google Translate)
I am Father Fran Marcos, parish priest of Hontanas (Burgos, Spain) and I direct the House of Mambré-Spirituality and Welcoming-in Hontanas, recently inaugurated.
I remain eternally grateful to you and to Sister Rebekah Scott for their kind cooperation that you have made with the delivery of the 5 mattresses and anti mite covers for the Mambré House of Spirituality and Welcome.
May God help you and sustain you in this beautiful work that you are doing so that the Camino de Santiago recovers all its spiritual and humanitarian significance that was always its hallmark throughout its long history.
Greetings to the entire Congregation of Pilgrims of Canada. Here they have their house for when they want to come to visit it.
A fraternal greeting
Father Fran Marcos