“Buen Camino”

“Buen Camino” is a greeting that means the right path or a good journey, and it is shared by pilgrims throughout Spain.

You may have noticed a short simple concrete pillar with blue and yellow tiles depicting a seashell and an arrow that was recently placed near our church entrance. (See image below) This is a replica of similar markers common in northwest Spain, and they provide information to thousands of pilgrims who are traveling the Camino de Santiago, (Way of St. James). The arrow on our replica points to the east in the direction of the great Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela, the tomb of our patron, St. James. The distance from our Church to the Cathedral is noted in kilometers. A quick conversion would show that to equal 4,272 miles.

The Camino is a Christian pilgrimage dating back to the Dark Ages, and it attracts many thousands of the devout annually. There are several variation of the traditional pilgrimage route. The most popular is known as the French path and it starts in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain. To be officially recognized as completing the Camino, a pilgrim must walk at least the last 100 km. (62 miles), but many hike much further. A Camino passport is carried by each pilgrim and it is stamped in the churches and the towns along the way as proof of the journey. A final certificate is granted after the passport is verified.

Last summer Fr. Toby, Fr. Tom Fangman, and Fr. John Norman led a group of 30 Catholics from the Omaha area on the Camino. Nancy and Mark Franco from our parish were among those pilgrims. This marker is a gift to St. James church and a memory of that wonderful trip.