august 1, 2019 - heading back to barcelona
As we end our pilgrimage there's a sense of peace, tranquility, and humbleness. A sense of accomplishment takes over our spirits. St. Ignatius was a man of service, and faith. And so we are called to continue to serve others with generous hearts.
Extremely thankful to have met Fr. Jose Ibierri his heart and wisdom are beyond words. Will leave Barcelona feeling extremely Blessed.
- Carol Isabel
July 30, 2019 - Manresa
Today the group walked 15.5 miles and arrived at the Pilgrim's Shelter in the Cave of St. Ignatius in Manresa. A beautiful moment was shared in celebration of the final leg of the pilgrimage.
- Tina Porco
July 28, 2019 - Journey to Montserrat
As we began our 19 km walk to Montserrat my first thoughts were fear of the unknown, but fear can mean two things "forget everything and run, or simply face it and rise. "I chose to rise."
- Carol Isabel
July 27, 2019 - Verdu to Cervera
Today we traveled from the quaint town of Verdu, home of St. Peter Claver to the slightly larger town of Cervera. As our walk begins we have the opportunity to contemplate humility. Does my pride get in the way of serving God? Am I humble enough to receive and give to others? I prayed the “Our Father” and asked God for guidance.
- Debbie DiDomizio
July 26, 2019 - St. Peter Claver Shrine
St. Peter Claver was a man of few words, but a man who gave his heart and endless help during his life of service. Today we visited St. Peter Claver Shrine and learned about his relationship with slaves and how he became their friend. Friendship is our word for the day and I am deeply grateful for the friends I have made on the pilgrimage thus far.
- Tina Porco
July 25, 2019 - On the road
Today is day number three, and we are tasked with about 15 miles up and down a mountain. This is our first significant hike, and we are all excited and a bit anxious about the challenges that lie ahead.
I begin my reflection with our lunch break, which is a few hours and a bunch of miles in. We stop in the middle of the woods on an ancient Roman road that once spanned the distance from France to Spain. A comfortable silence descends on the group as we each claim a spot on the stone road to sit and eat our bagged lunches packed by the kind sisters of Maria Jesus. Surrounded by the hushed tones of the towering trees and dappled sunlight, one pilgrim says without warning, “I could never be on “Naked and Afraid”. The group bursts out laughing at the reference to the popular survivor reality television series. Another pilgrim responds, “Perhaps a naked Camino?” And still another suggests, “Or walking naked with St. Ignatius?” And finally our leader quips, “If this is so, we’re going to need a lot more sunscreen.” I think St. Ignatius would approve of such banter. It’s silly, joyful and a means of finding God through connection with others.
After lunch, we were instructed to walk in silence for one hour while contemplating hope. At one point during this time, there was enough space between the person in front of me and behind me that I found myself alone. What struck me was that even though this was technically true, I was not. This thought brought me tremendous comfort. And then I thought, what a powerful truth this is regarding my relationship with God. Even when I think I’m alone, I am not. He is there. Always.
And that’s what, I realized, gives me hope. God has been with me on my journey thus far, is with me now up every hill and through every valley, and will be there waiting for me at the end of the trail with open arms and a smiling heart.
- Maureen Martinez
July 24, 2019 - Azpeitia
The life and story of St. Ignatius Loyola begins in Azpeitia. The family home, constructed in the 14th century, still stands and we were able to wander through the rooms where Ignatius was born and raised.
The Basilica now surrounds the home and marks the start of the pilgrimage. Each pilgrim placed a foot on the stone in celebration of the beginning of our journey.
The group made our way through town to visit the parish where Ignatius was baptized and offered prayers at his baptismal font.
Azpeitia is the site of many important moments in Ignatius’ life, but none more so than his conversion that took place while recovering from injuries suffered in battle in Pamplona. A chapel now marks the room in the family home where Ignatius decided to dedicate his life to God.
Our group celebrated mass together within the St. Ignatius’ Conversion Chapel this evening. We opened the mass asking for forgiveness; like St. Ignatius, we are all sinners and asked for God’s love and guidance. We were reminded that things will not always go our way, but to trust in the will of God. We should strive to follow Ignatius’ lead and do everything for the greater glory of God: if we do, then even in times of doubt, we are on the right path.
- Maura Brennan
July 23, 2019 - barcelona
During the last two days, we’ve enjoyed Barcelona’s culture, food, and beaches while gearing up for our adventure - the Ignatian Pilgrimage. These days felt like being at a Mt. Everest base camp, regrouping after our travel to Barcelona, and refreshing before embarking on our trek through Spain.
Today, most of us spent time fellowshipping and meeting our new friends, fellow pilgrims from Jesuit schools across the country. After lunch, the group boarded a train for a five hour ride to the Basque region where we arrived to a beautiful dinner at the Jesus Maria Religious House. Fr. Iriberri, SJ closed the evening with the prayer below, which captures the anticipation we are all experiencing as the next big phase of our journey awaits.
The pilgrimage thus far has been moving. We’ve been inspired by the life of Ignatius Loyola, the heritage and history in Barcelona, and the people with whom we travel. We look forward to what comes next.
- William "Bill" Magner
A Prayer Before Pilgrimage
You call us, Lord, to leave familiar things and to leave our comfort zone.
May we open our eyes to new experiences, may we open our ears to hear you speaking to us, and may we open our hearts to your love. Grant that this time spent on pilgrimage may help us to see ourselves as we really are and may we strive to become the people you would have us be. Amen.
July 22, 2019 - sagrada familia, barcelona
Today was spent finding our footing as pilgrims. We were escorted to the towering Sagrada Familia, where we were introduced to our leader in this experience, Fr. Iriberri. We spent the morning admiring the creativity and workmanship that’s gone into this nearly finished marvel. We moved on, visiting the streets in Barcelona frequented by Ignatius himself. We viewed the sword that a young Ignatius abandoned, the church steps upon which he sat as a humble beggar, along with several statues and commemorations in his honor. Then, we sat and enjoyed lunch with new friends from Jesuit High Schools across the country. Free time in the afternoon allowed for a number of different excursions, including trips to the Picasso museum, the aquarium, the beach and more. Staring up at a cathedral commissioned in 1882 and still seven years from completion, I am reminded that our trip experience is comprised of small moments over time; countless others have walked this path before, and many more will follow. Today was an outstanding beginning.
- Anthony Palombi