June, 2022

Dear Friends of the Anglican Pilgrim Centre in Santiago de Compostela,

As summer has quickly arrived here in Rhode Island, I want to bring you up to date on the busy winter and spring we have had in furthering our mission with the Episcopal Church in Spain.
 
Thanks to Glenn Wagner of James D. Klote & Associates and our dedicated volunteers, 2021 ended on a high note. We raised, almost entirely by Zoom calls, nearly one million dollars towards the purchase of a building for the Anglican Pilgrim Centre in Santiago. Thank you to everyone who so generously donated.
Even though our Anglican Pilgrim Centre is not yet open, the need for it is as great as ever. To give you a sense of the number of pilgrims on the Camino in this Holy Year, in the past month over 44,000 pilgrims arrived in Santiago, bringing the total to a record-breaking 110,000 so far this year. Just last Friday more than 2,700 received their Compostela in a single day. The number of pilgrims who want to reflect on their completed pilgrimages, share their experiences and ask faith-related questions is also growing. The Rt. Rev. Carlos Lopez Lozano, Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Spain, and a team of clergy and volunteers, have been caring for pilgrims on various Camino routes wherever and whenever they were able for many years. This year, however, the ministry has taken a significant step to respond to this growing need.

Last fall, the Rev. Anna C. Noon, a priest of the Episcopal Church, walked 800 km of the Camino Frances from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago de Compostela and on to Finisterra and Muxia. During her walk, Mother Anna discerned a call to minister to pilgrims along the Camino and in Santiago. After discussions with Bishop Carlos and with the approval of the Friends’ Board of Directors, Mother Anna has taken a leap of faith and moved to Santiago de Compostela. She began her ministry on Easter Day as Pilgrim Missioner, an answer to our prayers. 

Mother Anna’s full-time, year-round duties compliment and advance the vision and mission of the Anglican Pilgrim Centre. Along with greeting and caring for pilgrims on the Camino and in Santiago, she works directly with Bishop Carlos to develop the Anglican pilgrim support network throughout Spain and Portugal, to coordinate pilgrim blessings and visits to the cathedrals in Madrid and Lisbon, and to arrange for clergy and church groups to celebrate and worship together at St. Susana in Santiago. 

She has already welcomed many individual pilgrims finishing their Camino and given them the opportunity to discuss and process their experience. She has also provided worship for pilgrim groups from the Scottish Episcopal Diocese of Edinburgh, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, in Greensboro, NC, as well as pilgrims from the Diocese of Colorado led by Canon Greg Foraker, a member of the Friends’ board. More groups from Christ Church, Charlotte, NC, Bethesda by the Sea, Palm Beach, FL, St. Martin in the Fields, Columbia, SC, and Christ Church, Greenwich, CT, are coming, and she is preparing for their arrivals.

As I write, Mother Anna is walking the Camino from Sarria to Santiago, engaging pilgrims, meeting with clergy and ministers located along the route, and networking with albergues and hostels to spread the word about her ministry and the Anglican presence blossoming in Santiago. While walking into Ribadiso, she fell into step with a clergy pilgrim she discovered earlier – the Rev. Richard Morgan, Rector of Good Samaritan Paoli, PA, one of our five Camino Scholarship recipients. What wonderful beginnings to a new ministry!

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