A Seminarian Reflects: Joseph Cundiff
The holy city of Santiago de Compostela lies near the “end of the world” at Finisterre, and for many pilgrims Santiago is the end of the road, but it is also the beginning of a journey.
My visit to Santiago was my first time and it was brief, but it was not the end of a pilgrimage for me. I did not make a pilgrimage by foot, but had the opportunity to meet and minister to two groups of pilgrims from the U.S.A. We celebrated the Eucharist in a small Roman Catholic church surrounded by a travelling carnival. I was able to get a taste of how steeped in tradition is the city and The Way. I was also able to see the diversity of pilgrims on the Camino on the streets of the storied city as I saw faces of all ages, heard languages from all corners.
The Way of St. James has been a popular pilgrimage since the 9th century, but I was surprised to learn there exists no significant or unified Protestant effort to welcome and host all Christian pilgrims.
When pilgrims arrive in Santiago, they may have a thousand questions on their mind about spirituality and Christianity. A stronger Anglican presence can help provide the spiritual guidance necessary for a full expression of the church universal. Considering how popular the Camino is becoming - some 300,000 pilgrims now walk each year and numbers almost double for Holy Years when St. James’s Day (25 July) falls on a Sunday - an Anglican pilgrim center in the third holiest Christian city seems now more than ever to be needed for all pilgrims - especially Protestants - to be welcomed and for the Word to be witnessed.
Diocese of Long Island