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CARF Foundation

30 June, 23

Life testimonies

An unexpected encounter on the Camino de Santiago

The Camino de Santiago becomes a summer plan for many people. Walking, praying, living an experience and surprises that can only be understood when you have walked.

"I had long wanted to do the Camino de Santiago with Cristina, my wife, when another couple, an expert in hiking, told us that at the end of May they wanted to do the so-called English Way, which goes from Ferrol to Santiago. It is a little more than a hundred kilometers, and they had already planned the route, the lodgings and the help with the luggage, with a company that by cab picks up the suitcases in your hotel and deposits them in the next one.

For my age, recently retired, it was a very interesting option, because I avoided carrying a lot of weight in my backpack, which is a relief when you walk so many kilometers. In addition, if at some point your strength weakens, or you have some impediment that does not let you walk, they can come to pick you up and take you to the next meeting point.

With these premises, we did not hesitate to embark on the adventure, and we booked our plane tickets to A Coruña and back from Santiago to Barcelona, where we live.

The days of the Camino de Santiago were divided into five sections. The first, about 19 kilometers, from El Ferrol to Pontedeume; and the next, another 20 kilometers, to Betanzos. In both towns we were able to participate in the Mass, which is usually celebrated in the afternoon.

In the third stage, things started to get complicated, because from Betanzos to Mesón do Vento was a journey of more than 25 kilometers with a great slope. Arriving at the destination, we had no church where we could attend Mass, so we arranged a cab to take us back to Betanzos to participate in the one celebrated at half past seven, and then return us back to Mesón do Vento. Now somewhat more rested, we were able to have a good dinner and regain strength because, the next day, we also had a long way to walk.

path 2

Already looking forward to the penultimate route, we left the next day to Sigüeiro, another 25 kilometers with its good slopes of ups and downs, but somewhat more bearable than the previous section and with landscapes of eucalyptus forests and fields about to mow.

The truth is that we arrived in Sigüeiro exhausted but happy. Cristina ended up with a sore foot and we decided that the last stretch to Santiago, just 16 kilometers, she would be taken by cab to a kilometer before and there she would join us who were walking the last part of the route. We arranged to meet at the Church of San Cayetano, which is at that distance from the center and which crosses the route of the English Way of St. James.

A little before noon we met at the parish of San Cayetano. It was already closing and the parish priest did not have time to stamp the parish seal on our already well-filled Compostela, but we greeted the Lord and thanked him for all the good Camino we had had. The truth is that it did not rain a single day and the heat, although it was hot, did not prevent us from completing the stages happily.

Right at the door of the parish, two young Kenyan men were leaning against the stone wall, as they told us, and we asked them to take a picture of the whole group. They spoke Spanish and their kind disposition made us engage in a quick conversation.

- Hello, good morning, what do you do?

- We are helping the pastor, since we are seminarians.

- Look, how nice! Well, we collaborate with a foundation that helps the studies of seminarians, which is called CARF Foundation.

- What do you say! Well, we are studying in Bidasoa. So, thank you very much for your help and collaboration.

The joy and surprise was great, and from that moment on, an enormous empathy was generated. Serapion (Serapion Modest Shukuru) and Faustin (Faustin Menas Nyamweru), both from Tanzania, accompanied us on the last stretch.

path 3

Then Serapion told us that he is already in his fourth year and Faustin in his first year. They showed us the Pilgrim's office, where they just put the last seal and certify your Camino, which also certifies the possibility of gaining the plenary indulgence that this pilgrimage implies, as long as the rest of the conditions of the Church are fulfilled.

Once again moved, we bid farewell to both of them, wishing them to be very faithful and to do much good when they arrive in their place of origin to be ordained priests, after their period of formation at the Bidasoa Seminar.

We are left with the wonderful memory of this chance encounter, and of having received the gratitude of these two seminarians who, with the help of all the benefactors of the CARF Foundation, can reach many souls wherever they carry out their ministerial work.

In the afternoon, we were able to participate in the Mass in the cathedral, giving thanks to the apostle and enjoying the swaying of the botafumeiro that raised to heaven with the smell of incense, all our intentions and gratitude for the vocation of Serapion and Faustin".

Fernando de Salas, Sant Cugat del Vallés.

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