Esther, our other bagless traveler, told me that a resolution for her Camino was to detach herself, at least psychologically, from “stuff.” And before even getting on the Camino, she got powerfully detached from what she thought she needed. She’s been smiling the whole time, as in Mother Teresa’s “Give what He takes and take what He gives, with a big smile.”
And what do we really need on our Way through Life? Love and friendship, for starters, and there’s lots of that out here. We began our pilgrimage with Mass at Oviedo Cathedral, which is what I’ve always thought cathedrals should be: not just the bishop’s chair, but a community of priests gathered around him. And so I found it in Oviedo: the wonderful sacristan Ignacio opened the church for us a bit early so we could pray, smiling and blessing us. Fr. Amadio set up myself and a visiting priest from Gdansk (Fr. Peter, who slept in a park the previous night as he got in too late for one of the hostels). The photo here shows the cathedral chapter, or community of priests, gathered around the vesting table in the sacristy just before Mass. One got the feeling of a real family of priests bound by common prayer and service to God. It was a happy rectory, and a group of healthy priests, and a blessed beginning to our pilgrimage.