To celebrate the bicentenary of Don Bosco’s birth, we set off from Limerick in Philip Jones’ bus on a two-day journey, the Camino Bosco, from Camp to Dingle via Annascaul amid the beautiful Kerry landscape. Not knowing what was in front of us, we did know that together we would get through it and help each other along the way.
Walking from Camp to Annascaul, we learnt to appreciate God’s beauty all around us. It was like a little bit of Heaven right here on earth, with stunning views and the sun shining down on us all along the way. There was a real sense of energy and celebration throughout the group. That evening with tired bodies and some blistered feet, we gratefully rested and enjoyed a lovely dinner in The Old Anchor Inn, our B&B for the night. During the Eucharist offered by Fr Lukasz, we reflected upon our day and on our own reasons for the journey.
On our second day from Annascaul to Dingle, it was much more challenging. Many of us found it tough going, but we struggled through together, getting energy and support from each other. As we saw our destination of Dingle in the distance, we all felt relieved, grateful and blessed to have been able to complete this Camino when so many other people had not been able to do it.
As we arrived in Dingle, there was a break in the clouds and out came the sun to welcome us, like it was all meant to be that way. We visited St James’ Church on the Main Street where in times past many pilgrims from the Munster region prayed before departing for the Spanish Camino.
We were well ready for a bite to eat in the Dingle Pub before we headed on to St Mary’s Church for a moment of quiet prayer and reflection on our own Camino and to give thanks for the rich assortment of experiences, emotional and spiritual, which we had received. This Camino made us all realise that it is the little things in life, which you appreciate the most, such as dry socks, warm food, a comfy bed, good company and chat. Everything else is not important and you can always get through it with a little help from above and from your friends around you.
While it might have rained in all other parts of the country, Don Bosco was right beside us every step of the way, keeping us safe and holding an umbrella over us on our journey. Our stamped Log Books and Certificates of Completion helped give us a sense of being ‘real Camino pilgrims’.
I think that I can safely speak for everybody in the group and say that this was a weekend which we shall never forget for all the right reasons and that we look forward to our next Camino together.
A Reflection on returning home after Camino Bosco
(Pilgrim Hostel, Ligonde, Galicia, Spain)
It has been told that, in the tenth century, there lived a man who spent his life going on pilgrimages. He walked thousands of leagues until, finally in his old age, his legs told him “Enough!” and he retired to a monastery hidden in the mountains to get a well-deserved rest. The old man, though he never sought it, earned the reputation of being one of the wisest men, if not the wisest man in the world. As a result, many pilgrims from far and wide began to come to him in search of counsel.
It is said that one day a young pilgrim arrived at that monastery. Despite his youth, he had completed the majority of the known pilgrimages. He approached the older man and asked him, ‘Master, what must I do to become a true pilgrim?’ The weathered man looked him in the eye and felt compassion for him.
‘Son, if you truly want to be an authentic pilgrim, return home to your family, to your neighbours, friends and enemies and listen to them. Serve them, forgive them and love them. In that way, you will become a true pilgrim.’