Archbishop Jason Gordon


The Camino: Building Bridges

The Camino: Building Bridges



This morning leaving Puente la Reina I saw this image of the old medieval bridge lit by the rising sun, and it hit me - this is what the Camino is like. It creates connections between seemingly opposites, it captures the light and reflects beauty making it more glorious.

Every day a couple hundred people begin the Camino. They come from all walks of life, all ages, nationalities, beliefs and educational backgrounds. Somehow these people all find a way to relate and be helpful to each other and walk the way of St. James. 

There are young people who mix and hang out with old; people of different nationalities create communities and bond together. Why is it that on pilgrimage we can come together with one common purpose? Why is it that in the real world we seem to create gulfs rather than build bridges?

One thing I believe is that the identity of pilgrimage is such a powerful experience that it blurs all other identities as secondary. Those who began at St. Jean Pied du Port together have run into each other countless times. We now recognize each other and know the names of many. We are pilgrims, we live in Albergue's where we share dorms, bathrooms, dining rooms and we walk together. Five days into the Camino and we recognize and look out for each other. 


The Camino asks a question about the quality of community we build in church. Is this your experience of your parish? Or for that matter your family? So often we create divides between black and white, rich and poor, young and old, educated and uneducated. We see the external of each parishioner rather than the essential identity of discipleship. If we saw others as disciples first and then saw all other identities as secondary, it may help us to build intentional communities of equals. 

St. Paul, in Gal 3:28 says, In Christ Jesus there is no Greek, no Gentile, no man, no woman, no free, no slave.  Many believe this was a Baptismal formula. It was a primary identity for people entering into the community of Jesus. The early Christians, like the community of the Camino lived as a real community of equals sharing what they had to assist each other. We have lost this experience of community, not just in our churches, but also in our families, our villages and our communities.

What is interesting is that people, who have grown up with all these divisions in their lives, when they come to the Camino, learn to build bridges between all the divisions. 


If we want to make the inner pilgrimage let us commit to build bridges and see each other as disciples first and as such brothers and sisters created with incredible dignity specially loved by God. Let us be intentional in our families and parishes to build real communities of equals.




+Bishop J

Location (Map)

31100 Puente la Reina, Navarra, Spain
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