It is with deep sadness that I share the sad news that Wolfgang, my pilgrim friend who walked the Camino after he was given six months to live, passed away on Friday night.
His friend Kurt sent me an email early Saturday morning:
my friend Wolfgang has reached his “fin de Camino” and died in the arms of his wife Bärbel last night…
Kurt wanted me to share this photo of him and Wolfgang:
Taken on May 21, 2012, the morning we started walking together on the Camino… less than a year ago.
R.I.P dear pilgrim Wolfgang.
Coincidence or Synchronicity?
On Saturday morning Mr F and I joined a group from the Southern California Chapter of the American Friends of the Camino on a hike which started at Santiago de Compostela Catholic Church in Lake Forest (about sixty miles south of Los Angeles) and ended at Mission San Juan Capistrano twelve miles away.
Some background info on the Camino:
The Camino de Santiago (“The Way of Saint James,”) follows a thousand-year pilgrimage route west across northern Spain to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela where “it is thought” the remains of Jesus’s Apostle Saint James (Santiago) are buried.
A hermit who followed a star (stela) shining on a particular spot in an open field (Compo) found what was believed to be the coffin of St. James buried there, and a shrine was built on the site.
In 1189 Pope Alexander III made Santiago the patron saint of Spain, and declared Santiago de Compostela a Holy City (together with Rome and Jerusalem), which meant anyone undertaking a pilgrimage to Santiago would be pardoned from their sins.
Thus Pilgrimages (from the Latin ‘pereger‘ for “one who traverses a region”) to Santiago de Compostela became very popular in the Middle Ages.
Granite crosses were placed along the many pathways to guide the way.
Hundreds of years later stones inlaid with scallop shells, and the yellow arrow marked the route.
We can thank Don Elias Sampedro (1929-1989) a parish priest living along the Camino for thinking of marking the route with the yellow arrows.
The parish church in Southern California was named after the Spanish shrine in 1979. I didn’t photograph inside the church out of respect because there was a funeral service while we were there. Another coincidence?
The first Galician Granite Pilgrimage Cross in the United States, which stands outside the Californian church in the center of the fountain, was a gift from the mother church in Spain.
I walked for Wolfgang.