With the recent heat, it’s been challenging training for the Camino, the walking pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. I’ve gotten good hiking shoes, and have been “hiking” very early most mornings in preparation. One advantage is that I get to say a full 15 decade rosary each day. Pilgrimage is a retreat that challenges the body and soul. As such, it brings blessing for the pilgrim, and for those for whom it is offered. I will be offering this pilgrimage for your intentions, if you would like to let me know of a particular intention—please give/send me a note, or send me an e-mail [FrQuinlan@diobpt.org].
When we baptize, we usually use a scallop shell to pour the Holy Water. That shell symbolizes the “pilgrim on the way to the heavenly kingdom” which one becomes at baptism. The scallop shell symbolism comes from Compostela.
The scallop shell is found on the shores in Galicia and pilgrims would attach one to their clothes to show that they had made pilgrimage. There’s another reason the shell became associated with St. James/Santiago.
Saint James’s disciples brought his body to the Iberian Peninsula to be enshrined in what is now Santiago [which is how “St. James” is said in Spanish/Galician].
Off the coast of Spain a heavy storm caused the body to be lost to the ocean. After prayer and supplication, the body washed ashore undamaged, covered in scallop shells. The shell is also a metaphor: the grooves in the shell coming together at a single point, represent the routes pilgrims travel, all arriving at the tomb of St. James.
Please continue to keep me in your prayers, and ask St. James to help me on my pilgrim way.