Blog 3: Arriving in Barcelona
After spending the last few days with the Disciples of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Madrid, I was able to experience first hand what the Auxillary Bishop of Denver, James Conley likes to say, “if you want to make God laugh, just tell him your plans.”
…To fill you in completely on this story, I’ll need to start from the beginning.
A few weeks prior to our group leaving for Spain (the OBS-Archdiocese of Denver-& Gallop, NM crew), I met Father Alvaro who is a DHJM Disciple and Parish priest at Saint Mary’s Parish in Littleton, CO. It was here that I made my first connection with the Disciples who originally were founded in Spain and have communities in Madrid, Quenca, Cordoba, and Rome, Italy. Father Alvaro would be leaving to lead a group of Parishioners to World Youth Day where we had made plans to meet up. However, do to telephone problems, and World Youth Day organizers anticipating one million instead of two million attendees at the Pope’s Vigil, therefore closing the doors even to people who had passes (our group included) we could not meet up.
Through God’s grace and my slightest bit of animosity and loathing of all things NewYork Yankees (JUST KIDDING SETH & JOSEPH!!!), I decided to see how someone wearing a Yankees cap would respond to “Good game last night Jeter…” It was through meeting Rafa (the Yankee fan/baseball cap wearer) who was a student studying with the Disciples of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, that I was able to find their group and meet priests like Father Jaime, Father O’Conner and Father Juan Antonio. All of these priests were able to help me tremendously with support and encouragement, but it was through Father Juan Antonio that I was able to find some of the most direction and re-direction for my trip.
This generating connections experience taught me at least a few things and provided quite a fragrance to the ending of one trip and starting of another (thanks Narly Neely for that word choice). One of which became quite clear—that baseball still hasn’t really caught on with the Spanish (Rafa didn’t really know what the heck I was talking about),and two, you can randomly find a religious community amongst the two million plus people awaiting the Pope’s arrival on the streets of Madrid. God gives us direction that points, bumps, and scoots us back on the right track to have the opportunity to do His will.
Father Juan Antonio, DHJM spoke on the importance of prayer and discernment, trust and growth within a pilgrimage. It was through our discussions that I was able to discern the importance of the Camino to Santiago as a Catholic Pilgrimage. The power of its history and the history of souls that have passed along; it helped me to change my plans the night before everyone else from my group would be leaving back to the USA. The OBS mission in Spain was originally planned to continue via a solo pilgrimage on bike around the coast of Spain, the new plan being to still go solo, but on foot along the Camino de Santiago.(P.S. If anyone needs a bike in Madrid the next two months let me know)
Fragrance of the day: By coming to Barcelona, I was able to meet Nathan, pick up my new backpack and hangout out with some of the Neo Catechumens along the way.