Friday, May 13, 2016

Mi Compostela

I went to the Pilgrim's 0ffice this morning to get my first Compostela certifying the completion of my pilgrimage walk. At the start of your walk, you get a proper Credencial. Along the way, you get sellos or stamps from churches, alburgues, pensiones or bars. In the past, I'd done that much but never gone to the Pilgrim's Office. It has a reputation for long lines and a hostile attitude. But it was raining today. More importantly, friends had told me that because Pope Francis has declared 2016 a Year of Mercy, I could have all my sins forgiven by obtaining a Compostela. Normally that only happens on the caminos in a Holy Year, when St. James Day, July 25, falls on a Sunday (not until 2021). After standing in line for 45 minutes, my moment of truth arrived. I was told that next time I should get more sellos from churches rather than only bars. I put aside my junkyard dog riposte ("I got a sello from every church that was open" [a painful issue on the Primitivo]), and nodded docilely. So now I have a Compostela. Unfortunately, later research tells me that has zilch to do with having my sins forgiven. Which seems only fair; this was all too easy. The historical and contemporary theological intricacies of pilgrimage indulgences is beyond the scope of this blog, however interesting. I also haven't told any of my friends that their compostelas are fine for framing but nothing else. (Although I hope I run into my Norwegian systems engineer tomorrow -- he'll be interested, and probably already knows more than I do about all this, being Catholic.). After my expedition to the Pilgrim's Office, I went to the noon Pilgrims' Mass. It's always an inspiration. Really. No snarky asides. Unfortunately, the incense in the botafumeiro sputtered today, so my picture of it is much more bland than in 2014.