Walking the Camino de Santiago for vocations
By Kevin Ward
This summer, I have an incredible opportunity to do a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. James. The Camino de Santiago in Spain is a pilgrimage that Christians have walked for hundreds of years. With many starting points all around Spain, France and Portugal, pilgrims walk for several days across the countryside to reach the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, where the remains of St. James the Greater, one of Jesus’ original twelve apostles, is buried. Pretty exciting right?
A pilgrimage is something I had wanted to do before entering seminary and discerning the call to the priesthood. Unfortunately, this was right in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, which left international travel in a bit of a standstill.
With that plan out of the question, I instead applied for and began the process of seminary formation. Having just finished my two years of philosophy studies, I’ll be receiving candidacy and preparing for theology studies next year. Candidacy is a key step in seminary formation, where the church publicly acknowledges a man as worthy of receiving formation and potentially being ordained a priest.
God is generous, though, and hadn’t forgotten about my desires before entering seminary. This summer I received permission to do a pilgrimage, thanks to Father Kyle Ingels, and I left June 12 to walk the Camino! I’m joined by Vincent Staverosky, who is entering his first year of formation this fall.
Turns out God’s timing is a lot better than mine. While I had wanted to walk the Camino before entering seminary as a form of discernment for myself, the Lord had a better idea. As I get ready for this summer, I am convicted that this pilgrimage can’t be just about myself but is something that should be offered for our diocese in a special way.
Since the diocesan Office of Vocations has been generous enough to let me have this opportunity, I will be offering prayers every day for vocations to the priesthood in our diocese. The church needs young men who are brave enough to consider the call to priesthood, and I want to play my part in praying for them. Every day I’ll be praying very specifically for the young men in each of our parishes, and probably offering up a lot of knee pain for them.
Please pray for me in my own seminary formation, as well as the other twelve seminarians in formation and the five young men applying. I can’t wait to share more with you after this trip! If you have any specific names or prayer requests let me know at email@example.com.
(Kevin Ward is a seminarian for the Diocese of Colorado Springs.)