Sign Up for Our Newsletter!

Sign-Up to receive updated stories from OC Catholic.

EPISODE #203
EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT: THE FIFTH ANNUAL “CAMINO DE SANTIAGO” WITH GUEST DEACON DAN DIESEL

Summertime is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather in southern California. And when you can couple this great weather with a blessed, holy event, it’s a win-win situation!

On Saturday, July 20th, our friends at Santiago de Compostela Catholic Church in Lake Forest are hosting the fifth annual “CAMINO DE SANTIAGO.”

 

What’s this popular event all about? Tune in and find out!

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 7/14/19

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA CHURCH KICKS OFF 40TH ANNIVERSARY

For the fifth year, Santiago de Compostela Church in Lake Forest, prepares to celebrate the Feast Day of its namesake, St. James the Elder. This year the Feast Day will take place on Saturday, July 20, and will kick off a summer that culminates with a 40th anniversary Mass and dinner in September. To honor its namesake, the entire parish comes together to recreate the Camino experience that takes place throughout the entire year at its sister church in Spain, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Last year, 800 pilgrims walked the Camino route in Lake Forest. 

A Camino is a walk from a distant location to a holy place. Those who walk the routes of the Camino are known as “pilgrims.” In Spain there are many routes to get to the church; in Lake Forest there are just two. One of the two Lake Forest routes is seven miles long and is called “St. James Way.” The other route is four miles long and is called “Our Lady of The Pillars Way.” Along the way all pilgrims, each bearing one stone on which they have placed all their burdens and worries, will stop at seven stations along the route. At each station, scriptures are read and tokens are given out as reminders of the readings. With an emphasis on the 40th anniversary, Camino planners selected scripture pertaining to the number 40, which can be found throughout the Bible. The number 40 eluding to change, reflection and growth. 

Interested Catholics can register for the walk at website-sdccatholic.org or call the church office (949) 951-8599 with questions. The cost is $20.00 for adults and $15.00 for children 12 and under. Each registration includes a free T-shirt and reusable bag. The day begins on the grounds of Santiago de Compostela Church at 21682 Lake Forest Drive, Lake Forest. The festivities begin bright and early at 5 a.m. and include getting the “pilgrims” to the beginning of the routes by buses to begin their pilgrimages. Breakfast and lunch are served to all who attend. 

After the pilgrims arrive back at Santiago, many spiritual activities and a full Mass await them. 

The Camino activities officially end at 2 p.m. on the Feast Day. 

All stations along the Camino walk will be staffed with bilingual station managers. Also, the Mini-Camino held on the church premises each year for non-walkers, will also be bilingual. Another new event will be a Kid’s Camino, from 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Children ages 3-10 will learn about St. James, through three craft activities. 

Interested Catholics from all over Orange County are invited to participate in the Camino experience. It’s as close as you can get without having to get on a plane and fly to Spain. 

The parishioners of Santiago would love for you to join them along the way.

52 MILES OF JOURNEY AND PRAYERS FOR IMMIGRANTS

It is the third year in a row that Felipe Tovar, a blind immigrant born in Salamanca, Mexico has joined the 52-mile long “Siempre Adelante”, “Always Forward” walk. 

As his feet grew sore and blistered along the way, his wife Mercedes patiently healed the wounds with gauze and bandages. On Sunday, June 24 they arrived at the Mission Dolores Church in Los Angeles. 

It was the last stop on their route. They were only 2.6 miles away from their final destination: Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral, arriving in time for an annual regional Mass in honor of immigrants. 

The sun had not even appeared when the pilgrims departed on their journey from the Santiago de Compostela Church in Lake Forest at 4:05 am. 

From Trabuco Road to Irvine Boulevard they reached the city of Santa Ana. After 22.4 miles, they rested and stayed overnight in the St. Boniface Catholic Church in Anaheim. 

They had in mind the phrase “Always Forward” of St. Junipero Serra, under the banner in Spanish “Siempre Adelante.” 

Theirs was not a protest walk. It was a long march of prayer for immigration reform. 

“Who lives? Christ!” “To his name, Glory!” “And to his people? Victory!”, pilgrims shouted through the streets. With rosaries in hand, walkers remembered the mysteries of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and the assumption and coronation of the Virgin Mary. 

They embodied the experience of the Old Testament desert. They emulated the experience of exiled Jews in Egypt who for many generations suffered oppression, abuse, and injustice. 

For the fifth consecutive year they walk amid a society that refuses to recognize that our relationship with the compassionate and merciful God has been broken. 

However, Felipe’s mission on the walk to Los Angeles was simple: prostrate before the cross of Christ and kiss the image of the Blessed Virgin in the Los Angeles cathedral. 

He would ask their intercession for a miracle of God: comprehensive and just immigration reform for 11 million undocumented living in the United States. 

“I am a U.S. citizen and I can defend myself,” says Tovar. “But there are millions of our brothers and sisters who are asking for justice and humane treatment.” 

He learned this message from his son Bryan. The 17-year-old boy – born in the United States – was the one who inspired him to be part of the walk. In 2015, Bryan traveled the entire 52 miles. 

The second day of the trip covered 23 miles, from Anaheim to the City of Commerce. It was 5:30 pm on Saturday, June 23 and the group arrived for a Mass at St. Marcellinus Catholic Church. The parish has the images of Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus at the main entrance. 

“Fortunately, these pilgrims walk together,” said Dr. Humberto Ramos, director of parish life at St. Marcellinus. “If we had lived in other times, [the immigration authorities] would have taken baby Jesus from his parents.” 

Now more than ever the drama of those emigrants and their children who had to leave their home and their land to seek a better life in the United States is prevalent. 

Cruel policies, extreme poverty or gang violence in Central American countries have driven thousands to risk everything to seek refuge in a distant country. 

For Felipe, the walk required a superhuman effort. He used his cane to support himself. The reason for that? Seven years ago, he lost his sight. 

He, his wife Mercedes and the group walked the streets of East Los Angeles towards the Dolores Mission Church. 

“With Christ, I can do everything,” Tovar said. “Here I go, struggling, trying to take care of myself and walking in favor of our immigrant brothers.” 

On the third day of the walk, Felipe and the pilgrims were joined by Bishop David O’Connell, from the pastoral region of San Gabriel. 

The day was hot. Almost 95 degrees.  

At the Dolores Mission the group was offered natural and flavored horchata, pineapple, strawberry or chia with lemon, and as breakfast, Mexican appetizers: quesadillas, huaraches, tacos, menudo, and other dishes. 

All just nourished the body because the soul had already been fed during the walk with prayers. 

And they continued their way to Our Lady Queen of Los Angeles in the Olvera Plaza where Archbishop José Gómez of Los Angeles joined the pilgrims. 

At the end of Mass, Rev. Gómez summed up the migration reality of the United States and the inaction and unfulfilled promises of Congress: “No más mañanas” [“No more tomorrows”]. 

Even though there is no simple answer for as divisive a topic as immigration, Tovar does not lose hope. 

“Christ and our Lady can help God work the miracle,” he said. “We can’t give up, because God is the one who moves hearts.”