Stage 23: El Palau d’Anglesola to Verdú

A misty morning, not clearing until 10. For the first time since Brinkola in Stage 2, I felt cold walking in a fleece. But by Bellpuig, the halfway point, the sun was shining and I sought out a shady park bench to eat my lunch.

Being in no hurry, I had several stops in the afternoon, thinking about the disciples making their way to Galilee in Matthew 28, not with Jesus walking beside them, but believing that he had gone ahead of them and would meet them there. “For us, this place can be a slum, a lab, a church, a clinic, an office, a parlor, a classroom. Jesus gives us our mission: go forth, baptize, teach, love and bring God’s compassion as reconciliation for all of humanity. We are invited to fulfil this mission in every moment and circumstance of life.”

For the Jesuit Peter Claver, at whose shrine I am staying tonight, “Galilee” was a port in Colombia where African slaves arrived by ship. “Claver would go below deck in the slaving ships as soon as they docked and provide care for the hungry, frightened and often sickly slaves…”

I spent half an hour praying in the chapel, wanting to be part of God’s mission but doubtful of my competence.

Vera, who looks after the pilgrim shelter, had greeted me at the bar and told me the door code.  Now she came to register me as a pilgrim, stamp my credential, and tell me a bit about her life, growing up in Romania and working with the Jesuits on building up the pilgrim shelter.

While I was in the bar, the TV was showing the overwhelming vote for independence in the Catalan Parliament.  What would this mean?