We did our final preparations today and had a day to revisit St Jean Pied de Port with many memories coming back to us.

Today’s pictures can be viewed here. Today’s prayer intentions: For those who have lost a loved one to death in this last year. That the presence of Jesus would comfort them in their grief and loneliness and for the Holy Spirit to bring peace and joy. (We prayed for you by name but don’t want to infringe on your privacy).

We started the day with some beautiful views of the morning clouds, a walk through St Jean, a visit to the Pilgrim office to collect our shells and passport to begin the walking tomorrow. (First stamps and we are officially Pilgrims!)

Our first stamp in the passport makes us officially Pilgrims ❤️

After that we found a spot for our traditional Camino breakfast; cafe con leche and chocolate pastry 😊

The spiritual part of our day was at the church where we first had our Pilgrims mass and blessing in 2016. We were told this year the priest schedule did not have a Friday night mass. So we found some time for adoration and prayers for our intentions of the day.

The Pilgrim office told us there would be a regular mass at a nearby parish church about 20 minutes outside of town. We walked there only to find out the Pilgrim office had bad information; the church was open to visit but no mass.

But this is where we see the leading of the Holy Spirit in this journey.

The church is beautiful and sits among nearby vineyards with grapes all around. We thought of the grapes which would become the wine used in the mass…which would be consecrated into the precious blood of Christ.

But the really providential part of this day was that our intention chosen from our list was for those who had lost loved ones to death in this last year. Particularly for a friend who’s father just passed away yesterday. And for a dear friend and parishioner who’s husband died in the last year. And another who told me how lonely he is since his wife died. This parish we visited was surrounded by graves. A marvelous sign of “momento mori’ – remember your death.

As Lisa and I sat on the steps we prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary for these dear friends.

* the agony of the garden. For Jesus to be present to them in their prayer as they offer up their grief and mourning.

* the scourging at the pillar. For them to allow their suffering to be united to Jesus in His own suffering.

* the crowning with thorns. That their suffering, mourning, loneliness, or loss be crowned with joy as Jesus redeemed all suffering through His love.

* the carrying of the cross. That they would bear up their cross knowing that it is Jesus who walks with them and bears them up under His yoke.

* the crucifixion. That they would now make their lives a gift to others as Christ made His suffering and death the way to salvation. That their suffering or loneliness be transformed by the Holy Spirit to be a consolation to others.

My friends, know that Jesus is always present to us in the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary intercedes for us before His throne. You are not alone. We all walk together on the way to heaven. We may have to climb some difficult mountains and bear our cross…but His love and grace will give us the strength and peace needed for the journey.

Buen Camino ❤️

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