Celebrating Saint James Day

The Apostle James, the reason for the Camino pilgrimage, is celebrated throughout the world on July 25th, his designated saint’s day.  In Santiago de Compostela, Saint James is honored in a spectacular way on July 24th, with fireworks and a multimedia show in the Praza do Obradoiro. Below are some photos of this year’s show, courtesy of Robert Anderson, pilgrim from South Africa.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Check out this mesmerizing video:

Robert and Darren Combrink are currently walking to Finisterre to complete their epic Camino and fundraiser for Walking For Life.  Bravo guys! Buen Camino!

Meanwhile, closer to home

All over America, pilgrims celebrate St. James Day in different ways. Bay Area pilgrims started on Saturday, July 21st with an urban Camino in San Francisco. The 12-mile trek began near Ocean Beach and continued through the Sunset neighborhood on Santiago Street, up to Mt. Davidson (SF’s highest peak), through the Mission district to St. James church for a mass and pilgrim blessing. We ended the day with tapas, paella, and sangria at at Spanish restaurant. Here’s the video created with MapMyHike and Relive Apps:

For those who missed it, you can follow our footsteps and do this walk any time. And this coming weekend is when he church is actually celebrating Saint James Day!
July 28, noon – 3 pm meditation stations.
July 29, 10:30 mass, followed by BBQ.  Here’s a snapshot of the bulletin announcement.

Saint James Catholic Church is located at: Guerrero St & 23rd St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Feast of Saint James Day Potluck & Blessing

On Wednesday, July 25th, our NorCal APOC chapter hosted a Feast of St. James Potluck at Corpus Christi church in Piedmont, with a presentation about Saint James and a blessing for departing pilgrims. I wanted to have a special event in the East Bay, and my parish was the perfect place to have it. The church is located on Saint James Drive, after all!

Double click on photos below to see larger version and read captions.

Message from American Pilgrims on the Camino

Below you will find a message from the APOC Board of Directors:

Happy St. James’ Feast Day!

As you may know, today is the Feast of St. James’ Day, a very special day celebrated all over Spain. Throughout Galicia in particular, there are parades, special foods and meals, and commemorative Masses and ceremonies in the beautiful churches along the Way. And in Santiago, the pilgrim community, which is normally characterized by genuine joy, is even more jubilant!

We at American Pilgrims on the Camino have been supporting the improvement and rebuilding of Camino facilities and infrastructure for many years, by awarding grants to Spanish, French, and Portuguese organizations; this year alone, we made $30,000 in grants to projects along the Camino! The American Pilgrims grant program is a tangible demonstration of our mission of fostering the enduring tradition of the Camino and has helped to support the ever-increasing number of pilgrims that travel the different routes to Santiago. This program is solely possible through member support.

We invite you to join American Pilgrims on the Camino and become part of these lovely contributions to the Camino community. By joining today you will always remember your “anniversary date of belonging” is July 25, the Feast of St. James’ Day. You can start enjoying the benefits and pride of belonging right away.

To join, simply visit http://www.americanpilgrims.org/join-renew.

¡Buen Camino!


On a previous St. James Day post, I shared an overview of how the festival is celebrated in Santiago and a Tarta de Santiago recipe.

13627171_10105532995025423_1674422263543695398_nPilgrims, How do you celebrate St. James Day?

The Walk of a Lifetime

I’m sharing a great article about the joy of walking the Camino, from the perspective of a former Navy SEAL (United States Navy’s SEa, Air and Land Teams.) As Bob Brooks says,  “The walk itself kicked my ass. I thought I was in good shape but it was kind of an ego crusher. It was a real humbling experience.”  Yep. This is why I highly recommend training for the Camino as much as you can.  Like the Nave SEALs motto,  ‎The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday, the Camino can be challenging, but Bob shares how rewarding it can be and how the Camino provides.

Continue reading

St. James Day + Tarta de Santiago Recipe

Today is July 25th, St. James Day, and that means it’s time for the largest festival in Santiago de Compostela. Below is an overview from CaminoWays of how the festival is celebrated in Santiago. I’ve also included an easy recipe for Galicia’s favorite dessert, Tarta de Santiago, a delicious cake made with almond flour. Continue reading

In the news: Local man to make 620-mile pilgrimage

This article caught my eye today. Reblogged from source, Hi-Desert Star.

Local man to make 620-mile pilgrimage

Bruce Guthrie, of Morongo Valley, graduates magna cum laude from California State University at San Bernardino.

Bruce Guthrie, of Morongo Valley, graduates magna cum laude from California State University at San Bernardino.

By Leah Sanson Hi-Desert Star

MORONGO VALLEY — Bruce Guthrie started his higher education at College of the Desert in 1971, a few years after he graduated high school, but then he started a job, got married and didn’t finish his education, until now.

This June, the Morongo Valley man graduated magna cum laude from California State University, San Bernardino with a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies and minor in environmental studies. He retired from the post office in 2009 and said finishing his degree was something that has always been on his mind.

With his degree achieved, his adventure is just beginning.

Guthrie spent time in Spain in 2015 when he volunteered two weeks in the pilgrim office in Santiago in the northwest part of the country. He plans to return this fall, when he will walk the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain. He will cover more than 620 miles from St. Jean Pied de Port in the French Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela before going on to the coast at Finisterre and Muxia.

Read more: Local man to make 620-mile pilgrimage

Pot and the Camino – More alike than you thought

I’m sharing a guest post by Diana Valle, a Camino friend that I see at NorCal pilgrim events. This article was published in the December issue of APOC’s La Concha Newsletter, but unfortunately the continuation wasn’t included. Here is the full article, complete with a handy Weed vs. Way comparison chart at the end.  Enjoy!

Continue reading

Nine Principles For Life and Business From Oprah

Sharing a great article written by my former supervisor at Inktomi. Steve distills Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday wisdom into nine principles to live by. Thank you Steve and Heather for sharing! This explains a lot of why I am following my heart on this journey.

Oprah and Heather

“Your true work on earth is your offering. It’s the way you express yourself in service to the world.” — Oprah Winfrey

Last week, Intuit Corporation staged a big event for thousands of small businesses in San Jose called “Intuit QuickBooks Connect.” Several weeks earlier, the Intuit team had locked down Oprah Winfrey as the main speaker. I know this because my wife, Heather McLellan, runs corporate communications for the Small Business Group at Intuit. That’s her on the left in the picture above.

Now, lest you think booking Oprah is merely a matter of throwing gobs of cash in her direction, reconsider your perspective. Because when you have an estimated net worth of $3.2 billion, that tactic may not motivate you.

Speaking personally, when you’re worth that kind of money, were raised in abject poverty in an abusive household, embody the definition of self reliance, AND are a positive force, then…

View original post 1,412 more words

Friday Faves: Camino de Santiago: A pilgrim’s progress | Nat Geo Traveller (UK)

A short stint on Camino de Santiago — one of the world’s greatest pilgrimage routes — brings its own rewards. But you have to learn to tackle it at your own pace to truly appreciate the stories, the characters and the cultural immersion along the way.

By Pól Ó Conghaile. Published on 20th November 2014

Continue reading

La Concha Newsletter

APOC Membership Has its Privileges

When I realized that I would be embarking on the Camino journey, I decided to join the American Pilgrims on the Camino (APOC) organization.  They sent me a welcome letter with a logo patch that is just waiting for me to decide which backpack it will adorn. (I was testing backpacks but I finally found the right backpack for me.)

  APOC-WelcomeAPOC Patch

I  received my first La Concha newsletter and was happy to see an article that I wrote was published in the September issue under NorCal Chapter News on page 13.  It was based on the blog post, A Heavenly Day at Angel Island, about a fantastic gathering and hike on July 11, 2015 in San Francisco.  Click here, or the image below to open the 26-page newsletter PDF. Continue reading