Agape Ireland hosted two groups on the Camino de Santiago this year. Staff member Chloe Hanan shares the story:
The Camino this year was a much different experience to last year. I spent June in the company of the Galician landscape, firstly with a large group of teenagers, secondly with our college group.
Teenagers. Jeepers. My respect for youth workers has grown exponentially. Cooking for 40 on camp grounds in changeable weather proved to be a challenging week. It was a welcome challenge. Having had a slow start to the year, it was good to be able to meet this challenge physically. The Camino went well for this group, watching the social dynamics evolve from cliquey groups to cohesive unity was fascinating. Their final year of school will be new landscape for many in that group.
The college Camino kicked off on 21 June, starting out in 28° Celsius! The heat was a new challenge, along with the talks in the evening. One of our priorities on our Camino is to provide the opportunity to grasp the gospel in the evenings. We do this through talks and discussions, led by staff.
The experience of the Camino is not quantifiable, but feedback from pilgrims is encouraging. Here are some comments:
« I will never forget the Camino. I will remember it as being one of the best experiences of my years as a student. »
« [The Camino] gave everyone the opportunity to get to know one another on a more personal level and no one judged. It was enlightening to say the least! I would 100% recommend the Camino with Agape for anyone and everyone. »
« I wouldn’t have considered myself very religious before this trip so I was quite hesitant….To come on this trip and meet amazing, genuine people and actually achieve something has been such an eye opening experience. I couldn’t believe how facilitating Agape were, considering I’d never been a part of their group before. »
« I walked with God on this trip, in a more tangible way than I have in a long time, and I saw Him shine day after day in twenty odd hearts and twenty odd smiles. Thank you for what you’ve all done for the people I love. »
« I experienced a lot of peace from being able to share some of my life and difficulties without judgment. On this trip I have questioned a lot of preconceived notions and have revisited a lost faith. The fact that I am even questioning my faith is a massive deal in my life and has been beautifully facilitated by the Agape staff. »
Last Saturday morning, I woke up to the shouts and shrieks of children playing in the park below our apartment. Confused and a little annoyed, I shuffled sleepy-eyed to the window to see what the commotion was about.
Caradonna helped me put into words the process I was experiencing with God. Because we write a message on our bodies, it must be short and impactful. Caradonna helped me find words to convey my experience and encourage others through my message.
"Europe needs more Jesus." - Christian Pichler, speaker at Revive Europe.
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