When I began preparing to walk the Camino de Santiago this spring, I expected a mob scene, especially from the USA. How could American Catholics not turn out in record numbers after seeing "The Way," the Emilio Estevez film about the Camino? Well, they haven't. This traditional Catholic pilgrimage has become a hotspot of European cultural tourism—and a terrible missed opportunity for American Catholics. Half the people I have met, though they may say they're not religious, are practically begging to be evangelized. Where are you, Catholic guys and gals?
I have been walking the Camino with my daughter Marian for nearly three weeks now and am posting about it every day. I have some thoughts about why US Catholics are so poorly represented. (I've met more Korean Catholics than American ones, and more Aussies than Yanks.) And I have some personal experiences that demonstrate what a fertile field this Compostela ("field of stars") can be.
We must not care enough. I mean, about evangelizing. About witnessing openly to our Catholic faith on a 1,000-year-old pilgrimage route that, let's face it, would not exist but for Jesus Christ and his apostle James. Anyone who walks this Camino—atheist, Buddhist, Catholic, deist, Hindu, Jew, Muslim, New Ager, or Taoist (in alphabetical order, of course)—cannot escape a simple fact, no matter what their attitude to the Church or to Christ: They wouldn't be here if not for Him. They might be walking across England, or trekking the Himalayas, but they wouldn't be here.
He's got much more and I highly recommend you go back and read his posts about his trek thus far and that you take the next step in following him as he completes his trek on The Way.
I've seen the movie myself and loved it so much, I decided to see it again. I don't usually do that.
It's simply outstanding and it touches something deep within me, something I can't quite express or even understand fully.
The New York Times reviewed the film last year and it's a piece worthy of your time.
God willing, I will walk The Way one day.