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Thanksgiving ceremony held for Camino de Santiago walkers

Thanksgiving ceremony held for Camino de Santiago walkers

On Wednesday, April 5, in Keikandō, the chapel on Machida Campus, a ceremony was held to give thanks for the successful completion of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain.

Led by Professor Kazuma Momoi, 11 students left Japan on February 22 and traveled to Burgos, the last point reached by the group that had gone to Spain one year earlier. Starting there, they walked for roughly one month, surpassing their goal, the town of Santiago de Compostela, and continuing westward until they reached Cape Finisterre, on the Atlantic Ocean, on March 26.

Along the way they experienced a variety of challenges and difficulties, but everybody in the group returned to Japan on March 31 without incident.

Makoto Haneda, the general manager of J. F. Oberlin University’s Center for Christianity, opened the ceremony by telling the students, “Welcome home. Whenever I thought about all of you walking the pilgrim route, I felt closer to Spain than ever before, and I reflected on the ties which have connected Spain and Japan since the time of Francisco de Xavier and Tsunenaga Hasekura. I’m sure that your experiences there will form a foundation to support you for the rest of your lives.”

University President Takayasu Mitani then addressed the students, saying, “I prayed for your safe return throughout your pilgrimage, and now that you’re back, I thank God that my prayers were answered.”

He continued, “Eleven students plus Professor Momoi makes twelve, the same as the number of Jesus’ disciples, and the forty days of your journey mirror the forty days’ rain in the story of Noah and the Ark as well as many other instances in the Bible where the number forty carries special significance. You had a wide variety of experiences during your pilgrimage, and I hope each one of you will treasure those experiences all your life.”

For more about the JFOU students’ pilgrimage to Spain, please see their Facebook page or contact the Center for Christianity at 042-797-2683.