Give us this day, your weekly Sunday sermon from your outgoing and going out Eucharistic Minister (no, really, I am).
And as part of my long farewell, though not quite the 40 days between Christ’s Resurrection and his Assumption.
I give you five holy holidays:
I’m James too
Buen Camino, Camino passport stamps and the La Queimada (the Galicia Halloween festival complete with fiery alcohol cauldron.
Peregrinos, that’s pilgrims to you and me, blisters and blisteringly good pulpo (octopus) and Chianti.
And the red-cloaked clerics swinging the botafumiero, the ornate and heavy incense holder, at the Pilgrims’ Mass in St James’s Cathedral.
Or Giacomo in Italian
Stranded in a one-horse town at night and Rosso Rum has left la citta, a bus from nowhere, lost again ten minutes into my Via Francigena.
The 100km pilgrimage from Viterbo to Rome, via country paths with snarling dogs behind barbed wire fences.
The sight of the Tiber, getting your last stamp in St Peter’s Square. A day to walk round and round La Citta Eterna.
The last secret of Fatima
A Cristiano Ronaldo beach towel on a stand among the Virgin Mary souvenirs outside the Little Shepherd’s home.
Praying with Maria dos Anjos, the niece of the last Little Shepherd in her porch.
An elderly woman crawling on her knees to the altar, and a drunken Scotsman crawling out of the bar after too much Madeira wine.
Lourdes have mercy
Candles… in cartons for the night-time vigil, in the shops, giant ones at €60, and ones inscribed by everyone in the village in which they were carved.
The helpers wheeling the disabled, pilgrims quietly queuing in front of the baths.
St Bernadette hiding in the gardens around the model villages in Lourdes Castle and the interdit sign which a disobedient Scot will always ignore.
The Medjugorje story
A monk held captive by ISIS giving a talk to pilgrims.
A priest revealing how Our Lady revealed herself to him and listening to Ivan Visionary channeling the Virgin Mary at the Blue Cross.
Visiting Muslim Sarajevo, its beautiful Bey Mosque and its museum of Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide https://sarajevo.travel/en/things-to-do/museum-of-crimes-against-humanity-and-genocide-1992-1995/923.
Tomorrow on my long goodbye, my favourite cities.