Because life is a journey … “all the Saints” and all that Jazz

Introduction

All Saints Day is a special day for XirCammini. We say that the processing of our application as a NGO took from All Saints’ Day to the Feast of St. Paul Shipwrecked. We submitted our application on 1st November 2018 and received our certificate by mid-February 2019.

Personally, these 2 feasts also mean a lot to me since they are the birthdays of my parents, 2 persons who, in a most significant way, helped shape who I am today on this journey of life.

For pilgrim-trekkers, All Saints Day should also have special significance. It is the feast that mostly brings home the belief that life is a journey and not a destination; and that we are all ultimately destined to be saints if we will it. It also perhaps reminds us that we do not ‘earn’ sainthood by our deeds. Rather, even as mortal travelers, we can choose to live in the light and behave as such on our journey because we have been saved by grace. Grace bestowed by the Infinite and the Eternal and that is therefore neither confined by space nor by time.

All Saints’ Day: All the saints go marching in

All Saints’ Day is celebrated by all Christian denominations. It is celebrated on 1st November or early November by Western Christian churches such as Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists, Lutheran and other reformist churches. The various Eastern and or Orthodox Christian churches celebrate this between Easter and Pentecost. Viewed from a pilgrim’s perspective both liturgical periods are valid since, whereas the Western churches celebrate this before Advent (celebrating the human journey of God for our salvation) the Eastern churches celebrate this after Easter and before Pentecost (celebrating our journey as humans towards a life in the Spirit.)

Historically, the November date also coincided with the ancient Celtic Christian feast of Samhein; also celebrated prior to Christianity marking the end of the harvest or a period that ushers in seasonal darkness. This may explain the connection with, for example, All Souls’ Day (following All Saints Day), Halloween (Hallows’ Eve marks the start of All Saints’ Day the evening before) and so on as well as death and the grim reaper. In Christianity these 2 dates (All Saints’ and All Souls’) are connected because of the intrinsic link between the mortal church (us on our journey) and the triumphant church (those who walked before us and who fought the good fight and now urge us on).

XirCammini: All the saints go marching on

It’s been a year since we submitted our application to register XirCammini; and what a wonderful journey this first year has been. The seed was sown some time before when, with a group of friends, we walked the Camino Primitivo in May / June 2018. But, as the saying goes, every project is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. It took us a few months to get our paperwork together and to finally roll out.

XirCammini today, as a membership-based ‘not-for-profits’ association:

  1. Consists of > 100 subscribed members; and
  2. Has > 350 members on the social media community with wholly organic social media post reaches averaging 20,000 per month and average monthly social media post interaction exceeding 5,000 without any commercial boosts;
  3. Attracts walkers between the teenages and +65s with the mainstream being between the ages of 35 and 64 years of age (peaking between 45 and 54 years);
  4. Attracts people from all walks of life without distinction and with a more or less even gender split;
  5. Through its website, core members and collaborators, provides information on almost 50 ancient routes in over 20 European countries across Europe;
  6. Collaborates with like-minded organisations overseas in Europe and beyond;
  7. Published a book, “Microcosm of Life” based on a pilgrim’s daily journey on the Camino Frances ( https://xircammini.org/resources/ );
  8. Collaborates with articles and posts on fora of like-minded organisations;
  9. Organizes weekly mid-week walks, occasional weekend walks and overseas treks, attracting new faces to XirCammini;
  10. Donates to charity from its activities.

Most importantly, XirCammini continues to contribute positively at an individual level by providing an informal setting for people to share a walk, a smile, an experience, a burden or a joy with others on this journey called life as the saints “go marching on”.

XirCammini is a voluntary, non-profit making, non-denominational and non-sectarian membership organisation, open to all who support its aims, whose primary and over-riding objects are to research and advance knowledge and education about and generate interest in hiking ancient pilgrimage trails in Europe and beyond. For more information visit us at www.information@XirCammini.org or drop us an email on information@XirCammini.org