Members’ News Update (Aug 2022)

Introduction

We are in the midst of our summer overseas trekking experiences with Amalfi, Via Jacobi and the Camino Primitivo behind us and the Tochar Phadriag and Isole Eiolie ahead of us.

Overall it has been a very rewarding experience in terms of friendships and social interaction and well-being, in addition to the obvious benefits of physical exercise.

We also continue to see growth in paid/registered members. This will help support our initiatives, particularly the Universal Peace Walk. We are also experiencing growth in our social media membership which means XirCammini continues to get noticed even internationally.

Local and Overseas Walks (Upcoming)

This is the link to upcoming events locally and overseas.

I wish to reiterate that – unless specifically listed as such – XirCammini events are only open to XirCammini members.

The following table is a summary of the events between now and October. More information will be provided shortly in respect of the Round Gozo where XirCammini has been requested to assist the Hospice Movement. XirCammini members are encouraged to participate and to donate:

Aug – Oct 2022 Itinerary

For those joining us on the Tochar Phadraig (from next weekend) or in the Eiolie Treks (Sept) and who have not yet collected their XirCammini teeshirts (and shells in the case of the Tochar) during the ‘Blessing of the Shells’ event, you still have a chance to do so during the walk of Wednesday 10th August. We hope to see you “Taht it-Tinda” in Buskett from where the walk will start at 19:00. I’ll be there early to distribute the teeshirts and shells. Thanks.

Camino Primitivo

For Tucc and I, the Camino Primitivo holds a special place in our heart.

It was during this Camino in 2018 that we became grandparents for the first time. It is also the Camino in which XirCammini was conceived. This time, 2022, a return to the Camino Primitivo has also provided a new “lamp to our feet and light to our path” in more ways than one. We hope to be able to share more exciting news shortly with members from initiatives started during this Camino.

A Camino is a microcosm of life and therefore not without its challenges, frustrations and heartaches. However this Camino has, above all, blessed us with several, very positive, experiences as we shared the Way with like-minded brothers and sisters.

We were particularly blessed with the often personal, emotionally or spitirually uplifting experiences that hikers shared along the walk.

It also helped reinforce the seminal believe that challenges make the journey more remarkable.

We also want to thank the group for the beautiful gift which, along with the titular icon of St. James painted by Tiziana last year, will be a valuable addition to the XirCammini chapel project when it materialises later on this year.

Tochar Phadraig

A return to County Clare and County Mayo is also one that has been on the books for a while.

We will be blessed with the addition of Irish Pilgrims who will join us on some of our walks.

The Cliffs of Moher, the Abbey, the Reek, the Chapel on Croagh Phadriag, Lough Carra … await us.

Teeshirts and XirCammini branded Outdoor Clothing

We have distributed teeshirts and caps for persons who have joined our overseas walks this year.

Many members have asked whether they can order more teeshirts, caps, gillets, etc. We will be organising a walk and a stop at the store for members to order (and pay in store) so that we submit a bulk order for printing.

More details on this to follow. It is likely to be on a Saturday afternoon in mid-October. We’ll provide a date shortly after confirming with the store an afternoon when they can make themselves available exclusively for us.

Universal Peace Walk Update

Work on the Universal Peace Walk continues. We will shortly be printing emblems and signs that need to be fixed to the waymarks. I will also shortly be contacting those who offered to donate some of their time.

We also had very productive meetings with the local councils at regional level and we will shortly be holding a pilot walk (Mdina to Zurrieq) with representatives of the local councils. The pilot walk will be open to members and non-members in order to further publicise this project. More information about the Universal Peace Walk is available here.

Once launched, we hope that this will be the first of many that brings in more faith tourism to the island and that puts Malta on the cultural hiking map of Europe.

Membership

As stated earlier, all existing memberships have been extended until December, when we will be issuing a renewal notice to all members. Therefore, we ask members not to send in membership fees until we tell you to. Those who have, we will adjust when we issue the notices. Between now and Dec we only expect fees from newly registered members.

Paid up/ registered members are approaching the 250 mark whereas social media members on the XirCammini Facebook community now exceed 1,200. Thank you.

Thank you

I conclude my thanking you all for your continued support. It’s your positive energy that sustains XirCammini. Thank you.

Trek | Swim | |Travel

Valle delle Ferriere, Amalfi

Updated Itinerary

We are updating the itinerary to include our Q3-2022 events.

These are the upcoming events between the end of June and the end of August 2022 in the run up of the last overseas trek for this summer – Isole Eiolie from the 7th to the 14th of September 2022:

For the trek and swim of the 25th June 2022, we can all bring some fruit, nibbles, wine or soft drinks to share after the trek. We can leave these in the car next to Selmun Palace and – those who wish to hang around afterwards – we can spend some time together after enjoying the trek and swim. Those intending to swim, please bring a drybag so that we attempt to cross to the Gzejjer ta San Pawl jelly fish permitting.

In addition to the above calendar of events, we will still be adding other mid-week evening walks like the ones led by Don and John recently. These will be uploaded by them on the XirCammini Group on Facebook. The next one should be on Thursday 30th June since Wednesday is a feast-day. Check the XirCammini Group on Facebook for more information.

Blessing of the Shells | Overseas Caminos

On Friday 15th July we will be celebrating mass and blessing of the shells for the Camino Primitivo, Spain and the Tochar Phadraig, Ireland. Followinig mass we will have a Pasta Night get-together (more information to follow), This event is open to all XirCammini members and their spouses, partners and friends. We will also be distributing the Universal Peace Walk Certificates during this social evening.

On 18th July some of us will embark on the Camino Primitivo and on the 14th August on the Tochar Phadraig,

Our last overseas trek for the Summer season will be the Isole Eiolie.

Because Life is a Journey: Pillow Talk & Icebergs!

Good morning. A short piece on three topics, hopefully succinctly presented:

Pillow Talk

It seems that less people nowadays understand the value of being able to lay our head on a pillow and sleep without worrying that they have cheated, lied or supplanted their way to money or power. Greed, whether for money or power, is addictive and the proportion at which we’ve seen it grow in recent years in Malta is phenomenal. Maybe there are reasons for it, such as a wholesale societal loss of moral compass (dampened by the ‘outbursts of conscience quenching generosity’ whenever there is national charity campaign) or a wholesale breakdown of in the family unit/values that traditionally (in the words of Mons. J. De Piro) provided,”the cradle of one’s education” (“Give me a child for the first 5 years of his life and he is mine forever,” V. Lenin)

The recipe for a good night sleep – for the benefit of those seem to have lost or conveniently forgotten it – contains just eight ingredients:

  1. Matt 22:37-39: Love your neighbour as yourself. If we truly love and respect ourselves, only then can we love and respect others.
  2. Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” Jim Rohn.
  3. Exodus 20:15, “Do not steal.” There are no shades of grey in this statement. Actions have consequences, if not on us, on others. “It is difficult, but not impossible, to conduct strictly honest business,” Mahatma Ghandi
  4. Fortitude is the guard and support of all other virtues,” John Locke. Intestinal capacity is the cousin of faith when “faith is the assurance of things hoped for and conviction of things unseen.” (Heb 11:1)
  5. And the salt – or main ingredient – of this recipe of “sound sleep” is contentment. “True contentment is not having everything but being satisfied with everything that you have,” Oscar Wilde.

Iceberg Effect

What prompted this piece today? I’m tired of a decade-long tsunami of news involving ministers, members of parliament (across the whole Maltese political spectrum), government /authority officials, business people, ‘persons of trust’ (what does this phrase really mean?) and permeating all echelons of Maltese society that exposes crime (murder, theft, money laundering, trading in influence) and glorifies all that is wrong (greed, self-conceit and populist myopia). This is also often hurtful towards others because actions always have consequences. But we do not seem to care.

What is even more scary is the iceberg effect. Statistically, the persons serving time for their crimes are only the tip of the iceberg. The overwhelming majority of criminals cross our paths and share our path on a daily basis and do so often with an air of inpunity because there ins’t enough evidence or fortitude to convict, or they they have law or justice in their pockets or because they ‘gentrified’ themselves through layers of legal oblivion.

Conclusion: Because Life is a Journey ..

Very often I find it hard to believe Proverbs 21:21, “Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honour.” But, I do not have to, because I believe that our purpose in life is not to seek prosperity and honour. Our purpose in life is to add value. It is to leave the world a better place than we found it. Whoever learns this lesson in hindsight generally learns it too late!

And, in trying to walk the talk I also try to learn from the best,”Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalms 119)

Because life is a journey | keep walking | keep smiling | do good | have faith.

12th March 1543 AD: Universal Peace Walk

www.universalpeacewalk.mt

On the then feast of St. Gregory in 1543 Bishop Domenico Cubelles instituted a peace walk, Pro Pace Universali, at a time when Europe, the old world, was in the throes of war.

The cammino was from the old city, Mdina or Citta Notabile to the Southern most parish known as le Terre di Santa Caterina, or Casale Santa Caterina (current day Zejtun); a 28km procession.

There was an order of precedence to the procession. The Cathedral chapter stood at the back and the newest parish stood at the front. According to the 1436 Rollo de Mello, Malta had ten parishes being Naxxar, Birkirkara, Qormi, Bir Miftuh, Żebbug, Siġġiewi, Żejtun, Żurrieq, Hal Tartani and Mellieha. In addition to these parishes there were other populated areas with their churches and communities such as the inner harbour area, Rabat, Ghaxaq (a suburb of the terre di Santa Caterina) and Zabbar (the sub-parish of St. James which was also part of the Zejtun parish). Furthermore there were the confraternities of lay people, among them the one of Santa Maria (Attard) started during the reign of Bishop Giacomo Valquarena and the one of St. Joseph in Rabat which preceded that of Attard. There were also confraternities of friars most of whom had convents in or around Rabat. Malta, then also had Greek Christian churches. All of these took part on the Universal Peace Walk, all carrying their crosses and banners.

Guns were fired in Mdina signalling the start of the walk in the morning.

Giovanni Franceso Abela (1582–1655) writes about this Cammino in his book Della Descrittione Di Malta. The procession is again mentioned in 1847. By then the number of parishes had increased substantially and some were also elevated to collegiate churches which altered the order of precedence on this Cammino. Zerafa also mentions the hymns that were sung during the procession. Also, the structure of the Cammino changed with parishes meeting in Marsa and continuing towards Zejtun.

Later books, such as the 20th century autobiography of Ganado, Rajt Malta Tinbidel,  also mentions the procession. This once grand and historic Cammino, a part of Maltese heritage is being reintroduced by Maltese hiking NGO, XirCammini on its original anniversary date, 12th March. With the help of Malta Tourism Authority, XirCammini will be engaging with local councils enroute to instal permanent waymarks. A dedicated website with relevant information www.universalpeacewalk.mt has been rolled out in beta format.

More information is available from XirCammini (information@XirCammini.org)

Universal Peace Walk 1543

Some of you remember that we were planning to walk the Universal Peace Walk in March 2020 and had to postpone our plans due to Covid-19 and lock-down.

Work on this project continued unabated and – with the lifting of health measures we will be walking the Universal Peace Walk 1543 this year on the 12th March which happens to be its anniversary date

You can read more about the origins and significance of the Universal Peace Walk 1543 here.

Registration for the 2022 walk is now closed.

Local Walks Oct – Dec 2021 | Registration UPDATED 25th October 2021

As promised, we’ve put together the itinerary of local walks between now and the end of the year.

The table is included below.

We will have fortnightly weekend walks (alternating between Sunday morning and Saturday afternoon) and we will continue with our Wed Walks in the evening. These help us break the weekly work routine with a mid-week evening walk. We have also included some full-day walks (these are in bold in the table below):

With the gradual opening up of Covid measures we will not be maintaining a prior, online registration system.

The ones that require registration due to say transport accommodation etc. (Comino, Victoria Lines, Gozo or December overseas) are now closed.

Please check with the list above and turn up at the appointed place for a departure at the indicated time.

Please wear masks while waiting or stationery and also observe a 6-group cluster. Thanks.

We look forward to meeting all of you in some or all of the walks. Life’s a journey | keep smiling | keep walking | Keep safe | God bless.

Caminho Português Done and Dusted! What Next?

Now that the Caminho Português is done and dusted, we can concentrate on

1. the calendar of local walks; and

2. the overseas travel itinerary for Oct 2021 – Sept 2022.

Regarding local walks, we continue to watch the Covid-19 situation more closely as restrictions ease and in the coming days we will announce the Oct – Dec walks. In September we still have the following walks (which are already over-subscribed):

P85 21st Sept Mellieha | Ramla tat-Torri | Armier Loop (19:00 – 22:00)

P86 23rd Sept Manikata | Pwales | Mizieb Loop (19:00 – 22:00)

P87 28th Sept Selmun – Mellieha Loop (19:00 – 22:00)

Regarding the overseas walks, this is what is provisionally planned for next year (please note that dates are tentative and may change):

  1. 5th – 13th Dec, 2021: Cammino Di San Giacomo in Sicilia from Caltagirone to Capizzi. 130km
  2. 6th – 10th Feb, 2022: Trekking in Sicily, details to be announced.
  3. 26th March to 2nd April, 2022: Camino Ingles (from Ferrol to Santiago de Compostela)
  4. 4th – 11th June, 2022: Costiera Amalfitana and Matera
  5. 18th June – 2nd July 2022: Camino Primitivo 340km from Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela
  6. 11th – 18th September, 2022: Isole Eiolie Trekking and/or Swimming on 6 of the 7 Volcano Islands.

Most local and and all overseas activities are open only for XirCammini members. To become a member please follow this link: https://xircammini.org/get-involved/membership/

A poll will be issued shortly and circulated to members to register their interest for the above overseas trekking activities

One dreams, but a team achieves

In March 2020 we were all set to walk the Universal Peace walk 1543® on the Sunday closest to the 12th of March, the original pilgrimage day from when it was first walked in 1543.

But, it was not to be and we reluctantly postponed the event to March 2021 hoping that the pandemic would by then be behind us. During this year we worked at improving the walk in terms of the experience it can offer to those who will walk it.

As we postponed it yet again in 2021, I am pleased to share that with the Universal Peace Walk still on the ‘drawing board’ and so much more ideas and enhancements are flowing into it as more people and parties start to share our enthusiasm for it.

While we patiently wait to be in a position to launch we thought of sharing with you a reminder of the walk.

Xacobeo Webinar, March 20th, 2021

We have received the following message from the Association of the Friends of the Way which we are happy to share with you:

Dear friends of the Jacobean associations, foundations and brotherhood and of the Galician communities abroad:

As you well know, we are preparing as best as possible the arrival of the pilgrims to Santiago, in this Compostela Holy Year 2021 that Pope Francis has extended to 2022.

One of our priorities is to preserve the safety of the pilgrim, both along the Camino -of all the Jacobean routes in Galicia-, and in the city of Santiago. Health security and personal safety measures that are taken along theWay of the St. James and in the public shelters along the route in Galicia. In the same way, we are also focused on rescheduling cultural and festive activities, from the curatorship of Xacobeo 21-22, which complement the spiritual sense of the Compostelanean Jubilee.

To disseminate these concepts, we have designed for next Saturday March 20, starting at 12 noon (Spanish time), a round table in a “webinar” format, in which the main specialists in reception, hospitality and security will participate, for which we request your active participation online. After the interventions of the speakers there will be a question time in which you can comment and ask any questions that may arise.

In a few days you will receive the registration link.

I bid you farewell and wait to see you in this “webinar”; wishing you health and serenity!

Ildefonso de la Campa Montenegro

Director of Administration and Relations with the Associations of Friends of the Camino de Santiago

S.A. Xestión do Plan Xacobeo. Xunta de Galicia

REPORT ON THE SITUATION OF COVID 19 ON THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO

XirCammini, as the Malta representative of the Associations of Friends of the Way of St. James, has received the following message and announcement from the Xunta de Galicia to share with our members, pilgrims and Camino aficionados.

More information, not only in terms of Covid-19 updates in Galicia but about the continuous work of the Xunta de Galicia can also be found on https://www.caminodesantiago.gal/en

Dear President.

Following instructions from the First Vice President of the Xunta de Galicia, I am enclosing a report on the situation of COVID19 on the Camino de Santiago. In this report, you will see the actions implemented by the Government of Galicia and their impact on pilgrims in our region, as well as reference to the main information resources on COVID19 in our region.

I hope that this information will be useful for your association.

Yours sincerely

Ildefonso de la Campa Montenegro, Managing  Director

UPDATE ON HEALTHCARE MEASURES AGAINST COVID IN THE
AUTONOMOUS COMMUNITY OF GALICIA AND UPDATE ON PUBLIC
HOSTELS.

29 January 2021.

HEALTHCARE MEASURES IN THE AUTONOMOUS COMMUNITY OF
GALICIA AND ITS AFFECT ON THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO.

After the publication of DECREE 8/2021, of 26 January, adopting measures in the territory of the Autonomous Community of Galicia to deal with the healthcare crisis, under the condition of competent delegated authority within the framework of the provisions of Royal Decree 926/2020, of 25 October, declaring a state of alarm to prevent the spread of infections caused by SARS-CoV-2:
https://www.xunta.gal/dog/Publicados/excepcional/2021/20210126/2549/Anunci
oC3B0-260121-1_gl.pdf
, its impact on the Camino de Santiago is as follows:

  1. Limitation on the entry and exit of people to and from the territory
    of the Autonomous Community of Galicia
    from another region of Spain or from foreign countries, except for the exceptions set forth in this decree, from 00:00 on 27 January to 00:00 on 17 February.
  2. Limitations on the entry and exit of people to and from the territory of each of the municipalities of the Autonomous Community of Galicia, except for the exceptions set forth in this decree, from 00.00 on 27 January 2021 until 00.00 on 17 February.
  3. Closure of the public network of pilgrim hostels from 00:00 on 27 January 2021 until 00:00 on 17 February.

HEALTHCARE SITUATION OF THE MUNICIPALITIES OF GALICIA.

To access up-to-date information on the pandemic situation and anti-COVID measures in the municipalities of Galicia, visit the Health Council of the Xunta de Galicia’s website:

https://coronavirus.sergas.gal/Contidos/Restriccions-concellos?idioma=es

SITUATION OF THE PUBLIC NETWORK OF THE XUNTA DE GALICIA’S
PILGRIM HOSTELS.

As indicated in point 1, the public network of pilgrim shelters will be closed from 00:00 on 27 January 2021 until 00:00 on 17 February.

COVID APPS

RADAR COVID

Radar COVID is an application designed by the Government of Spain to help prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Radar COVID anonymously notifies you of possible contact that you may have had in the last 14 days with a person who was infected. In the case that this contact occurred, it enables easy communication with public health.

PassCOVID.gal

PassCOVID.gal is an application designed by the Xunta de Galicia to help keep citizens safe from COVID-19. PassCovid complements RadarCovid and allows you to: consult information of interest; receive notifications if you were in an establishment of risk due to the concentration of infections; communicate any positive COVID-19 diagnosis you may have to contacts you had and the places you visited; and find your Radar COVID code.

It allows you to check the updated status of restrictions in Galicia’s different municipalities.

It enables you to immediately receive important information, to consult the recommendations and to find information about the current state of the pandemic in Galicia.

PROGRAMME: “CAMINO SEGURO” (“SAFE CAMINO”) AND DOWNLOADABLE MATERIALS.

The Xunta de Galicia has launched the Camino Seguro (Safe Camino) programme, an initiative that promotes pilgrimages adapted to the current health situation through a comprehensive protocol of action on Jacobean routes in Galicia.


This programme has established a series of measures for pilgrims and professionals, management entities or volunteers who work on the Jacobean Route.


You can find the protocols, plans and support materials through the following links:

Information for professionals and management entities:
https://www.caminodesantiago.gal/es/caminoseguro/profesionales

Information for pilgrims:
https://www.caminodesantiago.gal/es/caminoseguro/peregrinos