The ancient Way of St. James has come to St. Augustine, Florida. Under an Accord with the Alliance of Cathedrals, and through the good offices of Instituto Nauta, the Cathedral of St. Augustine and the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche in Northeast Florida will become an official part of the celebrated Camino de Santiago. Just as many ancient pilgrimage routes converge at Santiago de Compostela, Spain, so too all American pilgrimage routes converge in St. Augustine, Florida, as the embarkation point for the Spanish Pilgrimage. This marriage of Santiago de Compostela and St. Augustine, Florida weds the Old World and the New World in faith, culture, and of course, pilgrimage.
The Order of Malta’s Baby Steps Camino™️ each December will be an official segment of the Camino de Santiago, complete with official Camino passport stamps and credit for miles walked toward the Way of St. James in Spain. The Order of Malta will be asked to be Custodian of this North American segment, much as the ancient Order of Santiago was for centuries the custodian and defender of the Spanish pilgrimage routes.
In commemoration of this historic event, a replica of the statue of St. James in the Glorious Portico of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela was commissioned in Spain. It was blessed by the Archbishop of Cordoba, venerated in his Cathedral, as well as in the Cathedral of Madrid. The image was then exhibited in the Cathedral of Santiago and commended to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, where it now resides. It was welcomed by the rector of the Cathedral, Fr. John Tetlow, who is a Magistral Chaplain of the Order of Malta, at a Mass on the Feast of St. James, July 25th.
Pictured above are the members of the delegation who accompanied the image on its own Camino (L to R, in the rear, Jon Carres, Director of the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche; Fr. John Tetlow, Rector of the Cathedral of St. Augustine, Florida; Deacon Michael Ellison, chancellor of the Diocese of St. Augustine, and Francisco Guitard, President of Instituto Nauta, promoter of the project).