Way to St James Cygnet gains international recognition

By Josh Low

The Way to St James Cygnet was recently integrated with the Association of Friends of the Camino de Santiago’s register of Jacobean associations.

The inclusion of the Tasmanian pilgrimage with the Association came following a visit in May by founder and current South Hobart Parish Priest, Fr Michael Tate AO, to Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain.

Meeting with the Director of the Association of Friends of the Camino de Santiago, Ildefonso de la Campa, Fr Tate presented him with a stamped passport from the Way to St James Cygnet, a patch and Tasmanian pilgrim scallop shell.

Fr Tate said the meeting was a great opportunity to strengthen the links between the Way to St James Cygnet and the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

“I thought it was important to establish a more formal link with the famous El Camino de Santiago,” he explained.

“[Mr de la Campa] was thrilled to know that so far away from Spain, in this remote island off the coast of Australia, there was a pilgrimage, which in his own words, replicated the traditions and customs that characterised The Way of St James.

“He therefore was happy to register our pilgrimage in the Association of International Organisations, which share the same values as he put it, “of solidarity, peace, and harmony between peoples.”

The Way to St James Cygnet has been running for several years now and sees pilgrims walk through Tasmania’s beautiful Huon Valley. Photo: Supplied

Fr Tate added that there was some trepidation on his part in establishing a link between the two pilgrimages.

“We’ve been going for six or seven years, and I thought he (Mr de la Campa) might find it a little ordinary by comparison.

“But in fact, he loved the idea of something like this happening thousands of kilometres away in a completely different time zone with the same spirit and ethos as the Camino de Santiago,” Fr Tate said.

“I think what this now gives us is a status and credibility which is, I think unique in Australia.”

Inspired by the world famous Camino de Santiago, the Way to St James Cygnet is held each year in January with pilgrims walking through the Huon Valley, passing through Mountain River, Ranelagh and Cradoc on their way to Cygnet.

Once arriving in Cygnet, pilgrims process through the streets of Cygnet with an icon of St James to the Church of St James.

The next Way to St James Cygnet will be taking place in January 2024, with more details to be released later this year.

For more information about the Way to St James Cygnet: www.waytostjames.com.au

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