Testimony of Ernesto Vilasante
One of the Pilgrims of the first Idente Way of Saint James that took place in 1988
“Being companions on the Way of Saint James unites us forever”.
Hello to all of you,
Who was going to tell me, who inaugurated the first Way of Saint James of in 1988, organized by Idente Youth, that after 34 years I would be addressing more than 1800 virtual pilgrims!
In 1988, I was living in the Canary Islands. I was walking around with my heart a little shrunken and a scattered mind, when I heard on the radio that a religious group called Idente Youth, which I had never heard of, was organizing The Way of Saint James, from Astorga to Santiago de Compostela. I immediately thought it was a good opportunity to take a break, meet people and clear my head. The curious thing about all this was that, when I spoke to the people in charge of Idente Youth in the Canary Islands, they told me that they had not paid for any radio advertising. So, it was Providence, which in some cases I call the scriptwriter, who wanted me to be informed about the Route, and finally I signed up to do it.
Each experience of The Way of Saint James is different, but that one was even more so. I had to find where to sleep, where to eat, where to hold seminars and celebrate the Eucharist. Every day was a challenge, even though Gabriel had planned everything very well.
There were twelve stages of journey, of reflection, of conversations and above all of feeling part of the Idente Family. A special moment was when we arrived at my home, in Melide, where I was able to introduce Gabriel to my father and my brothers. Since that first year, the stop at my house, to have some delicious sweets typical of the village is mandatory. We tell each other how the year has gone; Gabriel tells us about the group participating and shares with us some anecdotes.
The scriptwriter (Providence) wanted again to have a great gesture with us: on July 21, 2013, just when the Idente Way of Saint James arrived in Melide, we buried my father. You can’t even imagine what it meant for the whole family that his funeral was celebrated by Gabriel Córdoba. We are all convinced that my father wanted it that way!
I want to say goodbye to all of you with a phrase. The one that my pilgrimage brother, Luis Casasús, always tells me: “Being companions on the Way of Saint James unites us forever”, and that is my wish for the more than the 1800 pilgrims that this year have walked together with me on this online Way of Saint James. I hope that the magic rope that has kept me united to the Idente Family will also give you strength and keep you all united!
Fellow pilgrims, thank you very much and “¡Buen Camino!”