Mindanao’s biking priest begins run/walk pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/10 July) –   Mindanao’s biking priest, Redemptorist Amado “Picx” Picardal  is flying from Rome to Madrid tomorrow to prepare for this 26-day, 800-kilometer “running/walking pilgrimage” on the Camino de Santiago in France on July 16 to pray for healing, stronger faith, peace in the Philippines, especially in Mindanao and for the new administration of President Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino.

Picardal, who attended the summer course on Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue in Rome said he will spend a couple of days in Madrid and then take the train to drop by Lourdes before proceeding to St Jean Pied de Port (literally “Saint John at the foot of the mountain pass” in French).

“As much as possible, I will cover the 800 km route barefoot like St. Francis and many medieval pilgrims. However, I have a lot of doubts if I can really do it. So, I will wear my sandals when the road gets too harsh or hot. I will be doing some running and also lots of walking breaks. The primary goal is reaching my destination on foot in 26 days and at the same time journeying inward. It will be a mobile spiritual retreat, involving meditation, reflection and prayer. It will also be accompanied by penitential acts (barefoot walking/running and fasting during the day, sleeping under the stars at night most of the time).

Picardal became known as the “biking priest” because of his frequent “bikes for peace” journeys.

Fr. Amado “Picx” Picardal takes off  for his 56-day journey across the Philippines in this file photo taken by Keith Bacongco on March 24, 2008. In 2000, he biked “for peace” across the country for 18 days from Davao to the northernmost part of Luzon and for 21 days around Mindanao in 2006 “for life and peace.”

In 2008,  he went on a 56-day bike journey covering 5,164 kilometers from Davao to Aparri and back, dubbed “Philippine Bike-Tour for Life and Peace: Preaching the Gospel of Life amidst the Culture of Death.”

Picardal, who ran and walked for nearly 400 kilometers from Davao City to Iligan City during  the Holy Week this year in preparation for the Camino pilgrimage, said he will pray for healing “of several friends with cancer and for my own complete healing (hypertension, myocardial ischemia and atherosclerosis);”  for a “deeper experience and awareness of God’s presence in my life, stronger faith and ongoing personal conversion, and discovering God’s will for me in the coming years;”  for “peace in the Philippines (especially Mindanao), and that a final peace agreement will be reached between the Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Government and the National Democratic Front; and for the “new administration of President Noynoy Aquino, that he will be able to lead the Filipino people in transforming Philippine society, get rid of corruption, bring about peace, justice and progress.”
”I  am aware that this pilgrimage will be a time of grace. I rely on God’s providence and the kindness of the strangers I will meet on the way,” he said.

Picardal’s itinerary:

7/16 Fri: St. Jean Pied de Port – Roncesvalles (27 k) albergue 6E
7/17 Sat: Roncesvalles – Larrasoana (27.6 ) albergue 6E
7/18 Sun: Larrasoana – Uterga (31.6) camping
7/19 Mon: Uterga– Ayegui (30.9) albergue 6E
7/20 Tue: Ayegui- Viana (36.9) albergue D
7/21Wed: Viana – Ventosa (27.8) camping
7/22Thu: Ventosa – Santo Domingo de la Calzada (31.5) albergue D/ or camping
7/23 Fri: Santo Domingo de la Calzada – Tosantos (28.1) algergue D
7/24 Sat: Tosantos – Cardenuela Rio Pico (31.2) camping
7/25 Sun: Cardenuela Rio Pico –Hornillos del Camino (33.7) albergue 5E
7/26 Hornillos del Camino – Itero de la Vega (30.7) albergue 3E
7/27 Tue: Mon: Itero de la Vega- Carrion de los Condes (32.7) camping
7/28 Wed: Carrion de los Condes – Moratinos (29.4) albergue D
7/29 Thu: Moratinos – El Burgo Ranero (27.2) albergue D
7/30 Fri: El Burgo Ranero – Arcahueja (29): camping
7/31 Sat: Arcahueja – Villar de Mazarife (31) albergue 7E
8/1 Sun: Villar de Mazarife – Astorga (29) Redemptorists
8/2 Mon: Astorga – Foncebadon (25.9) albergue D/camping
8/3 Tues: Foncebadon- Ponferrada (27.2) albergue D
8/4 Wed: Ponferrada-Trabadelo (32.3) albergue 6E
8/5 Thu: Trabadelo – Fonfria (30.4) camping
8/6 Fri: Fonfria- Sarria (33.6) camping
8/7 Sat: Sarria- Gonzar (30.5) albergue 5E or camping
8/8 Sun: Gonzar – Melide (31.3) camping
8/9 Mon: Melide – Santa Irene (30.7) albergue 5E or camping
8/10 Tue: Santa Irene – Santiago de Compostela (22.1) albergue 12 E

Picardal told MindaNews he will blog when he can during the pilgrimage. (MindaNews)