St James’s Day weekend

This year St James’s Day 25 July falls on a Sunday which means that 2021 is a Holy Year in Santiago de Compostela.

Many seek to be a pilgrim to Santiago in a Holy Year and due to the pandemic this special year is going to continue into 2022.

The Pilgrims’ Way from Southwark to Canterbury is not just the way to St Thomas Becket but the first leg of the Camino which reaches across France and Northern Spain to St James the Great in Santiago.

The familiar yellow arrow of the Camino will be projected on Southwark Cathedral’s east end exterior on Friday evening 23 July.

This is part of a light projection to mark Holy Year and is best viewed from the south end of London Bridge or a train entering London Bridge Station.

The Camino Pilgrim office where pilgrims to Santiago visit before setting out is just half a mile from Southwark Cathedral.

The Camino shell which has become the badge for other pilgrimages including Canterbury where you enter the cathedral by way of the door with a shell at the Christ Church Gate.

London’s main St James’s Day Mass is 24 hours early at noon on Saturday 24 July at St James’s Spanish Place W1 where Cardinal Vincent Nicholas will be the celebrant. But due to the virus there will not be the usual party afterwards.

***Churches dedicated to St James the Great on the Pilgrims’ Way are in Surrey where the path passes the door at Shere (14th-century glass in the east window) and nearby Abinger Hammer although here a visit to the church requires a diversion up to the Common.

***St James, patron of Spain, is one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus and brother of St John.

St James’s as a pilgrim with the shell on his bag.


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