News, January '04

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News Theme: Big events in 2004, Holy Year for Santiago and Forum of the Cultures in Barcelona

This year, two major long-running events will dominate the Spanish 'cultural diary'. They are the Año Jacobeo, or Holy Year of Pilgrimage to Santiago in Galicia and the Forum of the Cultures in Barcelona. Both will draw many thousands of visitors, curious to see what is going on or perhaps committed to a particular expression of spirituality.

On the face of it, these two events are diametrically opposed. The Año Jacobeo is a traditional religious occasion which has been held from time to time since the middle ages. Indeed it was when the crusades made it impossible to make the pilgrimage to the Holy Land that Santiago became a major player (against Rome) in the pilgrimage stakes, the first ever wave of tourism. The Barcelona Forum will be a melting pot of cultural and religious ideas, where anything goes. Yet in the new age of spiritual search, both these destinations are open to people who are on a voyage of spiritual discovery.

The Spanish Evangelicals are split on how to approach such occasions as we face in Spain this year. Some would want to stay aloof, preserving the purity of our faith in an immutable God. Truth is for them very important. For others, however, while not wanting to let go of their own beliefs, they see these events as a great opportunity to share what they have discovered along the road of spiritual discovery, particularly to share what God has revealed of himself. Along the pilgrims' road to Santiago de Compostela, there is one rather distinctive hostel for these travellers, manned by evangelical volunteers (a minsitry of Campus Crusade). At the time of writing there is still a report of their activities during 2003 on the answers page of the prayer section.

More: Forum, Pilgrims report cf. Ligonde...