American Pilgrims’ 3rd Annual Virtual Open House, Saturday, December 9, 2023

You’re invited to participate in our 3rd Annual Virtual Open House! An email with Zoom registration links will be sent to members of American Pilgrims on the Camino and posted in our Facebook group. We’ll also livestream the two sessions. Not a member? Join today!

PROGRAM — About Our Sessions and Speakers

Session #1: Click Here to Register for Zoom #1

11:00 AM EST Welcome with Stephens Lytch, Chairman of American Pilgrims on the Camino. Steve will discussour mission, goals, opportunities and successes of our nonprofit community of pilgrims. He’ll then turn the mic over to our Tom Labuzienski, host of the 3rd Annual Virtual Open House.

11:10 AM EST Tom will share a video compilation of his 2022 interview with the late John Brierley. The video includes some of John’s most inspirational Camino tips and inspirations.

11:30 AM EST Following the video, we’ll welcome Gemma Brierley, John’s daughter, who will reflect on her father’s lasting legacy and the future of his Camino pilgrim guides (often called the “guides to the Camino pilgrimage and to the pilgrimage of life”). Gemma will reiterate what she believes her dad wanted people to remember of his message to the community.

Gemma and John Brierley

12:00 PM EST — Dave Donselar, co-chair of the 2024 Annual Gathering of Pilgrims (our 27th!) will provide an update on the program and encourage donations to the raffle and silent auction. The Gathering is March 7-10, 2024 at Mo-Ranch (near San Antonio, TX). The theme is “Rhythms of the Way: Lighten Your Load” and it will be a fantastic weekend!

12:20 PM EST — Sister Katherine O’Flynn of the Camino Companions FCJ at the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago de Compostela will join us to speak about the service they provide. Every year, from Easter to October, a group of FCJ Sisters and other volunteers create a space where pilgrims can articulate their experience at the end of their Camino and explore its meaning.

12:40 PM EST — Johnnie Walker Santiago will offer his perspective of the Camino live from Santiago: “Walk the Camino and never be the same again!” Johnnie Walker has published 17 books on different aspects of the Camino – all of the proceeds go to charity. He has walked over 50 Caminos. He volunteered for seven years in the Pilgrim’s Office where he started the Welcome Service and the Camino Chaplaincy.

Author John Rafferty, AKA Johnnie Walker

1:00 PM EST — Faith Walter of Pilgrim House in Santiago de Compostela will join us and speak about how pilgrims can debrief and find support after the Camino. Pilgrim House is a place for pilgrims to find respite from their walk and take time to reflect: on their Camino, on life, and on what may come.

1:20 PM EST — We’ll be joined by Leigh Brennan, host of the podcast The Camino Cafe. Since first walking in 2019, Leigh moved from the US to Santiago. She now dedicates her time to promoting healing and peace through capturing pilgrim stories to give interviewees a way to share their stories, to inspire listeners to want to walk a first or another Camino, and to help keep the Camino Spirit alive for pilgrims in between walks. Leigh will present “The Pilgrim’s Heart: Beyond the Practical and at the Turnaround.”

Leigh Brennan, host of The Camino Cafe podcast

1:40 PM EST — Rick Steves, travel writer and television host, will speak to the many benefits of travel, especially in Spain.

Rick Steves, author and television host

2:00 PM EST — Actor Martin Sheen will join us by telephone for a conversation on the lasting influence of the film. Who among us hasn’t watched the movie The Way (2010) and been inspired to walk the Camino?

Martin Sheen

Follow this link to watch a recent conversation Rick Steves had with Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez called “The Way”: A conversation with Martin Sheen and Rick Steves on the value of travel.

2:10 PM EST — George Greenia, professor emeritus at the College of William and Mary, gives his thoughts on how “the Camino has become the prestige model for pilgrimages all over the world. Many call themselves a Camino and it has become a brand!“

George Greenia

We’ll take a break until the evening.

SESSION #2: Click Here to Register for Zoom #2

8:00 PM EST — Dan Mullins, Camino podcaster, songwriter, singer, and musician, who recently lost and thankfully is recovering his voice, will share Camino inspiration and maybe even a song or two live from Australia. Dan will join us in person at the Annual Gathering, March 7-10, 2024!

Dan Mullins

8:30PM EST — Skye Wagoner, the “Silent Pilgrim,” walked the French Way this past spring without saying a word. She now talks about her inspirational pilgrimage of listening.

8:45 PM EST — Joe Curro, who assume the role of American Pilgrims’ board chair in January 2024, speaks about the future of this meaningful community “who inspire all who seek the spirit of the Camino and to connect with the global community of pilgrims.”

Both sessions will be hosted by Tom Labuzienski, board member and membership committee chairman. We hope to have a fantastic turnout and look forward to seeing you!

Tom Labuzienski, American Pilgrims board member

If you miss this year’s open house, you will be able to watch a replay on our YouTube channel. Subscribe today and opt-in to notifications and you’ll be alerted when we’ve posted new content.

Members of American Pilgrims receive email invitations to all of our events. Not a member of American Pilgrims? Join today and receive notifications of all of our upcoming events.