The “Baby Steps” Camino

3 Days. 33 Miles. 1 Mission.

Here at HFHF, we are blessed with incredible supporters. Not only are we regularly humbled by their generosity and hard work, but every now and then, we get to be completely blown away by their remarkable creativity. Such begins the story of the Baby Steps Camino.

Back in September 2017, we received a call from Susan Egan, DM of the Order of Malta’s American Association. She, along with fellow Dame Beth Gutman, decided to organize a “walking pilgrimage” in their area inspired by the Camino de Santiago in northwestern Spain. The pilgrimage, which was to take place over the course of three days, would bring pilgrims from Neptune Beach, FL to St. Augustine – a grand total of 33 miles.

Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche in St. Augustine, FL

Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche in St. Augustine, FL

In addition to daily Mass and opportunities for prayer and reflection, for these three days and 33 miles pilgrims would also have the chance to raise awareness and support for Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem. Together they learned about the mission of the Catholic teaching hospital, which serves poor and at-risk families throughout the Holy Land. The pilgrimage became known as “Baby Steps Camino”, in honor of the 4,000 infants delivered at the Hospital each year.

On the morning of December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, 35 pilgrims laced up their walking shoes and gathered at Neptune Beach to begin their first 12-mile day. Together they walked along the sandy shore, as Fr. Gregory Bartholomew, FSSP, gave each pilgrim the opportunity to make Confession.

The following days were long but deeply spiritual. Mile by mile, pilgrims were encouraged to pray for families in the Holy Land, especially those served by Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem.

A pilgrimage closing Mass was celebrated on December 10that the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche in St. Augustine, with over 100 in attendance. Together, our pilgrims raised nearly $1,500 in direct support for Holy Family Hospital.

You can help support the continuation of the Baby Steps Camino! To contribute to the 2018 pilgrimage (scheduled for December 7-9, 2018), please donate here and write “Camino” in the notes box!