National Gatherings

American Pilgrims on the Camino hosts an annual Gathering of Pilgrims. The Gathering is an opportunity to share experiences, to support one another and to learn more about the Camino and pilgrimage experience.

The 2018 Gathering of Pilgrims
Making Meaning from Memories

The 21st Annual Gathering of Pilgrims
Thursday, April 12 - Sunday, April 15, 2018

Vallombrosa Center
Menlo Park, California

Download the program!

Registration for the 2018 Gathering has filled!

We have been overwhelmed by the interest and enthusiasm for the 2018 Gathering. We expected to reach full capacity in March but as it turns out both on-site and commuter availability has now been reached. A wait list has been set up. Contact if:

  • you want to be on the wait list for a Commuter registration, a Vallombrosa registration or both.
  • you have questions about a registration you already hold.

Hospitalero Training
Tuesday, April 10 - Thursday, April 12, 2018
The Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos, Los Altos, California
Registration is now open! Click HERE to access the registration form.

Please check HERE for the prerequisites for taking the course..
If you have financial concerns that would prevent you from registering for hospitalero training, please be aware
that American Pilgrims has an Hospitalero Training Scholarship Program.
For details and to apply, please visit our Hospitaleros page

2nd Annual Chapter Coordinators’ Workshop
Registration by invitation to chapter coordinators
Wednesday, April 11 - Thursday, April 12, 2018
Vallombrosa Center

Current conditions in Menlo Park, California
Find more about Weather in Menlo Park, CA
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Average maximum and minimum temperatures for Menlo Park for April 13th are 69°F and 43°F.

You can always contact the Gatherings coordinators for general information about American Pilgrims annual Gatherings.

In March 2017, American Pilgrims on the Camino celebrated its 20th Annual Gathering of Pilgrims at the Calvin Center, a beautiful natural setting in Hampton, Georgia. The Gathering's theme was "Camino Community:  Past, Present, and Future." We kicked off the festivities with an energetic and interactive Flamenco presentation by Caló Gitano where everybody was on their feet discovering their inner Andalusian!

On Friday and Saturday, we continued to learn about Spain, the Camino, and pilgrimage with diverse topics such as pilgrimage as peace-building, the evolution of hospitality on the Camino, integrating the labyrinth into the Camino life, processing your Camino upon returning home and Dum Pater, the music of the Camino.  As always there were sessions devoted to the practical side of doing the Camino… Camino first aid, packing light and general Q&A. Chapter coordinators had plenty of opportunity to learn about American Pilgrims and interact with each other.  Finally, returned hospitaleros were able to make a full circle with their experience of giving back to the Camino.

As always there was plenty of time for personal interactions with other peregrinos, past and future… Some took part in the morning walks… Others shared heartfelt Camino stories in the Camino 5 x 5…. Some enlightened us with their Camino knowledge in our first ever trivia night… Yet others entertained us with their musical and dancing abilities! Finally, twelve soon-to-depart peregrinos received a shell and blessing in the wonderful outdoor Shell Ceremony.  

On Sunday, the Gathering concluded with three compelling speakers addressing spiritual matters involving kindness to oneself, what the body teaches us during pilgrimage and the idea of spiritual suffering.

The last 20 years has been an amazing journey for American Pilgrims and we look forward to the next 20 years.

There have been requests for transcripts and other material from the Gathering's fabulous speakers:

Plenary Sessions:
• Ian McIntosh:  Pilgrimage as Peace-Building on the Global Stage
• Linda Fitts:  Integrating the Labyrinth into the Camino Life - Transcript and handout
• Maryjane Dunn:  Will the real St. James Please Stand Up? The Pilgrim Community of the Liber Sancti Iacobi
• Rebekah Scott – Heading Our Way:  Future Trends in Camino Hospitality 
• Lynn Talbot: Whose Camino Is It?: Franco, Santiago, and the Way of St. James
• Martha (Marty) Stortz:  Carnal Knowing:  What the Pilgrim Body Teaches – Transcript
 Layla Karst: Imprints: A Pilgrim Spirituality of Suffering

Breakout Sessions:
• Yosmar Martinez, Stacy Witting and Russ Hall:  So you have a Camino manuscript… Now what?
• Jessica Swan:  Yoga on the Camino
• Cindy Day: Practicalities of Walking the Kumano Kodo 

¡Muchas gracias! to our friends from the Xacobeo organization in Galicia, Spain who have provided generous and continuing support for American Pilgrims Gatherings. Please visit their website (by clicking on their logo). It truly is an outstanding resource for pilgrims. And of course they are the definitive source for information on the Camino routes in Galicia.


Hospitalero training by American Pilgrims is always conducted in conjunction with the annual Gathering but in addition we offer other sessions throughout the year. Check the Hospitaleros page for further information.

Consider giving back to the Camino!. Those who have gone on from walking the Camino to serving as hospitaleros say that this experience often is even more rewarding than the Camino itself. For some insight into the sense of fulfillment, there is an interesting YouTube video about service that has snippets of interviews with the late Don José María of San Juan de Ortega, Don Jesús Jato of the albergue Ave Fenix and the Confraternity's Marion Marples.

For more information, see our Hospitaleros page.

In addition to the training offered by American Pilgrims, weekend courses are offered in Canada several times each year. Our Canadian friends or anyone who cannot make it to training offered by American Pilgrims might consider this alternative. Please see our Local/Regional Events page.

Rev 03/08/18