EASTON — Joe Gelly and Eddie Alicea recently made a pilgrimage that many only dream of. 

They trekked the French Way of the Camino de Santiago, an ancient religious pilgrimage walked by 350,000 people each year. 

For more than a thousand years, the Camino de Santiago — the Way of St. James culminating at the tomb of the apostle St. James the Greater in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela — has deeply inspired Christians from around the world. The trek is a haven for prayer and self-reflection and serves as a reminder that the slow and deliberate journey is often as deeply meaningful as the destination. 

Joe Gelly, left, and Eddie Alicea spent six weeks on the French Way of the Camino de Santiago, beginning in France and ending in Spain. Together, they raised nearly $29,000 to help support My Brother’s Keeper in Easton.

Joe and Eddie’s hike began in St. Jean-Pied-De-Port in southern France, before traversing the Pyrenees Mountains and continuing through La Rioja region and along the rolling hills of northern Spain.

Joe and Eddie finished their pilgrimage on October 12 after six weeks on the trail, finishing at the burial place of St. James.

 The two raised nearly $29,000 in support of My Brother’s Keeper’s Easton Building Project. 

In addition to their personal motivations, Joe and Eddie decided to make their pilgrimage even more profound by taking this opportunity to raise funds for My Brother’s Keeper, a Christian ministry that provides food, furniture, and Christmas assistance to local families and individuals in need — free of charge and without prerequisites. 

Joe shared his thoughts as he was approaching the end of the pilgrimage: “Along the way, they found a deep appreciation for all we have been blessed with in life. The feeling is bittersweet as we approach the end of our pilgrimage. Our bodies are exhausted, we miss our friends and family dearly, but the Camino community and shared experience in Christ’s name will be hard to leave behind. We can feel the strong Faith around us and will miss the hundreds of pilgrims who never hesitated to do the right thing and help each other, no questions asked, every step of the way.”

Donations in honor of Joe and Eddie’s pilgrimage will support the charity’s Easton Building Project – major renovations that will significantly strengthen the organization’s ability to deliver furniture, food, Christmas gifts, and most importantly, the love and hope of Jesus Christ, to struggling families. Over the next 20 years, the renovations will enable My Brother’s Keeper to complete 167,000 additional deliveries, worth $53,000,000, helping local families in need. 

The Lynch Foundation has generously offered to match every dollar raised through this important initiative! 

To learn more about My Brother’s Keeper or to request assistance please visit their website at www.MyBrothersKeeper.org or call 508-238–7512. 

A full photo gallery of their trip can be viewed at https://www.mybrotherskeeper.org/the-camino/