IN a country gripped in the midst of a crippling pandemic, a shining beacon of hope has emerged from one boy’s dream to complete one of Spain’s most famous treks.
Alvaro Calventa, 15, and his father Ildefonso travelled from their home in Malaga to Galicia to take on the 60 mile Camino de Santiago.
The historic pilgrimage would take them from the town of Sarria, across some of northern Spain’s most stunning scenery before reaching their destination in Santiago de Compostela.
Calvente, who suffers from a mental disability, is highly religious and says he used inspiration from God to help him push through and take on the monumental challenge.
Alvaro was originally supposed to complete the trek with a group of his friends from the Parish of San Patricio in Malaga, yet due to the COVID-19 pandemic the trip was called off.
Not deterred, Alvaro, along with his father and long time friend of the family Paco Millán decided to accept the challenge themselves.
Álvaro has ‘the memory of an elephant’ and the idea of travelling to Santiago did not leave his mind said Ildefonso.
“We decided to do it ourselves. There were going to be fewer problems and impediments than being a larger group” he told ABC de Sevilla.
The teen set up a Twitter page dedicated to his trip and immediately gained traction online, amassing 1,500 followers in just 48 hours.
He even gained the attention of a Church leader in Argentina as well as former Mexican First Lady Margarita Zavala.
That was not all, a week after they returned home, none other than Pope Francis sent a personalised letter to Alvaro praising him for his gesture and dedication to the faith.
“Thank you, Alvaro, for being inspired to walk and inviting many others to walk with you,” the Pope wrote. “Amid the pandemic we are experiencing, with your simplicity, joy and humility, you were able to put into motion the hope of many of the people you met on the road or through social networks,” read the letter published on the Diocese of Malaga website.
“You went on pilgrimage and made many people go on their own journey alongside you, encouraging them not to be afraid and to recover their joy because, on the road, we never go alone. The Lord always walks beside us. Thank you for your testimony and prayers.”
Alvaro and his father dedicated their trek to all the people that have suffered and lost during the coronavirus pandemic.