Thursday, 1 July 2010

Pillar of the Church

People seem to prefer it when I write about local stuff, rather than ranting on about politics and the like. I don't blame them.

So. The church of Santo Tomas, in our village has been on my mind recently.

This Sunday, I took myself off to Mass alone, Reb being cheerfully flooded near Pamplona. (see her fine blog) As I entered, a neighbour grabbed me and said 'Go and see if you can help Don Santiago (the priest). So I did. He had a tall, scruffy old geezer in the sacristy with him, with shoulder-length whitish hair and a scraggly beard a foot long, at least. He looked very bogus to me.
'He's a priest, I think,' said Santiago.'Can you talk to him? He has no Castellano.' Well, no, I couldn't. The old fellow spoke only French. But somehow, we all agreed that he would 'co-consecrate, or whatever, the Mass.
It went OK, except, that at one point, Santiago handed him the book and he read the wrong bit very nicely and made us all smile. We suppose he was a priest. Could have been a Satanist, for all we knew. Oh, well.

It struck me that here was a good argument for saying the Mass in Latin, like when I was a boy. Except that I am greatly in favour of the Mass in the vernacular. Provided that it is in a foreign language.

On Wednesday, it was our turn to keep the church open during the day for the passing pilgrims. My task alone with Reb still away. A group of four French pilgs showed up in the morning. Perfectly polite. Wanted sellos. No Spanish of course. Alone among pilgrims of every nation, the French, when I pass them on the Camino and say 'Buenos dias,' stubbornly reply 'Bonjour.' Go figure. No good at football either.

The point is, the two men in the said party both were wearing shorts that were so brief they might have been swimming trunks. Oddly, the women were dressed OK. I must be getting older and crankier than even I suspected. I said nothing. But I thought it was near indecent. I am getting more Spanish by the day, I suppose. I even change out of my own shorts, that I wear within the sheltering walls of the house, into jeans to leave and go 300 yards to the bodega to get a bottle or two of wine.

Still, I quite enjoy the weekly stint at the church. Tim comes along and sits with me. When pilgs come in, he goes and sits by them and puts his head in their laps to be petted. They think he is a sort of holy dog, sent to greet them. But he and I know that once a pilg gave him half a sausage. Hope springs eternal in the Spaniel breast.


Laura said...

I don't mind the political rants, but I loved this particular entry. Thank you.

Also love the photo on Rebekah's blog of you and the dogs - as for Tim being a holy dog...I think that goes without saying, and I haven't even met him yet.

CaroleH said...

How wonderful that your village is keeping the church open. Tho I do understand the necessity of locking up it's constantly annoying; churches should be the first place to give shelter to pilgs when storms are raging, or anytime.?? Good on Moratinus and you guys.

Lovely post. Thanks.

Lesley said...

Tim is a holy dog indeed! Thank you for this beautifully written post. Reading it I felt as if I were there.