Monday, 17 May 2010
San Isidro & the Tourists
We do this every mid-May, and every year the marching Moratinians are avidly photographed and followed ´round behind the saint by a crowd of passing pilgrims. I always invite the strangers to come inside for the Mass, but almost all of them tell me No Thanks, they have to be somewhere else very soon.
Which is to say, "I am on a pilgrimage. I don´t have time for church."
Outside in the plaza the pilgrims flowed past. Some sat down a while, nosed around looking for the bar that is not here. I held my little plate of goodies and sipped my vino and wondered... out there among them were the two Polish pilgrims who´d accepted the invitation to Mass. They ought to be in here, I thought... But it would be presumptuous of me to invite them. Sure, the food was paid-for from our community fund, and nobody in the room would really mind. They expect that kind of thing from me. Maybe. But I still am an outsider, you know. It´s one thing inviting these strangers to our own house, but to have them share in the town´s bounty? Hmmm.
Celestino filled up my glass again. I turned my attention away from the pilgrims outside, and onto the friendly faces in the room, the happy chatter.
Maybe it was the wine. Maybe it was just practicality, seeing as all of us had eaten and drunk our fill, and there was still plenty of food on the plates and wine in the bottles... But somehow, someone (I suspect Milagros, who is a natural hospitalera) went out and brought in the two Polish Christians, and put glasses into their hands. I translated, and we learned they´d walked here all the way from Posnan. And soon Bruno and Daniel, our Italian hospitaleros, found some fellow Brescian Italians out there on the plaza. They came inside and joined in the hubbub and chorizo. We were chattering away in three or four languages, with pilgs mixing perfectly well with the locals, about 30 people packed into a room made for maybe 20. It was a fine event, and it likely made those pilgrims´ days.
The poor of Jesus... or the pilgrims of Santiago. Maybe even tourists, people poor in Jesus?
Somehow we had enough to share with them. No one went away hungry.