On Holy Saturday I attended the Easter Vigil Service in the parish church at Castuera. When I had arrived in the hotel (on Holy Saturday afternoon) I had asked the time of the Easter Mass. I was told that it was all finished!! I insisted that it couldn’t be finished!! They assured me it was. But then they realised I was asking about the “Misa” (“Mass”), not the “processions”. They told me that the Easter Vigil Mass would be at 10.30pm and the Church would be open at 6.00pm. I looked up the parish on the internet, phoned the number, and the priest confirmed Mass at 10.30pm.
After a meal and a rest, later in the evening I walked back the 3kms into town.
I tried my luck at hitchhiking but was rebuffed!!! At 9.00pm the church doors were locked. The Town Square was virtually deserted. I asked one passerby about Mass, but he said he didn’t know. I asked another older man who as sitting on a bench and he said there was no Mass today, which another confirmed. I felt a bit desolated. Had I walked back all this way for nothing. I rang the parish priest, who assured me that Mass was at 10.30pm and the church would be open at 10.00pm.
Sure enough, at the appointed hour, the church opened. I made myself known to the parish priest, letting him know that I was a pilgrim and a priest from Australia. He immediately invited me to concelebrate with him. It was very kind of him. I happily agreed. He invited me to do the Exultet in English or Latin, as a sign of the Universal Catholic Church, speaking different languages, but since the people would not understand, I declined. Later he invited me to do a reading or a responsorial psalm in English. Again, I declined. But at his further invitation, I did pray the second half of the Eucharistic Prayer in English. I guess the congregation would have been accustomed to the Spanish text, so would have made their own translation as I recited the English!
It was a privilege to concelebrate the Easter Vigil. The priest and congregation prayed in Spanish. I followed the English text on my i-Pad.
It was one month to the day exactly since my brother, John, had died. I found the prayers and other texts of the Easter Mass consoling, that death was defeated, that the resurrection of Jesus is our hope and our life. May John’s spirit be enjoying eternal life to the full. Amen.
The parish priest was most generous and kind. He personally added a Prayer of the Faithful for me and for my parish. At the end of the Mass, he thanked me for being with them for the Easter Vigil and wished me well on the camino.
Before Mass I had asked if someone could drop me back at the hotel. I did not want to walk that distance out into the country in the dark on my own! A couple of men kindly volunteered and, when Mass finished just after midnight, they took me back, which was a great relief and a great kindness. I had a good sleep.