CORIA CACERES, Spain, August 13, 2011—World Youth Day (WYD) delegates from the Dioceses of Malolos, Bulacan and San Fernando, Pampanga were lucky to be assigned to a parish celebrating its patron’s feast day.
Seven pilgrims from Malolos, led by Fr. Angelito Santiago, were assigned to the parish of Mata de Alcantara, whose church, Sta. Maria de Gracia, celebrated the feast of its patron, San Lorenzo de Mata de Alcantara on August 10.
Santiago’s group, together with eight delegates from San Fernando, attended a noontime Mass at the Sta. Maria de Gracia, were Santiago and two other Filipino priests concelebrated the mass with the parish priest.
Santiago described the parish’s invitation to the Filipino delegates to grace the Mass as a formal welcoming to the group by their community.
The day before the feast day, Santiago’s group were also brought to the town plaza to watch a traditional bull fight. The locals brought the Filipino delegates to the show for free entrance admission.
“It was my first time to personally watch a bull fight where the animal is being teased and bullied by the locals. In our province, the carabaos are adorned with garlands and flowers during the feast of San Isidro Labrador and they go into a procession during the feast,” said Brian Antonio, one of the pilgrims.
“But despite the cultural difference, I respect their tradition because that’s their own,” he added.
The pilgrims from Malolos and San Fernando also got to watch, for free, a theatre show titled “Mujeres de Shakespeare” at the Conventual de San Benito.
“The language barrier was a significant factor that hindered us from fully appreciating the show but because of Spanish words similar with ours, I was able to understand a little,” said Mary Whilssy Candelaria.
Santiago’s group and the rest from the ECY-Philippines delegation will stay at their host parish until August 13 for the days in the diocese. The host parish will send them off to Madrid in a send-off or despedida on August 14 and they will go back to Madrid on August 15 for the week-long WYD celebration at the capital. (YouthPinoy)