October 19th To Rome
Hi from my last night in Barcelona. I'm having a meal on an outdoor table at a restaurant, having earlier today been on a tourist hop on/off bus looking around Barcelona... see the photos if you wish.... and just having being to mass, the Saturday night vigil at the famous Gaudi Holy Family Church, La Famiglia Sagrada. Mass was celebrated in Catalan in the crypt and was a beaut mass, made so particularly by the welcome and connection with the people of the elderly priest. He said the opening 'Lord be with you ' in about eight languages, the final one being Latin, so I responded confidently with my 'et cum Spiritu tuo ', immediately giving away my age to o all around me. There was also a fine boys' choir, all treble voices with several of the boys having solo parts, for the psalm and acclamations, but the priest sang fully, and in that way encouraged us all. That's struck me in several places in France and Spain. Singing is used in the liturgy as the perfectly normal way of praying. There's no sense of going into a different gear for the sung parts. It might be something in the water here, but it's different.
There's a young French family sitting on the table next to me, Mum, dad and two beautiful kids, both daughters aged about 8 and 12. The children are both so polite and well behaved. The only thing spoiling the ambience is mum's cigarette. That's another thing I've noticed here, more young people, especially young women, seem to smoke. And lots of smokers use the new 'E cigarettes ' which are less harmful, I'm not sure how or why, but I can't say I noticed them in Australia.
I'm actually finishing this blog at the airport, waiting for my plane to Rome. There's a lady on the seat next to me in a full length black burka (can't spell it) burqa. I think I'll follow Amanda Vanstone's advice and strike up a conversation. But I'll try the husband first, one seat further away, just to be on the safe side.
I'm very much looking forward to Manziana and to having some company of the brothers again. I've been by myself now for over a month, having left on the walk on September 14th. So it will be good to see Mick Sexton's smiling face
Best wishes to all, and thanks again to Kath for helping with my blog. Michael