You’re greeted in Carrion by a Peregrino Statue with a guitar slug around his neck. He also sports a sign advertising “Concert 7:00!”
I was fortunate enough to stay at the Alburgue run by a small community of young Augustinian nuns, that adjoins the 13th century church.
At 6:00 they gathered everyone into the foyer of the Alburgue, about 50 people sitting on the floor and up the open stairs. One nun played guitar and sang, another had a drum, and they led us in two rousing songs. Everyone sang! Then they invited us to share a song or other talent. They had invited some local teenagers to go first (very smart!). Two girls sang “You’re going to miss me when I’m gone,” while each one moved and tapped a plastic cup…they were in sync with each other, and it was classic teenage girl stuff. Made me think of youth group at Trinity. Then young Korean guest sang a song, a Spanish guy sitting next to me read a poem, and then a Spanish guy stood up and asked one of the nuns to dance. She said yes, put up here hand and said, “no fotos, no video!” The guitarists played a Spanish folksong, and the nun and the Spanish man danced a classic folk dance with clapping and turning, a little like Flamenco. It was wonderful.
Each of us introduced ourselves and said why we were on the Camino. I was the only American and only English speaker there, but not the only one over 50. I said I was walking to say “thank you for my life,” and everyone nodded. I t was humbling to realize, yet again, that most people speak my language, but I don’t speak theirs.
From there we went next door to the classical guitar concert in the church. Gina met me there. Bach and Brahms on two guitars. It was the perfect pairing with the gold reredos and Romanesque arches.
After a breather in the square, Gina and went back in for Mass, and Pilgrim blessing. The Mass is so beautiful in Espanol. I can’t understand all the words, but I know what’s going on, and as a priest, it’s lovely to experience it in another language.
There were two priests that evening, and they called all the Pilgrims to the front. Our Flamenco dancing nun spoke with an English translation about how each of us is a unique star made by God. The sisters had made paper stars to give to each of us. The priests invited us to come forward for an individual laying on of hands while the nuns played guitar and sang. We were in tears. So beautiful. And they do that every night for the pilgrims passing through.