On Sunday, the 19th of September, all went well. The blue sky and the shining sun gave life to the celebration, above all after the storms which had threatened this part of the country at the end of the summer.
The XIII International Festival started with the flag procession which entered into the Church, led by the United States, the host country and that of Spain, the mother land. The colors of the Latin-American countries came afterwards together with those of India and the Philippines. The faithful were filled with emotion to see their flags advance towards the presbytery, where they were placed for the celebration of the Mass.
The liturgy had a special flavor of patriotic enthusiasm as well as religious fervor. The priests Francisco Sigüenza, Dionisio Gutiérrez y Paco Legarra closed the procession and presided the solemn Eucharist from the altar. The choir and the faithful sung with more energy than ever the entrance hymn “America”.
In the homily the parish priest Paco Legarra commented that walking the main aisle, in place of the usual perfume of every Sunday he could smell the scent of the typical stews and fried foods of the faithful, and those still waiting in the various shops nearby. Like good administrators they wanted to gain friends who would open the gates of Heaven, following the example of the unfaithful administrator from the Gospel.
In the offertory children dressed with the typical costumes presented baskets with products from the different countries. Spontaneous smiles were painted on the faces of the faithful seeing the children walking with all seriousness towards the altar, very conscious that they were representing the countries of their parents.
After the mass the flags went out amongst applause towards the stage situated by the monastery of St. Nicholas, on which they were going to present the folklore attractions during the day. The different countries went offering songs and dances representative of the cultural richness of their respective lands.
The large public passed the various tables in order to choose what to eat. The choice was not easy, for every country offered the typical dishes at a very good price having all been prepared by the parishioners or donated by restaurants. The food was abundant, tasty and cheap. Many people, as well as lunch, took food for dinner of for the next day.
The festival finished with the raffle draw. The prizes stayed among the parishioners, although all those who had bought tickets had heaven guaranteed as a prize for their generous help.
When the Festival finished it was evident what had been done in the parish: the collaboration of all the people in order to collect the tables and chairs. The fraternal spirit is what is most evident in every parish celebration. When the municipal services collected the rubbish the same night everything looked so clean that it seemed impossible that thousands of people had passed by here.
Only the satisfaction to have worked so hard for the Lord could not disappear. That night the faithful of Holy Family will sleep better than ever; tired but happy to have made it possible that another year of the International Festival was wonderful.