With a real live Basque Jesuit in Azpetia
Brilliant morning after a great night with the Spaniards from Madrid. After a good breakfast at Hotel Loiola we bussed it to the Basilica of Ignatius to sing the noon Mass for the locals. The Mass was in Basque, the language of the region. It was attended by mostly older people. The priest, who by the way had a great voice and could not have been more hospitable. I had to keep pinching myself to realize where we were. Castle Loyola…wowsers. Before the Mass we said our good-byes to Lisby who flew out of Bilbao to London to meet her family.

The kids, tired and really worn out as they were really rose to the occasion and sang a beautiful, inspiring and for me, moving Mass. The Mass and music was dedicated to S.I. grad Jill Costello, ’06 who passed away earlier this week way too early. I hope the family felt the prayerful way our kids sang 7,000 miles away at the home of the original “Wildcat.” I wish everyone was there to hear the music. What a gift!

Their last song of the tour (from the tomb to the womb) was “Let thy Holy Spirit” a Russian tune, and one of my favorites. The music soared into the dome of the Basilica like a prayer to heaven. Wimp as I am, I was in tears. After the song was over and the last strains headed for the heavens, there was a brief moment of silence followed by a standing ovation from the church goers. Great way to end a beautiful journey from the rooms of Ignatius to his birthplace.

I was honored and humbled to be a small part of this journey. The other adults, Alia, Anne, Sue, Angela and Dr. Mike, I believe felt the same way. It was a joy to watch Chad weave his magic and bring out the best in the kids over and over. Tired as they were, they gave the gift of song to all who heard them. I am grateful for the opportunity to have witnessed this.

After the Mass we journey to our last stop, Bilbao, the birthplace of the great Jesuit General, Pedro Arrupe. We ended the tour with a wonderful dinner at La Tagliatella Ristoranti in Bilbao. (written at Barcelona)

Day – 14 Travel – Home (Written on my porch in Pacifica)

4.15 a.m. wake-up to trek to the Bilbao airport and a quick flight to Barcelona. We broke up into our “minder” groups to make sure everyone checked in and was ready to go.

Hop to Barcelona and say good-bye to Juliet as she travels with her brother to France. Another hop to Heathrow with the rest. My six charges and myself (The Magnificent 7) were going to split from the group and fly direct to SFO. The others were going by the Louis and Clark route of London to Houston to SFO arriving sometime tonite around 11 pm. We arrived at 5 p.m. Long flight, but we made it.

So much to reflect on from this tour and looking at the pictures will help with that. I loved it and wished that everyone heard the exception gift of song our kids gave in Rome and Spain. You all would have been so proud of your kids.

…and so it goes….