After Mass at Loyola

Bummer, sort of. The Day dawned beautifully here in Ignatius country, then the clouds rolled in. Breakfast was simple but filling. Well I was filled anyway. I snagged my first espresso of the day so my droopy eyelids popped wide open. The weather was pleasant enough for our stroll down the street to Ignatius’ home. Chad had arranged that we could tour the house in which Ignatius was born, gratis. When we arrived, I prepped myself to present the early life of Ignatius to the students. Luckily though, there were two young Jesuits passing through town as it were, one from California and the other from Omaha. Their names were Sam and Vince respectively . One of the girls commented on Sam’s appearance by saying, what a waste. Not sure what that means. I’ll leave it up to you.

I asked Sam to take over the tour rather than have the students listen to me ramble or the automated “Seamus” recording (I called him Seamus because he had a pronounced Irish accent. I really don’t know his real name.) Sam did a great job with question and answer style about the middle ages and about Ignatius. Our kids are very sharp and got into the banter in a good way, challenging Sam. We went to the rooms where Ignatius was born and finally sang in the room where he stayed while recovering from his horrendous battle injury. It was in this room that Ignatius had the first of his two conversions, the religious one. The room has since been turned into a chapel. Since we had the house all to ourselves, we decided to sing the “Our Father.” And we did. It was a moving experience as we all held hands and the kids began to sing. As an observer I totally lost it in the moment. I had heard this tune sung many many times, but it was at that precise moment of song, in that room, that moved me deeply. I will always remember that. It wasn’t a performance, it was personal.

Off to the beaches of San Sebastián even with the cloud cover. We arrived at what I will call “old town” with the typical narrow streets of a medieval city. Some of the kids went off to shop while others braved the Atlantic to go swimming. Some of their comments you can read below. From what I can gather, Josh,Eric, Ella, Shannon, Cecilia, Leah, Carlo and Zoe went swimming while Ashley dipped her feet in and Monica went wading. So no matter what the sky, it’s all about the water. They said they had a great time.

Here are some of the shout outs for today:

Ella: “Dad and Mom, guess what? I actually wore a swim suit and went into the water for more than an hour.”

Cecilia: “Don’t attempt to eat seaweed from the sea, it tastes nothing like the kind in the package.”

Josh: “San Sebastián was really fun. More people should have gone swimming.”

Shannon: “Hi to Jake”

Ashley: “To the family, I love you and see you soon.”

Gwen: “Can’t wait to see you.”

Carlo: “Havin’ fun.”

Zoe: “Surviving”

Bray: “Having fun. Can’t wait to see you on Sunday.”

Paolina: “Hi”

Eddie: “Still alive.”

Leah: “I’m sick, but very much alive.”

Gabe: “San Sebastián > Sonoma”

Christen: “Thanks mom and dad. Happy Birthday Caroline. Robert, I miss you, little bro.”

Monica: “Thank you for 3 years of nothing. Basque ≠ Spanish

Meghan: “Can’t wait to got to Virginia Beach with the fam. The water’s much warmer there.”

Eric: “Hi Kayla, Chris and Jackie, mom and dad, miss you and see you soon.”

By the time we returned to Loyola, we had time to get ready for the Mass in the Basilica. The Mass itself was short and all in Basque. The attendees applauded after the first hymn. I guess they thought it was a concert rather than a liturgy. But we’ll take applause where we can get it. As I have come to appreciate from these kids, the singing in the 17th century church was beautiful . After Mass the kids were invited to climb up the stairs of the rotunda and walk around. What they did was position themselves around the rotunda wall and sang a few more songs from their library. It was great. If you came into the church at that moment you wouldn’t have guessed where the sound was coming from unless you looked up into the dome. There they were. It was terrific. Bray got to play the organ in the basilica and performed a fugue. Again, he got a thunderous applause from the rest of us.

What a night!

Then to a basque dinner at a local off-the-beaten-path eatery. We invited Sam and Vince to join us and Sam impressed us with his knowledge of “The Office.” Ah, higher education. Lots of noise and lots of laughter and another impromptu song sung for the owners of Sinazpi Kaferegia. All in all it was a great afternoon and evening. Tomorrow we head to our last stop, Bilbao before flying back to California on Sunday morning. Seems like Venice was a hundred years ago…and Paris? Wow, when did that happened?

Pictures coming to Facebook and Flickr soon.

So until tomorrow…From Bilbao…

and so we sang….