None of them knew anything about him, they genuinely had never heard of him! Today while continuing to teach the story of Philip II and the Spanish Armada, we were drawing galleons and there were questions about the shapes of crosses on the sails. I explained one of the shapes as the cross of Santiago de Compostela, and I asked them why the cross of Santiago would have been seen by the Spanish sailors as a good thing to have on their sails. The children looked at me blankly. I thought for one horrible moment that they must be very skilled at winding up their teachers…
“Come on!” I urged them. “Who is the patron saint of Spain…?”
“Sant Jordi?” asked one twelve year-old fan of Barca football club, tentatively.
“No!” I cried, exasperated and obviously now losing all credibility with my class for mentioning religion at all… “Santiago es el santo patrono de Espana, chicos!”
Oh. So what? Who cares? They had no idea what a patron saint was, except it must be something to do with the church. And that doesn’t interest them at all, just as it didn’t interest their parents, and it has no significance whatsoever in any aspect of their lives or education. This, in once fiercely Catholic Spain.
The mission must be to speak a language people can understand or become a minority of self-serving liturgists, who selfishly rehearse their beautiful Masses in a vacuum, while the next generation has not even heard that there is a Catholic faith, nor have the basic Christian culture to know the symbolism of the messages the secular world sends them, which are often from the very devil! The mission will be lost for as long as the “churchy” people speak their own rarified language. Get out there, and cease the buggerall battle of the bloggers. A waste of energy in cyberspace is just what the Father of Lies finds useful at this time!
As for me, I’ll just quietly keep telling the kids about the things nobody else thought to tell them. Maybe their grandmothers – at least – may be glad when they hear that a teacher has mentioned to their little ones the unmentionable name of the patron saint of Spain…