It has been a black day in Santiago. As the bells of the Cathedral struck 9am I opened the green doors of the Pilgrims Office to welcome a long queue of pilgrims who wanted to arrive on the day of the Feast of St James. Instead of the usual euphoria the line shuffled forward in silence. One pilgrim said, "Like us, those people on the train were coming to celebrate the Feast...they were pilgrims too...our sisters and brothers". And so as they received their Compostelas with the most auspicious of dates they remembered those for whom there would be no certificate. Not in this life.
I'm simply posting this short message to thank all of you who have e mailed. Thank you.
This afternoon I went home to change and I got into the lift with the lady who lives next door. "This is terrible John," she said with tears in her eyes. "bad things never happen here". And it is true. Santiago is the safest of cities. Violent crime is almost unheard of and a burglary is front page news. Yet here is this tranquil medieval city caught up in a national tragedy.
All of thoughts must be with those who have died or are injured and those who love them. As my neighbour got out of the lift she shook her head still in disbelief. "Sometimes all you can do is pray."
And so we shall.