Pray for rain: Spanish farmers maintain distinctive Mass amid drought Lalrp



L’ESPUNYOLA, Spain — When Josep Altarriba appears throughout his parched fields, the Spanish farmer can’t keep in mind a time of such widespread drought in Catalonia. If it doesn’t rain within the subsequent two weeks, he says there’s little likelihood of saving the harvest.

What will be performed? For the mountain villagers of L’Espunyola, the reply is divine intervention.

On Sunday, round 250 residents introduced again the pale follow of a particular Mass and procession to hope to Our Woman of the Torrents, an area virgin related to rainfall.

Underneath largely sunny skies, worshippers lifted the colorfully painted statue of the Woman of the Torrents from its place of prominence within the stone church. She was nestled onto a picket litter stuffed with inexperienced branches and hoisted aloft, then carried across the village adopted by the bishop and parishioners.

“It’s not a magic act, it’s an act of belief,” Bishop Francesc Conesa advised The Related Press.

Very low rainfall and excessive temperatures over the previous three years put Spain formally into long-term drought on the finish of final yr — which was Spain’s sixth driest and the most well liked since data started in 1961.

Catalonia, within the nation’s northeastern nook, is among the many worst-affected areas. Agrotourism and farming are the first sources of earnings for the 260 inhabitants of L’Espunyola, an hour and a half north of Barcelona.

“If it doesn’t rain inside two weeks, it’s very exhausting to say what may occur,” Altarriba, the farmer, stated after celebrating Mass.

Native councilor and firefighter Eduard Perarnau described the scenario as a final resort. The municipal authorities has restricted water utilization, asking farmers to restrict watering crops and bushes as a lot as doable.

All three reservoirs within the space are under a 3rd of their capability. The close by La Baells reservoir is right down to 25%, and in some locations solely a trickle of water cuts via the silt that was underwater.

The final time the village provided prayers and hymns to Our Woman of the Torrents was in 2008, native media reported. And it labored — residents stated the rains got here not lengthy after.

However this time, the bishop doesn’t assure success.

“We have now requested with religion, and many individuals have come and prayed with religion,” Conesa stated. “The Lord will give us what fits us.”

AP Author Raquel Redondo in Madrid contributed to this report.