Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Confraternity Activities in Garganta la Olla

        Michael Kenny wrote in his book, A Spanish Tapestry: Town and Country in Castile that the cofrades carried wooden platforms on their shoulders upon which the figures of the honored saint were placed while they marched through the town. In the church each cofradia is represented in a certain section of the church. Then the captains of the cofradias present the priest with a monetary offering.  During this procession the parish priest and the cofradia captains walk together in the united purpose to honor the blessed Virgin or Mary the mother of Jesus. This shows unity with the local priest and unity in purpose with the cofradia brothers or cofrades.[1] Since the rules and regulations that governed the constitution of the cofradias were approved by the local catholic bishop, but regulated by the Catholic Church hierarchy, there must have been many similarities in the processions from city to city or town to town.
            In the 1743 cofradia books of Our Lady of the Rosary in Garganta la Olla, it was recorded that the members had responsibility to attend to the widows in the town, and to help the poor and/or members of their own cofradia with burial practices and clothing if they could not afford the cost. In that same year, they also described how they sold roscas or rings of bread made of wheat and oil and topped with honey and sugar, used especially in commemoration of the visitation of Our Lady of the Rosary on 2 July.[2] At this time, most citizens did not have an oven in their home to bake bread, so the cofradia had the bread baked in the central town oven and then sold the roscas as a service to the town members. This act shows another example of helping the needy by baking the bread in a common village oven.

[1] Michael Kenny. A Spanish Tapestry: Town and Country in Castile. (New York: Harper & Row, 1966),100-103.
[2] Iglesia Catolico, Parish of San Lorenzo Martir, Garganta la Olla, Caceres, Spain. Libros de Cofradia de Nuestra Senora del Rosario, 1527-1861, report for 1743, 23-25.