Witnessing tradition


There is a special relationship between Catholicism and tradition that I had the opportunity to witness in Toledo, Spain. It was something truly beautiful that I feel I would not have appreciated if I had not taken my Spanish Culture and History class. Additionally, it was all very unexpected and I never thought that I would get to a city like Toledo and be able to experience something historical. When I arrived in Toledo, I was under the assumption that my day would be spent walking around appreciating the centuries old architecture, small shops, and museums rich with stories of another time. However, I was lucky enough to be able to walk into the Cathedral that day before they closed it to the public. Low and behold, I attended the mass in celebration of Toledo naming and passing the torch to the next bishop.

Unfortunately, I later learned that the last bishop of Toledo had passed and the city had been honoring his death for some time. He was also mentioned in a loving manner throughout the ceremony of the new bishop. To preface, it takes some time before there is a change of power for bishops. Usually bishops only step down when they are sick or they have passed, so it was very unlikely that I was able to witness something so rare. The Toledo Cathedral was built in the 13th century so these ceremonies have been happening for centuries. In the old days, many government officials, nobles, and royalty came to witness the change of power. Although Spain is no longer a monarchical government, they still extended the invitation of having government officials and important people at the ceremony who also wanted to witness the event. I was very honored to have been able to celebrate alongside them.

However, what I felt was most touching was the humbleness and appreciation of each priest and bishop who had appointed the new bishop. Each gave an excerpt of how they met him and how they have seen him grow into the person he is today. They all mentioned that he above all, was perfect to be the next bishop because he led his life by loving other people the way God does. When it was his turn to speak, I knew that everyone who spoke on his behalf was absolutely right. He thanked us all, and spoke about everyone who had shaped his love for God which I think spoke volumes about his character. At the end, he gave his final vows to the Church and the ceremony ended with receiving the eucharist. However, people lingered for a while and stayed to talk to one another. It was a very wholesome experience and I hope to visit more Cathedrals and understand their history more in depth to appreciate the tradition and culture of Spain.