|St Roch - a "horrible" church|
We took a taxi from our hotel but our driver was a little taken aback at our request of destination:
"Sao Rocque" he said: "That's a horrible church, nothing to see there, no one ever goes and, anyway, it's closed".
Hmm.....a bit of a shock to say the least. We did not have much time to spare and now our plans were thrown into chaos.
Our driver then went on to explain that there was a most beautiful church close to that of Sao Rocque and that he would take us there.
Some 15 minutes later we were proceeding past a rather grand looking church with crowds of people outside. the doors were wide open.
"What is the name of that church?" we enquired.
Without further ado Mrs Linen had tapped him on the shoulder with her parasol and commanded him, Lady Thatcher style, to stop the cab and to allow us to alight.
He grudgingly obliged and, as we paid him off Mrs L came up with the punch line:
"Well, who are we going to believe, our intellectual son or this (word deleted)" Actually, there was no 'beep', Mrs L does not use bad language (usually). But she was, of course, dead right.
Walking back towards this rather grand church ("horrible") we saw crowds of people outside ("no one goes there") and the doors wide open ("it's closed").
And, of course, on entry we were completely taken aback by the outstanding beauty of this church.
Gilt baroque at its finest, wherever you looked. It made even the most beautiful of Welsh or English churches look plain and puritanical.
The sight of so much art and beauty dedicated to the glory of God made the heart soar but, even with a wonderful sanctuary and an ad orientum marble altar, there was still the now mandatory protestant table at the forefront for the celebration of the new Mass.
Back in Pembrokeshire we have a village named after this saint, although, presumably, in Reformation fashion the "St" prefix has been dropped. I now would like to visit the small church there to see what the connection is. In England's Cornwall there is yet another village dedicated to the saint. 'Rock' is now a very popular tourist destination for the "Rupert and Fiona" classes.