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Villalba: The Rebirth of a Church



I’ve been travelling for the last few weeks with Gina Mastrosimone, and we’ve come to Villalba to meet her Sicilian family for the first time, most of whom now live in France. We’re here on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

The mix of languages is fascinating, an Italian-French-Sicilian soup, rarely a complete sentence leaving anyone’s mouth that isn’t a concoction of the three (Of the three, Gina and I only speak Italian, a fact that never seems to stop anyone but us).




After the morning mass the nature of my bicycle trip slips out and it’s decided I’m to cook dinner with Giuseppina, widely, widely regarded as the best cook in town. We buy groceries but avoid the butcher, as we’re to skip meat until Saturday. Outside the butcher’s window, I photograph the drops of dripping lamb’s blood on the granite slab.
We empty our arms onto the kitchen table and leave to attend mass in the city’s main church, which is still under restoration. It’s the first time that an entire generation has the seen the building open, a fact that escapes no one.

The empty church cast a feeling that I don’t know I’ll ever shake.

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