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The priest of San Juan de Ortega (D. José Maria has died)


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Muere José María Alonso Marroquí

El Camino de Santiago ha sufrido este fin de semana una gran pérdida. El párroco de San Juan de Ortega durante los últimos treinta años ha fallecido a los 81 años de edad. El funeral, hoy lunes a las 17 h en su pueblo natal, Fuentebureba.

Tras de sí deja una ruta jacobea transformada y revitalizada. Allí estuvo D. José María acogiendo peregrinos desde mucho antes de que llegara el Xacobeo o el Papa Juan Pablo II. También acogió con cariño en varias ocasiones, a un servidor realizador de Y a miles de peregrinos, de la misma manera desde que llegó a San Juan de Ortega hasta esta misma semana, con el mismo espíritu y con todo su esfuerzo y dedicación.

Se lleva la Medalla de Oro de la Federación de Asociaciones de Amigos del Camino en 1999, el nombramiento de Colegiado de Honor del Colegio de Aparejadores y Arquitectos Técnicos de Burgos (San Juan de Ortega es su patrono), el Hito Jacobeo en 2007 de la Asociación de Amigos de Burgos o aquella estampa de 2004 recogiendo con varios jacobeos más el Premio Príncipe de Asturias de la Concordia. Y, por supuesto, todo el cariño y la admiración de miles de peregrinos.
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Perhaps Ivar can send a message of condolence on behalf of all the Forum members. He will be fondly remembered by all of us who had the opportunity to enjoy his wonderful garlic soup!
Even though I did not like my night spent at the albergue of San Juan de Ortega I have good memories of my time spent in that town chatting with the priest, Don Jose Maria while eating 2 bowls of his garlic soup and attending his mass, in one of my favorite churches of the Camino. He became one of my Camino characters. He told me he has not been able to attract a priest to take over for him and wondered about the future of that church.
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We´re trying to angle a way for Patrick to attend the Mass. He may go with Don Blas from Fuenterroble, who usually presides or concelebrates these kinds of services. Paddy can rep for all of us distant English-speaking cybernauts. (I´d do it, but I´ll be hospitalero-ing in Salamanca.)

I wonder what will happen now. José Maria´s sister, who helped him run the place, steadfastly refused all kinds of help when it was offered, saying "Somos dos."

Now that she´s "una sola" I wonder what will be done with her... she´s well into her 70s.
There was talk a couple of years ago of turning the old monastery (now the rundown pilgrim hostel) into a fancy hotel, and the bishop asked a few pilgrim organizations to consider staffing the place if it stays a pilgrim hostel. It was agreed later to hold all plans long as Jose Maria was still around.

Any word on how the place is being run these days?
there are press reports that the Archdiocese and an organisation called the Fundación DIPER, with the Junta also contributing financially, have signed an accord to redevelop the buildings, partly to continue to support pilgrims, partly as a hospederia for retreats and that sort of thing, and partly as a support centre for the terminally ill. Here's a report from a local radio station ... &sid=18914
Vaya con Dios Padre Jose Maria!

My stay as a Pilgrim was enhanced by you. Thank you for all your work to revive the Camino so that so many of us might experience the hospitality of God.
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In 2002 I asked for D Jose Maria's garlic soup recipe. Here it is.

Day old bread
olive oil
garlic (chopped)
beef stock
2 eggs (stirred in)
There is an interview with D Jose Maria on the youtube Video of "Welcome" (It is at 2.12 mins)

There are other hospitaleros on this video, Jesus Jato from Ave Fenix, Tomas of Manjarin, the ANFAS albergue - and I especially love the scenes where the hospitalero washes the feet of the pilgrims at St. Nicolas refuge.

And another of D. Jose Maria here:
sillydoll said:
In 2002 I asked for D Jose Maria's garlic soup recipe. Here it is.

Day old bread
olive oil
garlic (chopped)
beef stock
2 eggs (stirred in)

Thank you kindly for supplying the recipe. For our Easter Sunday lunch, here in the presbytery of the Holy Ghost Catholic parish in south London, we had sopa de ajo today using Don Jose Maria's recipe and in his memory. Just boil up the ingredients as quoted above and it works out exactly as he used to serve it, with that slightly gelatinous texture.

Tip: keep the garlic in whole cloves, then you can fish it out before serving.

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Now I know his name. From my journal (July 17, 1988):

"Travelled today with the four Belgian girls I met last night in San Juan de Ortega. Spent most of the time with Ingrid who wanted to practice her English and was much more friendly than the other three. Last night the priest at San Juan de Ortega cooked us bread soup and Spanish tortilla- then, after a few porrones of vino, one of the group of Spanish guys pulled out a guitar and sang songs in Gallego. Overall, a very enjoyable night."

I've been thanking Don Jose Maria ever since, though I never knew his name until now.
Telluridewalker said:
From my journal (July 17, 1988): "Last night the priest at San Juan de Ortega cooked us bread soup..."

It is good of you to remind us of José María Alonso Marroquí on this Forum, a year after he died. Did you see the You Tube clip mentioned earlier in this thread?

You may be interested to know it is from the film "Within the Way Without" (DVD from the Confraternity of St James); an excellent film which I recommend to anyone who loves the Camino Frances.


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