Each year in mid-May, families all around the island join in the celebration of Malojloj fiesta in honor of patron saint, San Isidro, or St. Isidore. During these celebrations, families participate in a traditional parade around the village with a statue of San Isidro. But who is this famous saint?
At a very young age, San Isidro started to work under John de Vergas, a rich landowner from Madrid. He worked dutifully under him for the rest of his life. He married future saint Maria de la Cabeza (pending canonization) at a young age and had a son who died as an infant.
Isidro was known to come late to the field because he would attend daily mass before his labors of the day, however, he never fell behind on his duties. It is said that the angels sometimes assisted him in his work in the fields. He was also known to bring home people who were hungry. One day he brought so many people home that his wife told him there was no more food in the pot, but he insisted she recheck, and when she did, she was able to feed everyone who had come that evening.
Isidro, along with his wife Maria, lived a life that exemplified true virtue of love for the land, the poor, and family. He is the patron saint of farmers, rural communities, Spain, and the United States National Rural Life Conference. His feast day is May 15.
Prayer: “God, through the intercession of St. Isidore, the holy farmer, grant that we may overcome all feelings of pride. May we always serve you with that humility which pleases you, through his merits and example.”
You can join San Isidro parish for their fiesta celebrations with novena and Mass scheduled on Sunday: 5:30 a.m. novena, 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Mass; Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday: 6 p.m. novena, 6:30 p.m. Mass; and Tuesday: 5:30 p.m. novena, 6 p.m. Mass.
The festal Mass will take place on Saturday, May 19, with the novena starting at 4 p.m. and Mass at 4:30 p.m., followed by a procession and the “Na’ Taotao Tumåno” at San Isidro Church in Malojloj. The carnival festivities, including the coronation of “rai,” or king, will take place at 6 p.m. The parade will take place the following day, Sunday, May 20 at 3 p.m.
Information and photo from Franciscan Media and Catholic Rural Life.