Perpignan, une procession religieuse et politique pour faire tomber la pluie

Faced with an unprecedented drought, the farmers of the Pyrénées-Orientales organized, on Saturday, a procession in honor of Saint Gaudéric, their boss, with the support of several municipal councilors of the national rally.

by Phillippe Gagnebet (Perpignan, Special Envoy)

A religious procession before a new meeting with the prefect on March 21. In the Pyrénées-Orientales, the agricultural world no longer knows which saint to dedicate itself to finally falling back, while the department remains affected by an exceptional drought, with a rainfall deficit of 70 % for the last months. In fact, the so -called gravity channel system, supplying municipalities and farms, is stopped due to the lack of water in the lakes and after a decision of the Montpellier administrative court of November 29, 2022, which calls into question the Water samples in the Têt, one of the three rivers in the department.

Faced with this exceptional situation, and the initiative of a Catholic farmer, Charles Puig, a procession bringing together about a thousand faithful walked the streets, Saturday March 18, to the Têt river, to celebrate Saint Gaudéric . For centuries, the relics – a reliquary bust and bones – of this peasant born around 820, author of miracles, were transported to the river to bring down the rain.

“Between the XIᵉ and the 19th century, the processions multiplied. At least eight hundred took place at the time of the revolution. Then the tradition was lost,” said Father Christophe Lefèvre, vicar of the Saint-Jean cathedral. If tradition had persisted in a few villages, it had been a hundred and fifty years since Perpignan had implored Gaudéric. Mr. Puig, also municipal councilor of the National Rally (RN) in Perpignan, says:

“It was by seeing the very low level of Lake Vinça, in early February, that I decided to contact the bishopric to relaunch the tradition of Saint-Gaudéric.”

“The municipality does not intervene in any place “

The farmer was able to count on the support of Jean-Luc Antoniazzi, Doctor of History and President of the Cultural association of the cathedral and the historic churches of Perpignan . And also responsible for relations with the bishopric within the same municipal council led by the mayor RN of the city, Louis Aliot. “This procession is only religious,” said the world Mr. Antoniazzi. If some of his assistants have paraded well, Mr. Aliot did not, for his part, come to celebrate Gaudéric, and his services specified the day before that “the municipality does not intervene in this demonstration”.

In the procession, Gérard Majoral, farmer in Thuir, former rugby player and member of the Chamber of Agriculture, says “Fucking that it is right or left, the important thing is that they are no longer the farmers who manage their water but technocrats and a myriad of state services “. “We were the first to save the resource and today we are prevented from irrigating, the profession is finished,” he adds.

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