Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter joy

For Good Friday services and the Easter Vigil Saturday, we were invited to the local parish church, Sagrada Familia, by our neighbor, Wilma. The celebrations were familiar, but with a definite Latino-Salvadoran flavor. On Friday, the veneration of the cross - the solemn moment when each member of the Congregation comes forward to kiss or touch the cross - must have lasted about 45 minutes - it's a big church, and every single person came forward. At the end of the service, the whole community moved out to begin the procession - this procession, taking place all over El Salvador, was the Entierro, a solemn joining with Mary on her journey to Jesus' entombment. It is the third of the three great processions that weave around the church services during the Triduum - the silent procession commemorating Jesus' arrest on Thursday, the Via Crucis Friday morning, and finally the funeral procession Friday afternoon. We walked for about 1 1/2 miles behind the images of Jesus taken down from the cross and Mary in mourning, each carried by a large group of parishioners. We left at that point, but the procession went on, probably for at least another mile, before ending up with the "burial" at the church.

On Saturday, we began in darkness, as at all Catholic churches, and brought the new light in with the kindling of the fire, lighting of the paschal candle, and lighting of our own candles as the priest proclaimed "Cristo nuestro luz." The readings were beautifully and simply proclaimed, the psalms beautifully sung, and just when it all seemed to be going on a bit too long and I began to get sleepy, the Gloria burst out, the purple curtain that had hidden the area behind the altar was pulled back, and there was Jesus risen, in white robes, flanked by flowers and lights, and all the lights went on and we all clapped like mad.

And so we sang "Resuscitó," Christ is Risen. The flavor and the style of celebration are different in each place, different in each part of the Christian family, but that moment of darkness yielding to light, sorrow and loss to joy, is central in all our hearts.

1 comment:

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    Happy Easter