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Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

Una muestra (a sample) from another sublime Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday) in San Antonino Castillo Velasco.

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Under the lavender canopy of jacaranda, Jesús (wearing his red cape) and his burro enter the church courtyard laden with the rich bounty of the village.

More to come…

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Jesus and Mary up close and in color from their Viernes Santo (Good Friday) morning meeting in front of Oaxaca’s Cathedral.

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I know, some photos just beg for a caption.  Once all the Marys and Jesuses had gathered, prayers had been recited, and rituals performed, they all processed back to their home churches to rest up for the evening’s Procession of Silence.

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… including Soledad.  Since she was going my way, I walked her home.

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And, yes, she made it back to the Basilica safe and sound.

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A few Viernes Santo (Good Friday) favorites from the morning’s encounter between Jesús and María in front of the Cathedral.

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Faces that have become familiar.

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Good Friday morning, the streets of Oaxaca are quiet, and solitude seems to be the order of the day.  The only sounds that could be heard coming from the streets in my ‘hood were prayers being sung as Our Lady of Solitude left her eponymous home at the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad.

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As you can see, alone, Oaxaca’s patron saint was not; acolytes carried and accompanied her on her morning stroll.

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A crystal clear, brilliant blue sky provided a backdrop for her sojourn.

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Slowly she made her way down Independencia en-route to the Cathedral.

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She was one of the first to arrive at this ritual Viernes Santo gathering.

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The guys took over and maneuvered her into position at the side of the Cathedral, as the faithful awaited.

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There, she would soon be joined by other images of the Santísima Virgen and Jesús from many of the numerous churches in the Historic District.

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After at least two hours of prayers and songs and more prayers, Soledad returned to the Basilica, perhaps to rest (like me) before again taking to the streets for this evening’s Procession of Silence.

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And so, Viernes Santo began…

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Processions from churches in the Historic District began at 7:00 AM.

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They converged at the Alameda, on the south side of the Cathedral,

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where “our Lord meets his most Holy Mother going towards Calvary.”

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The faithful, now as one, then proceeded east on Independencia…

People dragging wooden crosses

along with the images of Mary and Jesus…

Statues of Mary and Jesus

stopping along the way at Stations of the Cross.

Septima Estacion - altar on outside stairs

I left at 9:30 AM — they were still going.  Early this evening, all will again gather for the Procession of Silence.  No rest for the faithful or weary bloggers!

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The Semana Santa poster said the Viernes Santo (Good Friday) Procesión del Silencio was to begin at 6 PM in front of .  Knowing the drill, I arrived at 4:45 to take photos as contingents and participants arrived — but nobody was there.  The old antiwar slogan, “What If They Gave a War and Nobody Came” came to mind.

Of course it was going to happen, it’s just that time isn’t what it seems here. Word on the scene had it that, despite the poster info, it wasn’t to begin until 6:30 PM.  No worries!  Well, except that Mexico doesn’t begin Daylight Saving Time until next weekend, the light began rapidly fading, and 6:30 PM became 7 PM.  Por favor, let Oaxaca’s 27th annual Parade of Silence begin!

And it eventually did — up Macedonio Alcalá, left at the Cruz de Piedra, left again on García Vigil to Independencia, another left, and back up the Alcalá.  And so, in darkness and silence the procession returned to the church where it all began.  Contingents could be heard late into the night parading through the streets of the city, as they returned the Jesuses and Marías to their respective home churches.

Lots more photos can be seen over at Oaxaca-The Year After.

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The back of the official 26th anniversary t-shirt for the Good Friday, Procesión del Silencio, doesn’t come close to telling the tale.

Back of T-shirt: Face of Jesus; text "1986 Procesion del silencio 2012"

Images of belief add texture to the ritual procession of mourners grieving the crucifixion and death of Jesus, as related in the New Testament of the Christian Bible.

Close up of a bleeding Jesus head and torso on a cross

But it’s the eyes of believers…

purple hooded face with only eyes showing

that gives the narrative a silent voice.

Virgin Mary statue with halo from shoulders up.

And, grieving mothers everywhere understand.

Profile of a woman wearing black veil and glasses.

No matter where one lands on the belief continuum, it’s hard not to be moved.

(ps)  For lots more terrific photos, take a look at Chris’s posting, The Procession of Silence.

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Man in purple hood, leaning against large wooden cross.

Mary with praying over Jesus

Jesus seated; head leaning on hand; on arm resting on knee

In front of Preciosa Sangre de Cristo Templo on Viernes Santo (Good Friday), waiting for the Procesión del Silencio (Procession of Silence) to set off up the Álcala, down Garcia Vigil, and back up the Álcala to Sangre de Cristo.

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Yesterday, under a full moon…

and clutching our “pan bendito” (blessed bread), we began our pilgrimage.  Jueves Santo (Holy/Maundy Thursday) tradition calls for visiting 7 churches (la visita de las siete casas) in the city with one’s pan bendito, which must be kept to offer to guests, should any grace our doorstep.  This all relates back to Jesus’s Last Supper, which this date commemorates.

3 buns on a plate

First stop was the nearby Templo de San José, where palm fronds were also distributed and believers used them to brush up and down the statue of Jesus.  Hands also ran down his legs and then were used to touch one’s face.

After emerging from the side door of the jam-packed church, we set off for Templo de San Felipe Neri (whose picturesque dome can be seen (left of center) on my blog banner-head).

Altar with candles and lights.

Next stop was Carmen Abajo

Altar with JHS on banner above altar

followed by the far right side chapel of the La Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción.  A plaque at the entrance of the chapel read, “El maestro esta aqui y te llama” (The teacher is here and calls you) and the multitude seemed to be heeding the call.

Altar with red banners reading, "De este pan no morirá; El pan de vida eterna"

We then strolled across the zócalo to the Jesuit, Templo de la Compañía de Jesus.

Altar with candles and flanked with yellow and white floral arrangements

We changed direction and headed north up the Álcala.  Big mistake!  A mosh pit (Chris, this WAS a mosh pit) surrounding a Tuna band that was playing in the middle of the street, causing gridlock and bringing us to an abrupt stop.  Eventually, following our blocker (my son, the lineman would be proud), we eventually found light and continued up to Preciosa Sangre de Cristo Templo, where we had earlier spent 1-1/2 hours (and it was still going on when we left!) at a mass where the priest reenacted Jesus washing the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper.

God in a cloud above a lamb on an altar, draped in red cloth.

Strolling across the Álcala to Santo Domingo was much less challenging. The aisle to Santo Domingo’s main altar was blocked and we were routed to a side chapel.  Hurray, we did it — this made seven churches visited!

Gold encrusted altar

However, though bleary-eyed (as evidenced by the photo below), we opted for just one more, Carmen Alto.

White bearded man hovering in the clouds above lighted candles

Home beckoned…  and sleep came easily under the watch of the moon, now appropriately encircled by a halo.

Full moon with halo shining from behind clouds

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Yesterday, I spent another magical day with friends in San Antonino Castillo Velasco (about 23 miles/1 hour  from the the city).  It was Domingo de Palmas (Palm Sunday) and San Antonino celebrates in its own unique, warm, and welcoming way.

Townspeople gather in the cemetery to decorate the “Señor del Burrito” with fruit, vegetables, flowers, and everything they sell or grow during the year.  In addition, livestock (goats, chickens, pigs, etc.), more foodstuffs, flowers, etc. are gathered and priced.  The pastor of the parish church arrives to bless the “Lord of the Little Burro” and offerings.  Palm crosses are distributed, all are invited to help carry the offerings to the church, 10-12 men hoist the burro (now laden up to his neck and weighing who knows what!), and a procession to the church commences, lead by a fast-tempo drum beat and punctuated by shouts warning the men carrying “Señor del Burrito” of upcoming topes (speed bumps) and telephone wires, which must be navigated.

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At the church, “Señor del Burrito” has an honored place in the courtyard and the offerings are gathered and arranged.  Many then attend an hour-long mass inside the church, while others partake in yummy amarillo and pork empanadas, taste mezcal, and browse the wares of the artisan booths.  By the way, at least two of the “maestros” from the new, previously mentioned, book, Grandes Maestros del Arte Popular de Oaxaca were present:  Familia García Mendoza (ceramics)  and Antonina Cornelio, who makes the exquisitely embroidered clothing typical of San Antonino Castillo Velasco (and seen in one or two of the photos above).  Following the mass, the offerings are sold, with the proceeds going to an orphanage in the village.

Muchisimas gracias to the people of San Antonino Castillo Velasco for being so gracious and allowing us to share this special day with them.

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