Friday, April 22, 2011

Holy Thursday and Good Friday in Guatemala celebrated with early RAINS!

Friends and Family,
I returned home to Guatemala from my journey to the states on Tuesday. I knew I wanted to be here for Holy Week. The lives of the people here, pause, businesses close, streets and churches are beautifully adorned, families come home. The Passion and Death of Jesus is re-enacted in the streets, from small communities to the cities. Tourist flock to Antigua, Guatemala to witness this majestic tradition. Going to Antigua is an incredible experience but when one lives here you prefer to be with your own parish and community. And so I was. Rains came early with a fury, and everyone was drenched as the processions ventured out into the streets after the religious services. Today beautiful rugs were created in the streets out of colored sawdust and natural greens. The rains washed away some of these "afombras" as they are called in spanish, before the procession of life size statues, carried on platforms by many men and women, walked through the streets with candles and songs. The crucifixion also is re enacted on one of the corners and the man chosen as JESUS is tied to the cross for three hours. On Holy Thursday, bread is exchanged by families and shared also with the poor who cannot afford the custom. So from the early morning people come knocking to bring the gift of bread, symbolic for the bread of the Eucharist. Tomorrow is a day of rest for families, many will go to the river and others to the ocean. Sister Anna, of Ukranian descent, has brought the custom to our Mission of dyeing beautiful EASTER eggs, Ukranian style, and so this will occupy much of our day tomorrow. Blessings to all as we await EASTER, and celebration of Resurrection of Our Lord in our Lives and world. Love Sheila

Attached the first foto is of our church, after the rains on GOOD FRIDAY and before procession departs to street. The second foto is of the Parish youth sawdust rug inside the door of church, after rains had washed it away outside the entrance; the altar and statues can be seen in background!