Archive for the ‘Holy Week’ Category

Holy Week Recollection

April 11, 2009

Easter Light
by The Rev. Dr. Paul S. Nancarrow

Out of the darkness, light shines.

Out of the chaos waste and void,
when storm raged over the yet uncreated earth,
and the darkness lay on the face of the deep—
God acted,
and the light of creation burst forth,
and the world began to be.

Out of the dark night at the shores of the Red Sea,
as the children of Israel fled from the armies of Pharaoh,
as they saw the joy of their liberation from bondage and slavery
turn into terror at the approaching revenge of a bitter tyrant,
as they cried out to Moses to save them from the enemy—
God acted,
and the light kindled into a pillar of fire
which stood before the Israelites to protect them,
and a strong east wind blew back the waters of the sea,
so that God’s people could cross on dry land,
and there they were saved.

Out of the dark of the garden tomb,
the new tomb were no one had yet been laid,
where Joseph of Arimathea
and Nicodemus the Pharisee
had put Jesus’ body
when Pilate gave them permission to have it taken down from the cross,

Out of the darkness sealed in stone and heavy with the nothingness of death—
God acted,
and light flared forth in an unimaginable glory,
and the tomb was empty,
empty,
the graveclothes folded where the body had been laid
and was laid no longer;
the stone rolled back and open to the gentle dawn air,
letting in the first light of the sunrise
of the day when the whole Creation
was made new.

Out of the dark of a shadowed church,
where the faithful are gathered to remember God’s mighty acts,
where the long fast of Lent is coming to its end,
where the story of God’s love is being rehearsed
and remembered
and reconnected to people’s lives
in their here
and in their now—
God acts,
and a new fire is kindled,
and the Paschal Candle is lighted,
and the people chant
“The Light of Christ! Thanks be to God!”
and Easter has begun.

Out of the darkness of sin and grief,

out of the shadows of pain
and suffering
and ill will
that so often shroud our human lives—
God acts,
and the light of Christ comes to us,
blazing forth in new glory
that is redemption
and re-creation
and resurrection
and eternal life.
This is Easter,
this our Feast of Feasts.

Out of the darkness, light shines.

(Photo Credit: Dr. Ashra Fekry)

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Bizarre Holy Week Tradition: Crucifixion in Pampan

April 8, 2009

About 2,000 years have passed since the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and crucifixion is still being practiced in Pampanga. Supervised by the government, the villages of San Pedro Cutud, Sta. Lucia, and San Juan observe the Lenten tradition with ceremonial flagellations and the nailing of the cross watched by crowds of curious spectators. The reenactment of Jesus’ suffering is preceded by a “pabasa” and way of the cross recalling the Christ’s passion.

The practice of crucifixion might have originated in 1962 when Artemio Anoza, a faith-healer who agreed to be nailed on the cross. From then on, a growing crowd of penitents, about 500-600 “repentant” human beings parade the street, whipping themselves in atonement for their sins.

As a culmination of a Calvary-like imitation of Jesus, the people get to see about 10 to 15 people undergo nailing in Cutud. In addition Sta Lucia, and San Juan have 9 and 5 people respectively are put on the stake to be crucified. More than 70,000 to 80,000 spectators troop to these rituals.

“A man who paints houses and makes streamers for a living, Enaje will be nailed to the cross for the 23rd year. He took to the cross as a thanksgiving after he survived a fall from a three-story building in 1986.”—-Inquirer (04/07/09, Oreias, T)

Village leaders say the crucifixions are acts of repentance and expressions of thanks. For a special favor penitents fulfull their promises of being nailed on the tree on their own volition. Contrary to the allegations of others, people say the flagellants (Mandarame) don’t get crucified for a fee.

The crucifixion isn’t part of the Catholic religious observance that dates back in pagan times. The primitive practice is discouraged by the modern Catholic Church. Yet in Pampanga, it has been a compelling tradition.

A macabre source of tourist curiosity, this bloody observance of Jesus Christ’s death has drawn criticisms from various segments of society. The public complains this Lenten observance is primitively gruesome. Diluting the significance of the Holy Week, the crucifixion has lost it’s solemnity with the crowds. It has become commercialized.

To keep peace and order, about 200 police officers will be deployed on Good Friday. Local government officials regard the crucifixion as a tourist attraction from which part its income comes from. (Photo Credits: Caroline Butler; LA Times/ Mark Boster; Michel Detay x 2; Caroline Butler) =0=

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Christians worldwide marks Palm Sunday

April 6, 2009

There is always grief as the Christian world enters the Holy Week to observe the passion and death of Jesus Christ. This Sunday, April 5, 2009, commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus to Jerusalem in a donkey — a prelude to the observance of his way to Calvary and the crucifixion, 2,000 years ago.

With branches of olives and palms, Catholics remember the crowd that welcomed Jesus during the Jewish passover. Catholics retraces the path of the cross till His death on Good Friday and the resurrection on Easter Sunday.

In Vatican City, Pope Benedict XVI led the celebration attended by thousands of pilgrims in the Square of St. Peter’s Basilica. In a clear day abundant sun, the pontiff and the people solemnly prayed for the African migrants who where lost at sea crossing the Mediterranean Sea on their way to a better place in Europe. The day is also offered to the youth who will celebrate the next youth day in Spain. (Photo Credit: KregSteppe; Newsbreaker) =0=

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