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Sunday, March 29, 2015

ELIZABETH BELL - REVUE MAGAZINE: Velaciones and Sagrarios During Lent in Antigua Guatemala

Pedro Ruíz Reyes
Shrine of the Cathedral
Milena Palacios
Saint vigil
Hadazul Cruz
Holy vigil of Jesus being buried - San Felipe de Jesus
Festivals, Semana Santa


¨While carpet making has all the glamour for Semana Santa and is the big highlight for many of us, the velaciones before each procession and the Maundy Thursday sagrarios are important parts of Holy Week traditions.

La Antigua Guatemala has the largest celebration in the world for Semana Santa — outdoing Seville

Velaciones, or holy vigils, take place in the churches every Friday for the Sunday processions and many other days in preparation for the larger processions. The processional figure is placed on display in the church, surrounded by ornate decorations created just for that day . These are truly impressive and are all works of art. Biblical presentations are common.


Hadazul Cruz
Holy vigil of Jesus being buried - San Felipe de Jesus
Arrive early. Late morning will afford few crowds; the churches are full after 4 p.m

The most beautiful sawdust carpets are created in front of the sculpture and then the huerto or garden, which represents the Garden of Gethsemane that Jesus visited before his crucifixion. The designs for the fruits and vegetables in the “gardens” are exquisite and always include the fragrant pod corozo brought up from the Guatemalan Pacific coast.

Visited by thousands of Guatemalans as one of the true traditions during Lent, the velaciones are open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. We recommend you arrive early. Late morning will afford few crowds; the churches are full after 4 p.m. Professional photographers take pictures/post cards that you may buy for Q5 at the entrance after noon. Some of us collect these as souvenirs. Street food completes the mood with the Semana Santa aromas for the velaciones as does the incense! We advise to perhaps refrain from eating but enjoy the smells. The band, composed of Guatemalan musicians, performs mostly funeral marches after 8 p.m. CDs of the music are often for sale at the church entrance.

The crowds can be overwhelming since La Antigua Guatemala has the largest celebration in the world for Semana Santa — outdoing Seville a few years ago. We all look for that “Semana Santa moment” when we are moved. It could be watching the kids make ornate carpets, or when a procession turns a corner or, perhaps visiting the sagrarios. Dating to 1559 in Rome, sagrarios have the Holy Sacrament on display with lovely decorations.


Pedro Ruíz Reyes
Shrine of the Cathedral
The faithful visit sagrarios in seven churches between 6 p.m. and midnight on Maundy Thursday . This pilgrimage commemorates Jesus’ journey from the Last Supper to crucifixion. These are held at all of the churches, and many Guatemalan families visit more than one that evening. One of my favorites has always been the sagrario inside the ruins of the Cathedral of San José. It is the only time the ruins are open at night... filled with hundreds of candles, it is magical. Local neighbors and friends create the beautiful floral arrangements (thank you, María) and it has offered a nice Semana Santa moment for many of us.¨

See you there!


NOTE:  Please click on link to read the full story with photo placement in the correct order (and more)  Thanks to Elizabeth Bell and Revue Magazine/Guatemala

Read more at: http://www.revuemag.com/posts/lent-in-antigua



Join us at St. Alban Episcopal Mission, Easter Sunday
Casa Convento Concepcion
PLEASE NOTE - FROM FR. FROHMADER, St. Alban Mission, Antigua, Guatemala

Due to the near paralysis of Antigua caused by processions, I am regretfully cancelling services scheduled for the 22nd and the 29th of March at Saint Alban.

I do plan to come to town on Wednesdays, as usual, and to be ava
ilable at Café Condesa after 10:30 or so.

I look forward to celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord with you on Easter Sunday, April 5th, in Antigua.

Remember that on Saturday April 11th we will hold a parish meeting to discuss many important items. This will be held beginning at 12:30 at Casa Convento Concepción, and will begin with a potluck meal. An agenda will be supplied sooner rather than later.

May God bless and keep each and every one of you. May your Lenten season be spiritually enriching.

Ricardo+

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