Thursday, March 25, 2010

Diocesan Stations of the Cross

Before changes in the Catholic calendar after Vatican II, the Friday before Holy Week was a feast of Our Mother of Sorrows.

Faithful to that tradition, tomorrow the diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán will celebrate a Stations of the Cross in the streets of Santa Rosa. I expect that more than a few thousand people will come, mostly from rural parishes, to walk with Christ who shares their sufferings and offers them hope.

Yesterday Padre Efraín Romero, director of Caritas, asked me to sit down with him and edit the text of the Stations they will be using. (We edited it down from more than 42 pages to about 29!)

A phrase repeated several times throughout the stations gives you an idea of the orientation of these prayers:
Christ, the Head, continues living His passion in His Body, which is His people; and the Passion of the People is the continuation of the Passion of Christ, because what you do to one of his least brothers or sisters, you do to Him.
The text for the sixth station, Veronica wipes the face of Jesus, gives a taste of the prayers:
In Honduras we urgently need for all of us who live here to come closer to Christ, especially we need the laity among us who can take on public responsibility to show that we can clean the image of a country subjected to a bad reputation internationally and to the lack of trust of a people who can not see the clarity of a better world. Since there is an increase of robberies, killings, drug-trafficking, corruption, illiteracy, and of all the values that tear apart our families. We need to transform all of this. No more lies or false promises! The West [of Honduras] continues being humiliated and subjected to impotence and the place that gets priority only during election campaigns and so it continues being the poorest departments [states] in Honduras with few hopes for a better future.

Jesus left us his disfigured face to orient our search for God which necessarily passed through applying law in the pursuit of justice, from which peace is born.
All this points to the spirituality of the Suffering Christ and the Suffering People which is found throughout Latin America (and other poor regions of our globe.) Martyred Jesuit Ignacio Ellacuría wrote about the Crucified Peoples and our obligation to take them down from the Cross.

Paragraph 32 from the Final Document of the 2007 Latin American and Caribbean Bishops Conference (CELAM) in Aparecida, Brazil, puts it this way:
In the face of Jesus Christ, dead and risen, bruised for our sins and glorified by the Father, in this suffering and glorious face, we can see with the eyes of faith the humiliated face of so many men and women of our peoples, and at the same time, their calling to the freedom of the children of God, to the full realization of their personal dignity and to brotherhood among all. The Church is at the service of all human beings, sons and daughters of God.


The top photo is a work of German artist and activist Kathe Kollwitz in the Neue Wauche (New Waterhouse) memorial, Berlin, Germany. The other photo is from last year's Diocesan Stations of the Cross; note the anti-mining placard, "Life is worth more than gold."

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