Sunday, April 08, 2012

Easter in El Zapote de Santa Rosa

Felices Pascuas de la Resurrección.

This morning I woke up to  Handel's Hallelujah chorus. What a way to begin the morning of Easter Sunday.

I have been spending the Triduum in the village of El Zapote in the Dulce Nombre parish. I worked with the pastoral workers here preparing the services.

Here, as opposed to some place in the parish, the services are simple – the Holy Thursday service, the Stations of the Cross on Friday morning, the Good Friday service with the veneration of the Cross, and the Easter Vigil. Some places have three of four more processions  but this is fine with me, concentrating on the liturgy.

I may write more later this week but I wanted to share some thoughts and photos.

The services were well-attended with more than 200 in the Holy Thursday and Good Friday services, about 160 in the Stations and about 150 in the Easter Vigil.

On Holy Thursday, I washed the feet of 12 kids – some of whom had dirty feet, though hidden in their rubber boots.

After the service we had adoration of the Eucharist until 8:30. Since this is the first Holy Thursday they have had the Eucharist in their community I suggested that we have adoration, as a way of watching and praying with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was a new idea but well-received. I placed the ciborium at the foot of a large Cross on a side altar.

At about 8:15 we closed adoration with a very songs and prayer. 

The Stations were prayed on the road. The meditations from a national source of reflections for Lent were very strong, with a justice message, recalling among others the martyred bishops of Central America – Monseñor Oscar Romero of El Salvador, and Monseñor Juan Gerardi of Guatemala. At each Station they knelt in the road.

We began the Easter Vigil in the dark outside the church. And it was really dark since the village does not have electricity. A file of dry twigs was ready. Though it took a few minutes to get it lighted, it seem blazed and we drew back from the flames and the heat. 

The Easter fire

I love the Easter Vigil
       The liturgy of Light – I  sang a Spanish version of the Exultet .
       The Liturgy of the Word – We used all the readings.
       The Liturgy of Baptism promises – We sang the Litany of the Saints, we renewed our Baptismal promises, and I sprinkled them liberally with water. I was in turn sprinkled with a lot of water.
        Finally, the Liturgy of Communion. This community is blessed to have the Eucharist in the tabernacle and a Communion minister.

This morning there’s another service and then lunch with two Dubuque Franciscan sisters in nearby Gracias, Lempira.

A blessed Holy Week it has been – even though I had some stomach problems and hives, they seem as nothing in the light of what we have celebrated this week.

UPDATE: I never made it to Gracias. The car wouldn't start. After push starting it I reached Santa Rosa. Then I thought I might be able to get to Gracias, but on the way - though gratefully in Santa Rosa - the car stalled and wouldn't start. Oh well, tomorrow it's time to get the car to the mechanic, probably wiring or mechanical problems, since the battery is well charged.


Charles said...

I wonder what little kids, who probably don't know the ache of a long march on a dusty road, make of footwashing. :-)

Happy Easter, Brother John. He is risen indeed!

John (Juan) Donaghy said...

Here the kids in villages like El Zapote do know the ache of hard work - helping with the coffee harvest, working in the fields, carrying large loads of firewood.
The dirtiest feet were kids with rubber boots which, I believe, have a colorful name in the MidWest. Something to do with what cows leave behind, I think.
Blessings on all. Christ is risen.