Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Burying a friend

I don’t know if I could really call Nicolas Sanchez a friend – but he made himself a friend of many in his quiet way. I always enjoyed being with him. I wrote about him in a blog entry earlier today - here.

Today he was buried.

A Mass was celebrated in the morning, presided by Padre Julio, since Padre German is on vacation with his parents in Guatemala.

Before the Mass, the coffin was carried to the church from the home of Gloria and Nicolas which is right next to the church. The children from the grade school in Plan Grande stood in two rows as the body of Nicolas passed between them.

Mass was simple – and Gloria maintained an incredible sense of calm. Her faith is so tangible that, though I could see the grief, there was a gentle peace in her presence.

Gloria by the casket of her husband, in church
After Mass the casket was taken to the cemetery in the next town. As is the custom here, a large number of people walked behind the casket. Several others and I drove since it was easily two or three kilometers – up and down hills.

I had never witnessed a burial here. I wish that they had the consolation of the prayers at the graveside, but it was a moving experience.

The casket was paced beside the concrete vault at the gravesite. The family and others gathered around to get a last glimpse of the deceased. (Most caskets have a window and only the face can be seen.)

Then the body was lowered into the vault with a rope. Roses were dropped on the casket.

Then a concrete lid is poured over wooden planks, reinforced by rebar.  

Then flowers are placed on and around the grave and the nine days of mourning are begun.

There will be prayers in the family home each night, ending with a special celebration on Friday, May 2.

May Nicolas rest in God’s peace and may his family be strengthened in hope and courage.

More photos of the funeral and burial can be found here.

No comments: