There is also a thread about Lent -- "Cuaresma" -- which is referred to a few times in this thread, but Good Friday was so replete with pageantry that it needed its own report.
A friend & I set out Friday afternoon to see what we could capture. We walked down towards the big church of Soledad, passing this chapel behind bars on the way there. An appropriate Lenten image to start our quest ~
Continuing down to Morelos, we found this interesting vehicle parked in front of St. Joseph church. It's somewhat of a religious statement, I suppose ~
painted on its door ~
Entering Soledad, we encounter yet another altar hidden for Lent ~
Considering the role Our Lady of Soledad plays in the procession of silence, it's odd that nothing special seems to be going on here other than its usual beauty ~
Jacaranda blooming against the wall by the ice cream stands in front of La Soledad ~
We move on to San Felipe Neri church, where we find preparations for a procession underway. It will proceed from this church and wind through the streets to join with the procession of silence leaving Sangre de Cristo church later today.
Facade of San Felipe Neri ~
Sorry to break this off in the middle of a sequence, but must sleep now. ~ to be continued ~
In this church Jesus was also shown behind bars -- here in an almost hidden space leading to a flight of stairs ~
Bringing out the Virgin to place on her litter ~
A very large Hill of Calvary has been constructed on the altar ~
When we showed up here, the people decorating the litters warmly greeted us and made us welcome, urging us to come back to see the procession later. We were to do that, but needed to go out & get something to eat. That turned out to be overpriced sub-indifferent grub at a zócalo restaurant. Other options were either closed or too packed with patrons. At least we got to see this while searching for sustenance ~
When we came back, Mass was going on & people were going in & out of the church ~
Outside, procession participants were arriving ~
I asked this boy if he was a Roman soldier, but he said he was a shepherd ~
Wedging myself into the niche formed by the open door, I got to the see the litters carried out. The flowers on a small table next to me were distributed. I was graciously given some as well ~
And we're moving out of the church to form up the procession ~
And they're on their way. This procession will first go the couple of blocks to the side of the cathedral, then turn and go all the way to the Cruz de Piedra before coming back down to the Sangre de Cristo church. It will then join the procession of silence and tread many more weary blocks. map
Please note that I have added music to the video slide shows. But the procession was actually accompanied only by the slow beating of drums ~
Many more photos to process so please come back to see the procession of silence portion of this report.
This is a beautiful report, as usual. I remember as a child that the statues in our local church were shrouded in purple during Lent, but I don't think I have seen that in Paris. I have even stepped into a few churches in the last couple of weeks and absolutely did not notice anything -- I think I would have noticed shrouded statues.
However, yesterday I did see a Good Friday procession going through my neighbourhood, obviously emanating from our double church -- Saint Denys de la Chapelle and the Sainte Jeanne d'Arc basilica, which are adjacent to each other. I'd say there were about about 80 parishioners participating along with a few nuns and priests, not a bad turnout during working hours. Most of the parishioners are black in my area, either African or West Indian and the parish priest is also black (very common in France which imports most of its priests from Africa now). I see that his name is Arnaud Goma.
Thanks, Kerouac. Wish I could find the reference, but I think the shrouded statues have disappeared since our (recent) childhoods. Also, I think most new priests now come from what used to be the outlying areas of Catholicism and are older -- not so much entering the seminary directly out of high school as before. This is from a 2008 article: In the last five years, the average age of ordination in the U.S. has risen to 36.8 years from 34.8, according to a survey by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Also, more than one in four new American priests were born in another country, the survey said.
Mossie, I think the lad was clad as "someone from Jerusalem", which in his teen mind translated to "shepherd". And everyone knows that the Jerusalemites of old went around in satin all the time.
My friend and I were both struck by the happy -- even joyful -- sincerity of the participants. They were definitely suffering for their faith, too. It was an extremely hot day & the men were in black suits and ties. And only one of the women wisely opted for flats instead of heels.
When I finally went home my feet had begun to hurt despite being shod in shoes with good arch support, springy insoles, and sneaker-like soles. Can you imagine how the barefoot, high-heeled, or hard dress shoes-shod processioners felt?
Forgot to mention earlier that the procession would advance a few yards, then stop, repeatedly, so that the whole way must have seemed much longer.
Oh, Bixa, I cant wait until I have time to pour through your stunning photos and give them the attention they observe.
I just returned from Catholic services, and they sang many Easter songs I don't know. One of the first hymns made me think about your threads because one of the verses included something about Jesus "being behind bars" and then "bars being lifted."
I'll come back for the videos as I'm off to put the final touches on an Easter dinner welcoming a friend back from two months in Cuba. I've been making salads, salsa and such. Very impressive photos of the churches, chapels and faithful.
Wonderful report Bixa - the interior of the church and the effort made for Easter is so very different to any Catholic church here. Having being brought up an Anglican I do remember that the crucifix and other objects in our very modern church were covered in purple cloths.
Your photos of the individual people arriving are lovely!
We left the procession shown above in order to try to get to the formation of the Procession of Silence while there was still light enough to photograph. The light wasn't good, but what was great was managing to get right up on the raised space in front of the church, the part closed to the public, where the penitent groups were gathered.
The reflexive fear caused by seeing the pointed hoods is somewhat alleviated by seeing the hooded figures hop to as they're ordered about by efficient women with clipboards and cell phones ~
Coneheads ... and the women who love them ~
Despite their bored stances earlier, the penitents obviously take their roles seriously ~
Every so often there would be a flurry of activity as a group would carry its statue down to the street below and take its place in the file. This went on for a very long time. Meanwhile, Mass was going on inside the church (Sangre de Cristo) and other processions were moving through the streets of the city, eventually to join up with this one.
What a feast for the senses Bixa , just read through this and your linked thread on "Cuaresma"
I am not sure re the questiuon you posed re similarities of the Anglican church and RC utside of US. Some aspects seem familiar e.g. purple cloth over the altar = the days immediately before and Good Friday, although the colour may be translated in several ways . Other aspects seem quite alien.
I have never seen the hooded penitents before, thankfully your photos humanise the people behind the hoods , I think it is because of the close ups of their eyes but also of their bare feet
What a wonderful demonstration of devotion and faith put forth by the community. So much organization and attention to detail is evident.
I found the pictures with the adorned dashboard interesting. The owner shows a penchant for collecting and displaying his treasures. It reminded me of quite a few people here back in the 90's who loaded their dashboards with beanie babies (little stuffed animals that were filled with beans).
In my lifetime, I would love to see in person the blooms of the Jacaranda tree.
I remember seeing Jesus behind bars in a Madonna video, Like a Prayer and thinking that was quite odd.
Kerouac, you captured such a beautiful smile on the face of that priest.
Bjd, there are men who drag big wooden crosses in the procession. I think they're hollow & made of plywood, but still must be quite heavy. As far as I know, there aren't any more creative mortifications of the flesh included in the procession, thank goodness.
This used to be held during daylight hours & really, was more solemn and impressive for it, in my opinion.
Htmb, I don't know if you've ever seen my thread on the Puebla cathedral. It has a too-horrible-to-view figure of the dead Christ.
Thank you so much, Lugg. The tradition of the hooded penitents was brought from Spain, where it goes back to the 15th century. The idea is to hide the identity so that ones penance is done with due humility. For me, & probably for many others, the immediate reaction is to think of the Spanish Inquisition &/or the Ku Klux Klan. I really appreciate your nice compliment re: humanizing the people behind the hoods. You'll see more bare feet & evidence of "just folks" before the thread is over.
Thank you, Mich. Organization & attention to detail, yes, but also infinite patience. Coming as I do from north of the border, it's often impossible for me not to think "let's get this show on the road!" during events.
I remember beanie babies, but never was treated to the dashboard display you describe. Interesting about the Madonna video. I wonder if it was just outrageousness, or did she take it from her religious background.
You'll just have to go see Kimby in Florida &/or get yourself down here to see me to soothe your jacaranda longings!
Time to wrap up this report, which I hope has given some sense of the event.
The archbishop of Oaxaca, José Luis Chávez Botello ~
Things are getting ready to take off, but it's also almost dark ~
Some of the men carrying crosses ~
In this picture you see the Santo Entierro from the first procession shown, from San Felipe Neri church.
And here is the statue of Our Lady of Solitude from the San Felipe Neri procession. Now that they're here, the procession will begin its course through the streets of downtown.
There you have it -- the 27th consecutive Procession of Silence in Oaxaca. I went around the side of the church & headed home. When I crossed the parallel street, it was lined with viewers on both sides for its full length.
Fantastic pictures, bixa. Thanks for sharing this with us. When I visited Spain in the 1970's I saw certain large figures stored off to the side in churches. When I asked what they were for I had been told the Easter week celebrations. I don't remember their expressions being as passionate looking as yours, but this brings more clarity to what I saw way back then.
The hoods would not be something worn now in the U.S., for sure.
Great point, Mossie, about the continuation of traditions helping to cement communities.
Bjd, I guess in Quito they figure, if you're gonna suffer, do it right!
Htmb, when my family moved to Spain in the mid-50's, we were amazed & somewhat horrified by the zealousness with which martyrdom was graphically portrayed. Had the expression existed then, I guess we Americans would have been deemed Catholic Lite.
While making this thread I looked up the KKK, curious to know why their outfits resemble those of the Spanish penitents. I kind of hated doing it, as search engines like to pounce on what you look up in order to give you more of what you supposedly like. Anyway, you can get lots of hits of people asking similar questions, but it's impossible to find a clear-cut answer. You can find interesting items such as this: Lay confraternities (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11638a.htm) within the Catholic Church have been using similar hoods and robes for centuries. The Gonfalone confraternity in Rome, who wear white robes with a red and white cross on the shoulders, was founded in 1264. The Misericordia confraternity, who wear black (as seen in this Piero della Francesca altarpiece (http://www.wga.hu/html/p/piero/francesc/altar/misericp.html)), date back to the mid-15th century. According to Seville's Semana Santa (http://www.semana-santa.org/) website, the first penitent confraternities in Spain emerged at the end of the 15th or 16th century (the link for "cofradias" leads to the weekly schedule for all the various confraternities--dozens of them in Seville alone). I'm not familiar with any Scottish confraternities that ever wore similar robes; by the end of the 16th century, the Presbyterian Church, following John Knox's teachings, was very much in the ascendancy. If we're looking for who started the "pointed hood 'n robe" style, I'd have to say the Italians came first way back in the 13th century, then the Spanish around the 15th century, and so forth and so on. I've always thought it ironic how the KKK, a virulently anti-Catholic organization, would adopt hoods and robes that are so strikingly similar to Catholic confraternities. However, all of these organizations share one thing in common: the desire for anonymity. In the case of the KKK, of course, the hoods concealed the wearer's identity so as to avoid identification and possible prosecution. For confraternities, anonymity is also important, although for more noble reasons: since the main activity of these organizations is charitable work, hiding your identity ensures that you are giving charity selflessly, purely for the sake of helping the poor--not for self-aggrandisement.source
Wikipedia doesn't provide an answer, either, but does say: The archetypal outfit was actually popularized largely during the revival of the Klan from 1915 to 1944 ... , which makes me think someone must have seen a picture of Holy Week robes & used that to design something similar for the Klan.