Journeying with Jesus to Calvary

Posted by Rafael Lopez on Mar 31, 2020 7:02:00 AM
Rafael Lopez

Lopez Journeying with Jesus to Calvary title

Editorial Note: This post is part of a series highlighting Lenten traditions in the Hispanic Catholic Church. Read part one here, and part two here.

Holy Saturday of the Glory of Our Lord is a very special day for my parish community in Mexico, and it is my personal favorite. Everything starts around 10:00am, when the people of the town and the people of the other surrounding towns gather in the parish’s plaza to do the pilgrimage of the seven churches located in the nearby towns. Each and every one of the visits to these churches and the prayers done at each of them symbolize the companionship of the faithful to Jesus in each of his journeys, from the night he was arrested until his crucifixion. The following is a brief presentation and description of each of these visits.

First Church:

We remember the trajectory of Jesus from the cenacle of the Last Supper with his disciples until the Garden of Gethsemane where he prays and sweats blood.

Second Church:

We meditate about the journey from the Garden of Gethsemane to the house of Annas, where Jesus was interrogated and slapped.

Third Church:

The prayer is centered in Jesus’ journey to the house of Caiaphas, the place where Jesus was spit on and insulted, and suffered many pains throughout the whole night.

Fourth Church:

The center of the reflection is the first appearance of Jesus before Pontius Pilate, where he was accused by the Jews.

Fifth Church:

We accompany the Lord to his appearance before King Herod.

Sixth Church:

We meditate on the second appearance before Pilate, and when Jesus was flagellated, crowned with thorns, and condemned to death.

Seventh Church:

We remember the journey of Christ from Pilate’s palace to the Calvary Mount carrying the cross on his back, his death, and his placement in the sepulchre.

On Holy Saturday, the whole town is in sorrowful silence, meditating about the Death of the Lord and awaiting his holy Resurrection. The celebration of the Easter Vigil takes place around 10:00pm, when the blessing of the Paschal Candle and fire take place. The celebration starts in silence and with the lights turned off; the temple is only illuminated by the light of the Paschal Candle that represents the light of Christ. The lights remain turned off while the readings of the Old Testament take place, with a Psalm in between each of the seven readings, retelling the history of salvation. After this, a reading from one of the epistles of St. Paul is read, followed by singing the Gloria. It is in that moment that the lights are turned on while the bells are ringing throughout the entire Gloria, announcing to the whole world the Resurrection of the Lord and his victory over our biggest enemy, death. The celebrations of Holy Week, and of the whole of Lent, end with the solemn celebration of Resurrection Sunday Mass, where the entire town overflows with joy because “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” (Luke 24:34).

May God bless you all, and may you have a Holy Week filled with the love and mercy of God.

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Featured Image: Timothy Neesam via flickr; CC-BY-ND-2.0.

Topics: devotional prayer, Hispanic Catholicism, Holy Saturday, Holy Week, Lent, processions

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