My Holy Week Missions: Chapter 2

statueChapter 1 left off with the Easter procession. On Good Friday we went to two very small but fervorous processions, where we walked the streets of the pueblo behind a statue of the dead body of Christ as if bringing him to the Holy Sepulcher. The procession that impacted me the most, though, was after Easter Sunday Mass at the Cathedral in Segorbe (the city outside of Valencia where we were staying during missions.) I think it impressed me so much partly because I had no idea what it was going to be like. I had heard about los pasos and seen pictures of the huge processions in other cities, but I still had no idea what to expect of my first experience of one.

First off, Valencia is proud of its fireworks. I figured that out by listening to them outside my window until 4:00 am on Holy Thursday night. So naturally, the Easter Sunday procession started with a big show. There´s no problem that they´re set off at noon—there´s not much to see, only to hear. They were strung up on rope between buildings in the city square, and only at the very beginning and end were there sparkles to see. I laughed as the noise set me jumping more than all the little kids around me… thing is, Fourth of July fireworks have color to warn you when it´s going to BOOM!

I also learned about las cofradias: groups of families who are in charge of a certain statue in the processions. For example, the ones at this cathedral were la Cofradía de la Verónica and la Cofradía de la Trinidad, and since it was Easter, they both marched with the statue of the Risen Christ and the rejoicing Virgin Mary. The most epic part is that each group has an outfit. I felt like I was in a movie of the middle ages…trails of fabric, ruffs and all. Even for the kids!

statueThe profound meaning I discovered in this procession literally brought me to tears. At the beginning, the statue of the Risen Christ and the Virgin Mary start on opposite sides of the square, and are brought towards each other to “meet”. Then the statue of Our Lady begins to be rocked back and forth while the marching band plays. As I was informed that this represents the moment when Our Lady first saw the Risen Christ, the tears flowed freely at just picturing that moment and having it celebrated in such a triumphant way!

Then, as the statues began to be paraded through the streets, all of the balconies of the houses were full of people waiting eagerly for Jesus and Mary to pass by their home. As they did, people showered them with flowers, blew kisses, and made the sign of the cross. I´ve heard from many Spaniards that these processions are often an occasion centered on tourism or how they are losing many of the old traditions, but for someone who comes from a country where these Catholic traditions aren´t cultural, simply its existence is quite impressive. Whether or not these people are actively practicing their faith, this important day each year at least brings them to their windows to celebrate Christ´s Resurrection.

As I walked alongside the statue of my triumphant Lord, my heart was full of a true Easter joy. So many families, the young and the old, literally celebrating our Lord´s Resurrection…I only had to catch a glimpse of his majestic statue to bring the tears welling up again. It was like the Easter joy that I experience internally every year was being played out externally before my eyes. Tapping into that deep joy at Christ´s triumph that can make me feel like jumping and laughing and throwing confetti… and we all actually WERE!

About Carol Dodd

Carol Dodd is a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi in her studies stage of formation. She is from Dallas, Texas, where she attended The Highlands, the Regnum Christi school there, for 11 years. After graduating, she was a Regnum Christi missionary in Chicago for one year. She made her first vows on March 14, 2015 after two years of candidacy at the formation center in Rhode Island. After three years at Mater Ecclesiae College, she is now part of the new studies stage community in Madrid, where she is studying Theology at the Universidad Eclesiástica San Dámaso.
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