Semana Santo (Holy Week)
During Holy Week the country of El Salvador shuts down. Starting on Monday all Municipal Offices, Schools and other functions of the government close, except for Public Safety. Some private companies close for the week. Most other companies will close come Jueves Santo (Holy Thursday). For the country it is a week of mass vacations with many people heading to the playas (beaches). Others on vacation have a more spiritual Holy Week. We had a TV at the guest house, it only had 5 channels but every night of Holy Week there was at least one if not 2 or 3 spiritual movies like, The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Passion, Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments or other Biblical stories. One channel in particular also had commercials in remembrance of Bishop Oscar Romero that ran all day long. The following is the 1st of a series of blogs for Holy Week.
Palm Sunday service started at 3 PM and was similar to ours. The difference is that before the procession a group of men and woman from the community meet at the guest house and make Cruzes (Crosses) out of the palms that Father Mario brought. The palms are the real thing, a big stock of them that had to be peeled and cut off individually. It looked easy because they cranked out 50 in no time but I was only able to make one small one. Father Mario personally made one for Dianne and I which we will hang in our new house. When we comeback in 3 years I’m sure we’ll be giving lessons in this new found craft J. After the crosses were made Father Mario and Alfredo blessed the Palmas and we walked in a procession to the Church singing a Hymn. During the service, the Passion is performed as it is at our home parish. I would love to share the sermon with you but at this time my Espanol is just not up to speed. What I did notice was that there was no reference to Bishop Romero even though it was the anniversary of his martyrdom. I might not know the language well but I do listen intently and I don’t think He was in the sermon or the prayers of the people. I don’t want to label this good or bad because I just don’t know why . Being new I do know this much, leaping to judgments or opinions on the practices of a different culture is not a wise thing to do, in my opinion. When I have a better grip on the language I will discuss this another time and share that discussion with you.
Tom & Dianne