La Via Crucis (The Way of the Cross) is not to be missed in El Salvador. During the day 12 families create a Station of the cross in front of their homes. They are in the pictures above. They are made by hand with colored salt, chalk, sand, fresh flowers, statues and great love. Watching the families make them in the intense heat of the day was a reminder of the strength of their faith. When I say families, it’s a family event. The Parents and kids are out there doing their parts to make their station the most beautiful possible for such a Holy event. This is done throughout the nation of El Salvador. On the news that night we saw huge and elaborate stations created in San Salvador, it’s hard to believe they are just salt & sand and not actual portraits. Look it up online and I’m sure you’ll see many examples of them.
The procession started at 3 PM. We went to each Station and different members of the community or Alfredo read the prayers for that station. We paused and then proceeded to the next station singing a hymn. We walked through the whole community and then up to Florencio’s (The property’s caretaker) house for the final station. We ended the procession at the church for a short service and the Eucharist we went back to the guest house. It’s a very touching ceremony. Like the night before the community met again for a meal of papusas, curtido, salsa and café.
I’ve read in several books that the Central American Church identifies very closely to the Passion of Jesus Christ. It has a history of pain, suffering, oppression and to many martyrs to even try to mention. I believe this to be true by watching the serious approach they take when creating and then doing the stations. During the day we ate lunch at Nelson’s house and he made a point of sharing a video with me. It was the torture sequence from the move “The Passion” set to Holy music. As difficult as it is to watch, I felt I had to because to Nelson it was very important. Quite frankly it is very important to truly understand the incredible amount of suffering that Jesus went through for our sake. To ignore it or set it aside, in my opinion, is a disservice to the actual sacrifice He made. It's not easy to watch but surely there was nothing easy to be a victim of it.
Tom & Dianne