Friday, April 22, 2011

Stop traffic. We're processing here.

Busco, no sé que busco; creo que es un rostro que una vez perdí

I search, I don’t know for what I search. I think that it’s a face that I once lost.

Siento, siento una nostalgia de algo que me falta desde que nací.

I feel, I feel nostalgia for something that I’ve been missing since I was born.

I've always liked Good Friday services. I like their solemnity and reflection and confession. I like their dimmed lights and muted volumes. I like that, since everyone knows Sunday is coming, we don't have to wrap the sorrow up at the end with a neat little bow of happiness. That we can just leave the sentence unfinished and unsure for a couple days.

In the states, Good Friday and Easter are really the only two things we celebrate this week (Or at least, protestants. I don't know about Catholics. And really, I'm not even sure you could say we "celebrate" Good Friday. Yes, there's a service, but even a regular church-goer could legitimately be like "Oh, is that today? Hmmm, I guess I'll go."

But here, it's a big deal. They celebrate the whole week, la Semana Santa. And Friday is a big one. I mean, businesses shutting down, streets empty kind of big.

So I decided to go with my host Mom to her Friday mass, which I was promised would include a procession afterward. Having never before been to a Catholic mass here, I'm quite glad I did, because the whole thing was just extremely interesting.

I'm having trouble pinning down one main, connected thought, however, so here are some random ones:

From the service:

1) The three priests are all white with pronounced Spanish accents. I asked my host Mom about it, and she said they were all sent here. They used to have one Peruvian priest, but he was sent to Cusco.

2) There's an incredible amount of older women here.

From the procession:

3) I love these bags to light our way. Oh, wow, real candle in there. That seems safe.

4) How nice to pray for different people at each station! But... "For the women are hit because their husband comes home drunk, but keep moving forward for the sake of the children." Shouldn't that at least say something like "And feel like they have no escape and must stay for the children" ? You know, with the implication that that's wrong?

5) I think I'll organize a police squad to block traffic next time I cross La Mar.

6) Station 8a...Jesus falls a third time? Darn it, this is not going to end in 10 stations like I thought,

7) What a beautiful flower petal arrangement!...that will now be trampled as we pass.

So obviously the night was a mixed bag. (What service isn't, I ask?) But as I processed along slowly, repeating the refrains to the songs we sang, I felt this overwhelming sense of community.

And a wave of sadness hit me that I will soon leave, and life here will go on with lovely, tiring, living traditions that I'll know nothing about.

Llaga, soy solo una llaga que tán solo al verte cicatricará.

Wound, I’m just a wound, that just to see you will scar.

Río, soy un río turbio, y Tú un mar inmenso. Guíame hacia Ti.

River, I’m a turbid river, and you’re an immense ocean. Guide me toward you.


  1. The Catholic faith is fascinating, but then all religions are, to me. All the ritual, history, and faith... such an interesting area of study.

    That may sound weird. I don't want people to think that because I consider it a "study" that I'm being disrespectful. In my world, researching and studying a certain subject is the highest form of sincere respect.

    This year my Good Friday equivalent was Earth Day. You went to Mass, I picked up trash. Both are excellent expressions of faith and good will. Happy Good Friday/ Earth Day, Dani!

  2. Thanks for sharing your Good Friday with us. It is a day of reflection with hope. It was a very deary day here in MN so the atmosphere echoed the meaning of the day. I could picture the three crosses and the sorrowful events with the joyous sightings of today and the joy of tomorrow. Happy Easter, Dani!

  3. Holly: Not at all disrespectful! I love to study religions too, including my own. End Earth Day also a very important day. Kudos to you!

    Bonnie: Happy belated Easter to you too! If you check this again that is...