Good Friday Procession

The Christ figure had been brought down the hill to the Basilica of St Francis after early Mass first thing on Good Friday. At dusk, we gathered at San Rufino to process Our Lady of Seven Sorrows down the hill to join her Son. Then, after a brief service in the Basilica, Mother and Son were processed back up the hill as a full moon rose. Town lights were largely turned off, with small wicked lanterns lighting out way — so the pictures are dark. I post them anyway to capture at least part of each section of this extraordinary ritual.

Waiting outside San Rufino

Our Lady lit by cell phone flashes

Interior Basilica of St Francis

I could only load one video. It’s dark, but strangely enough the cell phone lights flashing on the statue of Mary add a mystical feel.

PS. I am moved by the communal experience of it — seems the whole town came out — more than the spiritual experience of it. In fact, the white hoods and crosses can’t help but be creepy to someone immersed in the study of slavery.

7 thoughts on “Good Friday Procession

  1. Marti

    Catholics all over the world undertake these pilgrimages on Good Friday. In New Mexico, the most attended pilgrimage is to El Santuario de Chimayo, a 200 yr old tradition. Well over 30,000 people march along the route, many carrying crosses and with many generations of families.

    Growing up Catholic in my little home town in central CA, no processions on Good Friday but the obligatory attending of the Stations of the Cross, 3 hrs in church. As a child, I loved looking at the stained glass windows that depicted the stations and I thought the scent of the incense wafting about our small church was magical! Our processions came twice a year, in October for Our Lady of Fatima, led by the Portuguese members of the church and in July, Madonna del Carmen, led by the Italians. The Spanish and Basque in my town were too few to organize a march but all lent hands and shoulders to carry the statues through the town to a park that had a community center where we all shared a meal.

    1. deemallon

      What wonderful traditions you report! My recollections of a Catholic upbringing are less sanguine, I’m afraid, in fact marked by a distinctive form of boredom. I recalled the feeling stifling a yawn recently, waiting for the priests to do their thing. But last night was wonderful. I wanted to tell you that as we slowly trooped back up the hill to San Rufino, my energies flagged a little. But I remembered your words about touching the walls and so, I too, splayed my hands and placed them on various stone surfaces all along the way, finding their cool textures energizing and full of personality.

    2. snicklefritzin43

      A wonderful sharing post; something very moving to see the events and people in darkness with just highlighting. We have nothing like this here in Montana today, but the Catholic Church dominates the state and beautiful parish churches can still be found in small rural communities. We still have one Jesuit grade school and high school here in Missoula.

      Your journey continues to be an excellent beginning to each day for me.

  2. Ginny

    What a great time to be there. So moving. .. our lady of the seven sorrows. I will have to look up what they were. And the hoods! Creepy like crazy, and yes once you strip hallmark off the holiday it is pretty creep horrific bloody violent and scary. I would be hiding with the dogs in the woods.

    So glad you are there to witness it. Can’t but help to think this was meant to be.

    All this after just a few days away! Xo

    1. deemallon

      There was pageantry and tradition and the warmth of an entire town showing up, but the business of the crucifix is by definition a gory one and the capes and crowns of thorns and the Lady with the seven swords piercing her chest, well, you couldn’t avoid the violence of this religious weekend.


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