Returning from a visit to the States is always a mixed bag of emotions for me. I am so fortunate that my work is close to my family and friends so that even during a “work” trip, I can be with them. And I treasure the time I have with them. And as normal, I had plenty of scheduled talks and presentations – but my ‘off’ time could be spent with my loved ones.
And I was able to spend some good time with them. Especially my mom. The time I had with her was very precious.
It was so difficult when I had to say good bye to her the day before I left. I was a leaky faucet. Then I had to say goodbye to my sister. Then I had to say good-bye to Mike. (I had said ‘good-bye’ to my son the week before). Good byes are hard - even if they are only for a few months.
So now I’m here again and I’m grateful for the busy-ness of things. Although it hasn’t been too crazy. Being Holy Week, there are lots of church related activities and not much actual work. People are in faith-mode – not work-mode. And that is ok. I’ve been making lists … places we need to go, folks we need to meet with, things the Team and I need to talk about.
Not that we aren’t talking and getting some stuff done. But we’re talking generically. We’re discussing things that we will be discussing at our official Pastoral Team meeting on Tuesday. There are some big and some not so big things we need to work out when we can all be together as a Team.
But that will have to wait for Tuesday. I will not be the cause (nor allow our partnerships) to get in the way of what is a very special and holy time here for our Beloved Pastoral Team. Rather, I will share their traditions with them. And then attempt to share those with you.
This is my first Holy Week in El Salvador. I had left after my interim time here a couple weeks before Easter. And last year, my itineration time was during Easter week so I was in the States.
Each day of the week is devoted to a specific form of prayer or event.
Monday is the adoration of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Tuesday is full of prayers for pardon.
Wednesday is for prayers of gratitude.
Thursday is the day for prayers of - - - and the washing of feet signifying service. It is also a form of ‘forgiveness’ in that you can specifically find someone you need to forgive or need forgiveness from to wash their feet.
Friday of course is ‘Good Friday’ – the walk to the cross and the crucifixion.
Saturday is a day of processions and the night of vigils. The vigil begins with lighting a fire. Continues with water to signify our baptism, then candles – the light.
And Sunday is the resurrection.
And each day has its special songs.
I was not here for the day of prayers for pardon which is too bad. I am in need of some of that. My first full day back in Berlin was yesterday. So I was able to accompany the Team down to Alejandria for the ‘Celebration of the Word’ dedicated to expressing our gratitude. An act of thanks-giving.
I’ve been to Celebrations of the Word in Alejandria before but this had a very special feeling. There were more people for one. And I only recognized one song. There was repetitive prayer by all and many, many songs. The songs were sung very loudly. Blanca was actually hoarse afterwards.
Today is Maundy Thursday. I will let you know how mass is celebrated here shortly. I’ll be heading out soon to church.
Many blessings to you all during his very Holy of weeks!