Mexican Easter celebrations begin on Palm Sunday, March 25 and end on Saturday, April 7.
The first week, known as Semana Santa or Holy Week, observes the suffering of Christ’s final days. Communities practice many different traditions to show their appreciation for the sacrifice Christ made. It is not uncommon to see grand processions with reenactments of the crucifixion and displays of paper maché figures of Judas or disliked politicians being set on fire or blown apart. Pascua, the second week of celebration, beginning on Easter Sunday, is lighter and livelier as people reflect on the resurrection and look toward beginning anew.
Masses will be held throughout Catholic churches in the community. Below is a listing from Parroquia de San Antonio de Padua, the church in downtown Barra de Navidad. Services begin at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
Palm Sunday, March 25. Mass begins with the procession of the palms. The priest will bless the palms and lead the procession. Palms will be sold in the temple afterward.
Holy Thursday, March 29. Celebrating the Last Supper, the washing of the feet of 12 disciples, the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthoood, and the prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gesthsemane.
Holy Friday, March 30. Remembering the day Jesus died on the cross. Holy mass is not celebrated on this day. In the churches, images such as the crucifix are covered with a purple cloth and the tabernacle is open as a sign that Jesus is not there.
A Via Crucis is performed on this day. A procession leaves from the church in Barra at 10 a.m., ending at Colonial Ejidal on Nueva España in the Barrio. Some participants will be in costume, reenacting scenes from the day of the crucifixion.
Holy Saturday, March 31. This is a day of reflection and silence. In the evening the Easter Vigil takes place. The celebration has three important parts that end with the Eucharistic Liturgy: 1. Celebration of the new fire (a campfire is lit outside the church). Candles are available for purchase. Candles are lit and the lights of the church are turned off. 2. Liturgy of the Word. 3. Baptismal Liturgy.
The parish office is open daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. Call for further information: (315) 355-5188.
Parroquia San Patricio, Melaque, Miguel Hidalgo 158, across from the Jardin, Call for details: (315) 355-5110.
The Costalegre Community Church offers multi-denominational services in English on Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. There will also be a service on Good Friday, March 30, 5 p.m. The church is located at the south-east corner of Calle Reforma and Calle Alberto Masias, five blocks west of Highway 200 in Villa Obregon. Call 701-214-4699 (U.S. phone) or (315) 355-9155 or go to costalegrecommunitychurch.com for further information. All are welcome to attend.
The draw for the raffle to support Tiopa Tlanextli (Sanctuary of Light), a community and health center in Autlan, was carried out recently at Señor Froy’s restaurant in Barra de Navidad.
The first prize of a PRS Santana Guitar, autographed by Carlos Santana, was won by Jose Alfredo Aragon Carrillo, Ahuacapan, Jalisco, ticket #4310.
The other prize winners were:
2nd Prize – Two VIP tickets to a Carlos Santana Concert. Edgar Hernandez Lopez, Autlan, Jalisco, ticket #2210.
3rd Prize – Palmer Special Guitar. Elida Corrup, Chicago Illinois, United States, ticket #664.
4th Prize – Palmer Special Guitar. Cyril Cairns, Anmore, British Columbia, Canada, ticket #3473.
5th Prize – Package of autographed telemedicine shirt, cd. Maria Hernandez, Autlan, Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico, ticket #3473.
Dr. Martín Sandoval Gómez was on hand at Señor Froy’s to thank the community for their generous support of Tiopa Tlanextli, which has been providing medical/dental care, education, telemedicine and community support at no charge to the residents of Autlán and its surrounding area since 2006. A total of 5,000 tickets were available for the draw and more than ten percent were sold in Barra de Navidad.
The center’s main benefactor is famed musician Carlos Santana, who was born in Autlan before moving to Tijuana and then California at the age of eight.