We started the week with a half an hour procession on Palm Sunday. Our chapel joined with a neighboring chapel in order to celebrate in community.
Children, adults and "abuelitos" (grandparents) braved the "Hill of Death," a VERY steep hill that leaves even the most fit without breath. Joshua is in the green baby carriage, being pushed by a 10 year old boy that insisted on pushing him around the entire walk.
On Holy Thursday, the entire community was invited to take part in the washing of the feet ceremony, symbolizing the call to be humble servants to our brothers and sisters. There is a drug rehab center in our neighborhood and the people who are in treatment often participate in our community. It was very touching to see them rise, have their feet washed and to then see them kneel before a peer and offer the same. Many ended the ritual in tears and hugs.
We followed the Passion of Jesus at stations set up around the neighborhood. 14 different families volunteered to set up an altar and to represent each Station of the Cross. The families see this as a great honor and an opportunity to give thanks to God for the blessings they have received. It reminded us of the rich faith of our neighbors, despite the material poverty in which they live.
They adorned their altars with the materials at hand. This woman didn't have flowers, so she used feather dusters and Christmas garland to praise God.
The Stations of the Cross lasted 3 hours. The man on crutches walked the entire way, without resting. The feeling of the people is that if Christ sacrificed so much to save us from our sins, then we should also make sacrifices in life.
These two boys joined in the procession as well. They had one pair of skates and four feet. So, instead of one using the skates and the other walking, they each used one skate and one shoe, pushing off with the shoed foot and gliding on the skated foot. Good friends share.
Holy Saturday's Easter Vigil was a great event, but unfortunately, we forgot our camera! So, this is Easter morning. The tradition here is to hide chocolate eggs for the kids to find in the morning. So, the teenagers in the chapel showed up bright and early to hide the eggs for the younger children. After the egg hunt, they stayed around the chapel to play ping pong and soccer before mass at noon.