Section title text:  Recent News.

Bolivian celebration of the Carnaval, Palm Sunday and the Easter Triduum

Terry Smith fcJ writes:

Carnaval, the day before Lent begins, is an extended celebration in Bolivia that lasts for more than a week.  (In other countries the day is celebrated as Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday etc.) Although ads on the radio from La Paz ask people not to play with water because of the shortage that they experience, in Tarija one can see many young people with huge water guns attacking friends and some strangers too!

The week before Carnaval, women are celebrated on the Thursday, and this year, Feb.19, Silvana Toledo fcJ was made a “Comadre” by a member of the CESIT team. (Centre of Ignatian Spirituality, Tarija)

On the morning of Shrove Tuesday we made crepes with wise sayings hidden inside to share with some people and later blessed the house inside and out with holy water and incense.  There had been fireworks going off throughout our barrio from 6 am as the families engaged in the traditional blessing, “challa”, which involves blessing the house and garden with incense, fireworks, wine and pure alcohol as offerings to the Pacha Mama or Mother Earth. The Colmena, (a rehabilitation centre where Terry fcJ works) celebrated Carnaval with a costume contest on Tuesday afternoon, Feb.24.  Terry went as a rainbow. 

<span class=Carnaval in Tarija." />

The Youth Group of San Mateo with which Terry fcJ  works, helped other parishioners prepare small arrangements of palm, olive and giant marigolds (“Rosas de Pascua”) to sell before the Palm Sunday Masses. The Rosas de Pascua are used with flourish in the towns and in the city of Tarija to decorate churches and streets for Palm Sunday and Easter. As Palm Sunday, April 5, was Marie Madeleine´s Day, (our foundress)  we FCJs had a special prayer and meal in the house along with Vicky, a nurse who is staying in community  at present, and then we went to the reservoir of San Jacinto where everyone  enjoyed the beauty. 

Palm Sunday in San Lorenzo.

On Holy Thursday, Susan Donohue fcJ (an assistant to the General Superior) and Terry  experienced the people´s devotion of walking to seven churches to visit the Altars of Repose.  It was a mild evening and the crowds of people were impressive. 

On Good Friday Terry was helping guide some reflective time for the Colmena community but the four FCJs met in San Mateo for the 3 pm liturgy which turned out to be at 4 pm.  The doors only opened about 2:50pm  and then people were unrolling the carpet for the prostration and sweeping it, decorating the glass coffin that has a statue of the Dead Jesus in it and pulling out of a niche the statue of the Sorrowful Mother: Mary draped in black lace.  The people carry the glass coffin in a procession around several blocks on the Friday night, as well as the statue of the Sorrowful Mother.

In San Lorenzo.

On Holy Saturday together with the Companions in Mission we reflected on the Triduum and its impact on our lives.  Susan and Terry went to the Colmena (A centre for rehabilitation) for the Easter Vigil and then Juana and Silvana were up well before cock-crow to go to San Lorenzo for their Mass at 5 am. 

Easter in San Lorenzo.

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La nostra piccola Società ha come fine
     di glorificare il cuore di Gesù
           con ogni mezzo in suo potere ...     (Marie Madeleine)