Friday, April 22, 2011

GOOD FRIDAY PROCESSION : Eyewitness Account in 1937

Hagåtña, 1920s

Agaña, Guam
U.S. Naval Station
May 1, 1937

"On Good Friday we have the grandest procession here in Agaña.  The natives like processions, of course, and used to have many more before the Americans came to the island.  It took just two hours.  In this Good Friday procession they carried the statues of Saint Peter, Saint John, Mary Magdalene, Jesus under the Cross, Jesus on the Cross, the Sorrowful Mother, Jesus in the Tomb and the Lonely Mother.  There must have been 3,000 people in the procession.

Father Alban, OFM Cap"

Father Alban Hammel was an American Capuchin priest from the Pennsylvania Province who was on Guam from 1936 till 1939.  This is a portion of a letter he wrote to the Capuchins in Pennsylvania.

He mentions two images of Mary : the Sorrowful Mother (La Dolorosa) and the Lonely Mother (La Soledad).  These two statues are hard to tell apart.

This one is La Dolorosa.  The 7 swords represent the prophecy of Simeon to Mary when she brought the Child Jesus to the Temple.  "And a sword shall pierce your heart so that the thoughts of many may be revealed."  Perhaps the best way to distinguish La Dolorosa from other images is for sculptors to put the 7 swords.

This, however, is La Soledad.  "Soledad" means "solitude."  This image calls to mind how Our Lady felt the loss of her Son from Good Friday till Easter morning.  Thus the title "Soledad, Solitude."  Perhaps what helps us differentiate her from La Dolorosa is the handkerchief often included in her statue.

Still, both statues can look so similar, almost identical, that it's often hard to tell them apart.

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