In this installment of “A Mercedarian Journel From Rome” Deacon Scottston tells us of his experience of spending Holy Week in the Order’s famous Shrine to Our Lady of Bonaria.
Just a quick update from the Eternal City. Today we returned to class after our Easter break… and I can honestly say I was not ready to go back, but we do what we must.
As for Holy Week, I spent it in Sardinia at our Shrine of Bonaria (which as you remember we have had since 1334). Every Mass was full – standing room only – but it was a wonderful experience spending the Triduum with our community there.
Palm Sunday had a beautiful procession, and the youth performed a Passion play that was very well orchestrated.
Holy Thursday and Good Friday were spent with Archbishop Pier Giuliano Tiddia of Oristano…as well as the Vigil. I must admit, the most moving celebration was Holy Thursday… and nothing quite compares to sitting there in layers of antiquated grandeur (gold thread is heavy btw), with the central doors of the basilica open…. overlooking a sea of faces….and watching the ships move through the harbor as they enter the Mediterranean….all while listening to ancient Latin hymns sung in a most excellent fashion by a talented choir……… definitely makes a ceremony seem like a dream……
Good Friday was enveloped in clouds – a fitting ambiance – and the ceremony was particularly moving given that the Cross used for the veneration was practically life sized, and the Corpus was (in that lighting) rather authentic looking. An interesting tradition here is the presentation of Our Lady of Sorrows to the Crucified Christ after the veneration by the people.
The Vigil went well as did the celebrations for Easter Sunday. After the morning Masses, there was another “meeting” of the Blessed Mother, but this time with the Risen Christ that was VERY well attended.
Before returning to Rome I accompanied the Provincial to visit our community in Alghero. I was there two days before returning to Cagliari, and the next day returned to Rome. The day after my arrival I attended the Priestly Ordination of a Jesuit classmate at the Church of the Gesu, and afterwards was taken to the rooms used by St. Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Jesuits) and ultimately where he died. After a day of “rest” (Sunday), we returned to classes.
All of those were great experiences, even if they left me tired before returning to class. I am truly thankful for the graces of this Easter Season, and I pray you are experiencing the same.
I’ll be in touch. -Deacon Scottston-
Santuario Nostra Signora di Bonaria