This morning we left for church around 10:00 a.m. and when we reached Parque Central, we noticed a small women's procession turning the corner next to the cathedral. Today is Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday), the official start of Semana Santa (Holy Week). We're finally to the last week of Cuaresma (Lent). After viewing this first procession in Xela (they don't start as early as La Antigua), we headed over to the cathedral for the 10:30 a.m. Mass.
As we approached the church, vendors were selling special palm creations with flowers. We got one for Linda, but I picked up a free one, without flowers, as we entered the church, which was starting to fill up. We were fortunate to find seats close to the front, which helps us keep up. Unfortunately, we forgot to bring our Spanish misselettes or our English translations of the readings this morning.
It was soon time for Mass to begin and the procession started coming down the main aisle. We were pleased to see that the Archbishop was presiding this morning. He came up the aisle with only eight altar servers (two designated to hold his miter and his shepherd's staff), although he did have about eight Eucharistic ministers, six readers and an adult attendant dressed in a white alb. As he came up the aisle, he bless all the palms with a large aspergil (sprinkler) made out of bound palms. After he had passed, it was necessary to dry our glasses.
Even without our missellettes, which are not used often we've discovered, we had no trouble following the Mass or understanding what was going on. The Archbishop's sermon was even somewhat understandable, although that could have been due to the unique features of the feast.
I was impressed with the way that the Archbishop presided this morning. He wasn't just present while others did their thing, he actively presided at the Mass and gave his own sermon. You could tell, buy the reaction of the congregation, that he is highly regarded by his flock.
After Mass, we had lunch and returned to our guest house, after stopping at Despensa Familiar for some things that we needed.
For supper, rather than cook, we decided to head over to Parque Central for dinner. Once there, we stumbled on yet another procession.