San Pedro Roman Catholics celebrate Easter
Tuesday, April 18th, 2017
San Pedro Roman Catholics annually observe Easter as the holiest time of the year. With many events scheduled by the San Pedro Roman Catholic Church, ‘Holy Week’ was marked with special observances. Ushered in by the 40-day Lenten season, the Holy Week is not only celebrated as the last week of Lent, but it marks a time when Christians observe Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.
Holy Week 2017 began on Sunday, April 9th, with the observance of Palm Sunday. During Palm Sunday mass, palm leaves were blessed and given to the congregation. The leaves were then turned into crosses as a token of their faith. According to the Holy Bible, these symbolic palm leaves were used by Catholics to welcome Jesus to the Holy City.
As Holy Wednesday ended the Lent Season, Holy Thursday’s mass followed after with a “Washing of the Feet” ceremony. Commemorating The Last Supper, the priest washes the participants’ feet to replicate what Jesus did for his apostles. After the foot washing mass, the Holy Eucharist was transferred to the Parish Hall. A vigil was held at the Parish Hall until midnight to bring in Good Friday, which signified the time Judas betrayed Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane.
In San Pedro, Good Friday is the most religious day observed by the Roman Catholics as the day Jesus Christ endured suffering to cleanse mankind of its sins. At 4AM, the 14 Stations of the Cross were observed, and participants walked around the town to various altars, holding images depicting Jesus’s final hours of life. Afterwards, religious families remained at home fasting and preparing for afternoon ceremonies. At mid-day the “Celebration of the Seven Words” commenced. The service concentrates on the seven times Jesus spoke to his followers before his death on the cross. This is followed by a mass service and the Adoration of the Cross. At around 5PM, the Catholic congregation participated in the Holy Procession (El Santo Entiero), and reverently walked through the main streets of San Pedro Town. During the procession, the men carried a casket that symbolized the body of Jesus Christ, while the women carried the statue of The Virgin Mary.
On Holy Saturday, a Divine Mercy Chaplet, and an Easter Vigil Mass took place. On Easter Sunday, which marked the beginning of the Easter Octave, began with the “Encuentro” at 7AM. Many Catholics rejoiced as it commemorated the resurrection of Christ. The Easter Octave will end with an outdoor Divine Mercy Service on Sunday, April 23rd at Central Park. The San Pedro Traffic Department advises the public that Barrier Reef Drive will be closed to all vehicular traffic, including bicycles, from 8:30AM on Sunday, April 23rd until the mass has culminated.