Happy Ending

Crucifixion in Philippines
Crucifixion in Philippines

This woman had herself crucified along with seventeen others even though the Archbishop of San Fernando in the Philippines urged devotees not to turn Holy Week into a circus. Philippine health officials warned people taking part in Easter crucifixions and self-flagellation rituals to get a tetanus shot first and sterilize the nails to avoid infections.

We traveled to Spain a few years back and spent Holy Week in Granada. Semana Santa is the biggest string of holy days/holidays of the year there. We watched processions wind through the streets with bands, women in black lace mantillas and teams of guys hidden beneath and supporting the weight of floats with the virgin in the lead and a depiction the suffering Christ in the rear. In Spain this is all a reverent but festive affair. The goose bump inducing highlight is always when the procession stops and the crowd grows silent while someone sings a saeta to the virgin.

We had dinner yesterday with Peggi’s mom and my brother, Fran. I was thinking about how we used to give up candy for Lent and then gorge ourselves on Easter and my parents asking us to remain silent between noon and 3PM on Good Friday (the hours Christ was hanging on the cross). I don’t think we were able to do this. My whole family left the Church while I was in high school and my parents are now more likely to celebrate Passover than Easter with their children and in-laws. But that Catholic stuff hangs around.

About fifteen years ago I revisited the Way of the Cross and began the process of recasting the Passion Play in present time. I collected source material with the intention of doing a series of paintings. I don’t believe anyone rose from the dead except maybe Shirley Maclaine so I was kind of bummed to see the last Pope amend the fourteen stations of the cross that I remember so vividly from my childhood. He gave the story an implausible, happy ending by adding the Resurrection as the fifteen station. When I do get around to these paintings I only plan to do fourteen of them.

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