Friday, March 30, 2012

Our Lady of Sorrows

Even though the liturgical feast of Our Lady of Sorrows is celebrated on September 15, there is a special devotion which culminates today in many European countries, in particular my native Malta. It is by far the most devotional feast in the entire year, where people go to confession, and participate in Masses celebrated throughout the day, even in factories and places of work (something which I did in a Car Assembly plant between 1977 and 1981.) But the highlight of the day is usually the procession with the statue of Our Lady of Sorrows, held in practically every parish, through the streets of the respective town or village. Normal life stops for a few hours as people follow the statue of the Sorrowful Mother, pray rosaries, sing hymns and some even walk barefoot in a sense of deeper penance. Some women who had experienced a rough pregnancy make a vow to the Blessed Mother that they would walk with their baby in their arms if they had a safe delivery. They even go as far as kneel down when the procession pauses or stops for a brief time. Some men walk in hooded masks to protect their anonymity as they too make vows of their own, especially after a healing, a job promotion, or something good that they prayed for. 

This impressive photo I took in 2010 shows the veritable sea of people following devotedly the image of the Mater Dolorosa. It is the official start of Holy Week celebrations, which culminates on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Please stay tuned as more memories from Malta will appear here over the next week.

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