Saturday, March 2, 2013

From Lent to Easter

St Julian's church during Lent

Many of the churches in my home country of Malta have a special way of decorating their sanctuaries. It is very somber during Lent, and very festive during the Easter season. A case in point is my native parish church of St Julian’s. It was built between 1962 and 1969, and I served in this parish from 1977 to 1981. Pope John Paul II visited this church in 1990, and for that occasion the color scheme was changed by artist Richard England, which included the colors pink, blue and purple - a strange scheme at that time, but was accepted after a while.
When I was visiting Malta during Holy Week in 2010, the Lenten decorations were quite impressive as a large purple drape covered the image of the Risen Christ above the main altar, an image made of bronze-like fibre glass, crafted by Marco Cremona. The image of the Sorrowful Mother with Christ crucified is placed temporarily on the side by the main altar.

St Julian's church at Easter
Then on Easter Sunday, the purple is removed to be replaced by the white drapes hanging around the cross, with white flowers adorning the entire sanctuary. These two photos I took clearly show the stark contrast between Lent and Easter, between penance and celebration, between the strains of “Crucify Him” and “Alleluia,” ultimately between darkness and light.

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