A Sacred Procession

Friday, June 24, 2011
Quetzaltenango (or Xela), Guatemala

Yesterday, as we were eating lunch at McDonald’s (which faces Central Park), we heard band music outside and saw a procession in progress. I grabbed my camera and hurried out to investigate.

It was a Roman Catholic religious procession. I learned later it was in preparation for the celebration of Corpus Christi (Body of Christ) this coming Sunday.

There were several groups of Catholic societies, all here in Xela, each with its own standard that identified the group by name.

As you see, some of the women carried umbrellas for relief from the sun. A few indigenous women wore the traditional ceremonial headdress of their cultural group.

The main point of the procession was a statue of the child Jesus, who is also depicted as King over all the earth.

The statue was carried by eight women.

Three altar boys carried and swung incense. At one point, one censor developed a problem and was too hot for the boy to hold any longer, so he set it on the ground, as he and his fellow tried to figure out what to do.

A few minutes later a man who had some responsible position in the procession came and corrected the problem.

That was yesterday. Today I went to the cathedral to pray. This is the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, in the center of the city, facing Central Park.

The old cathedral was partially destroyed by an earthquake some years ago. So the church leaders left the remaining facade stand (on the left) and built an entire new cathedral (on the right).

Just before the cathedral entrance are two stands where you can buy candles. I bought a white one, took it inside and lit it as a symbol of your prayers and ours for Julio, Melanie, their two daughters and all of us. I prayed that we will all seek to bring glory to God in the way we walk through our grief and into the rest of life.

Here is a view of the front of the interior of the cathedral. Notice the dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit at the top of the scene.

Also, the statue of Jesus that I saw in procession through the streets yesterday is now placed at the front of the cathedral, waiting for the celebration of the Body of Christ on Sunday.

As you know, there can be several meanings to the phrase “the Body of Christ,” one being the worldwide fellowship of all true believers. That definition is especially meaningful to me.

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