By Debra Reynolds

The Celebration of the Passion of the Lord followed by a procession

Friday 3rd April – The Celebration of the Passion of the Lord takes place at 7.00 p.m. in the Parròquia de Sant Bartomeu in the square in Soller.  This is followed by a procession of the penitents around the town, which begins at approximately 8.30 p.m.
This is the second of the three days of the Sacred Triduum.  On this day, the Church commemorates the suffering, crucifixion and death of Jesus on the cross.  It is therefore not just a historical event but also the sacrificial death of Christ, which (along with the Resurrection) comprises the heart of the Christian faith.
There is no Mass on this day.  Rather, the Church celebrates a special Liturgy.  As the priest and ministers approach the altar in silence, they reverence the altar and prostrate themselves directly in front of it.  This signifies both the abasement of “earthly man” and the grief and sorrow of Church.  The faithful are all kneeling.  This then sets the tone for a particularly solemn service.
The account of the Passion according to the Gospel of John is read, a series of intercessory prayers (prayers for special intentions) are offered and the faithful venerate the Cross by kissing it.  The Liturgy concludes with the distribution of Holy Communion.
The venerating of the Cross is of particular interest and solemnity in that, by focusing on the Cross at Calvary, each member of the Church unites themselves to our Saviour and tries to understand at what cost Christ won our redemption.  It should be said that adoration or veneration of the image of Christ’s Cross does not mean that we are adoring a material image.  Rather, we are paying the highest honour to the Cross as the instrument of our salvation.  In turn, because the Cross is inseparable from Christ’s sacrifice, we are adoring Christ himself.
At the end of the service, and in a very emotional and reverent manner, the full-size statue of Christ on the Cross, which is behind the altar, is brought down from the Cross, laid on a platform and covered in a shroud.  The platform, bearing the statue of Christ’s dead body is then lifted, covered in a black shroud and taken from the Church, becoming the focus of the procession around the town that follows.  Members of the different brotherhoods, dressed once again as penitents, accompany Christ.  They do not bring their individual “pasos.”  The procession is conducted in silence and with solemnity – indeed, there is a real sense of mourning.
This is then the second of the processions for the Sacred Triduum.  Once the procession has made its elongated tour of Soller, it re-enters the Church and Christ’s body is laid to rest in the tomb. 

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