31 Mar 2018 05:40am IST
ALEXANDRE MONIZ BARBOZA
Inspired by the message of Pope Francis, churches make Holy Week more relevant to the sufferings in the world
PANJIM: Across the world people observed Good Friday with fast and penance, as was done in Goa. But the fast was different, not a mere ritualistic penance, but as encouraged by Pope Francis to experience the hunger pangs of the poor.
And on this Good Friday morning, in Panjim’s Don Bosco grounds, the faithful undertook a journey around the world in 80 minutes, reflecting on the sufferings of people and on the troubled spots on the globe as they meditated on the 14 Stations of the Cross.
From the sweat shops of South Asia to the water crisis at Cape Town, to the threat of Venice going under water, to the terror spots of the East, to the struggle of the Tibetans and the migration policies of the United States, in the 80 minutes all this was recalled at each station, juxtaposed with the passion of Jesus Christ, leading the faithful to pause for a moment and think.
This reflection of the Way of the Cross was a last minute decision. Fr Avin Carvalho, who led the way of the cross along with the past pupils of Don Bosco, told Herald, “We had picked up one of the traditional ways of the cross. On Monday we received the magazine ‘Awakening Faith’ from Mumbai which had a different take on this. We then, along with Fr Loddy Pires, decided to change the way of the cross. We adapted it a little and came out with this.”
But not just in Panjim, this entire Lent has seen a change in the manner in which people have been observing the season. Even the adoration at the Altar of Repose on Maundy Thursday night has now become more reflective and engaging, rather than a time for silent prayer.
Sr Molly Fernandes, who conducted the 11 pm to midnight hour at the Bambolim Church on Thursday night, said, “I gave purely a live experience of Gethsemane and the one night dungeon experience of Jesus in the dark small room. The people after the holy hour gave a positive feedback. They said usually they used to doze for the last hour but this night was unique. It was a live contemplation, they touched, caressed and hugged Jesus, comforting him, supporting him and strengthening him.”
The change is also backed by the Vatican. Fr Victor Ferrao said, “The Pope in his message for Lent this year tells us to fast to experience the pangs of hunger of the poor. The papal leadership has led us towards the church of the poor. This is why in our Archdiocese we have a food bank for the poor. We are now seeing Jesus suffering in the poor.”
As Goa prepares to celebrate Easter, the reflections during Lent will serve to make the feasting more meaningful.