Thursday, April 13, 2006

Today is Holy Thursday and I am sitting in the square of the Basilica of Our Lady of Pilar. It is a huge square and people are gathering for the continuing services (rituals) of Semana Santa.

The past few days, I have been taking it easy…maybe that is why I am so exhausted. I am ready to go home.

The City of Zaragoza is beautiful but small. Many tourists are here from throughout Spain for Semana Santa (Holy Week). It is unbelievable; the town has closed down…and will he closed today and tomorrow.

The great news is that my friend Helena is driving all the way from Madrid to meet me tomorrow and she wants to take me to visit some other towns before I leave. Well, not much time left. I will be in Barcelona on Saturday night to depart on Sunday (I do not want to miss the flight).

For the last two nights, the people of Zaragoza just like the rest of Spain have been commemorating Holy week with a procession from one church to another. Men and woman dress up in cloaks with their heads covered, then men dressed as Roman soldiers escort a life size float resembling the various Stations of the Cross. Hundreds of people march to the beat of the drum and music. Women dressed in black march as they were attending the crucifixion in mourning. It is beautiful.

I remember as a child, that on Good Friday, we not only abstained from eating meat, but we also fasted. We were not allowed to watch television or play music from noon to three on Friday to observe the exact time of Christ’s Crucifixion. And we would definitely not go out and party…..oh no….We were taught that we had to sacrifice something for this great leader who died on the cross.

Millions of people are making sacrifices today. Many are dying from thirst in Somalia, people are dying in Africa, uncertainly in the Middle East, a war in Iraq that seems never ending, and talk here of the United States responding to a nuclear threat in Iran. Not to mention the immigration issues…

Some British folks have told me that they are tired at looking at non-white people in England taking jobs away, the Irish are complaining of those fleeing there from the Eastern Europe and the Spanish and Portuguese complain of the thousands that arrive daily from Africa and Latin America that are taking jobs away from the locals.

In the United States millions of people have responded by taking to the streets in demonstration against the anti-immigrant sentiment. Immigration is an international issue and not one person is addressing it…NOT ONE.I wonder if that is ignorance or arrogance. People flee to other countries because they have to feed their families and there is no work in their homeland. But, that is another conversation.

The point I am trying to make here is that many people are making the sacrifice. YOU are making the sacrifice that often-religious institutions ask you to make. You donate you time and your love to others. You help educate the community about HIV/AIDS, crystal meth, substance abuse and so much more. Many of the family members who have lost loved ones have gone on to do outreach to the community so other parents would not have to loose any more children to AIDS. We have had to fight ignorance and bigotry and we have done it in a very loving way.

The members of the staff of The Wall-Las Memorias Project, board members, CAB members, volunteers, mothers of the Wall, corporate sponsors, elected and community leaders and church members, you constantly sacrifice to make our community a better place in which to live.

On Good Friday…he could be a religious leader, civil rights leader, your savior or as I put it a community activist…you could commemorate his passing as a way to recall how you have followed in his footsteps. Be proud and thankful for what you have done for your community…in essence for humanity. You have sacrificed and sometimes it might have felt like you too have carried a cross…It is ok to feel like that…because after all, we are taught to walk in his footsteps….

I will try to catch up on the blog sometime over the weekend…...Spend some time in recalling what we have done for a community and how much more we still have to do…

Have a great Easter to each of you…

With much love…


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