If last year the great day of the Patroness of the Canary Islands was marred by the effects of the pandemic, a year later it was devastating to see how the same image was repeated around the Basilica, with just a few dozen pilgrims waiting for the authorities before they entered, along with a small number of parishioners, to hear the noon mass presided over by the bishop of the Nivarian Dioceses, Bernardo Alvarez and sung by the Villa de Candelaria choir accompanied by the Las Candelas chamber orchestra.
In addition to the sanitary restrictions due to Tenerife being at the highest alert level (4), the alert for the heat wave that the entire Canary Islands is experiencing was also added, which together with the recommendations not to use the traditional trails to make a pilgrimage to Villa Mariana served to that the central act of the festivities was followed from a distance by most of the Canary Islands, waiting for the virus to escape and everything can return to normal on August 15, 2022, something that the President of the Government of the Canary Islands assured , Ángel Víctor Torres, the highest authority present, along with Mayor Mari Brito, who on this occasion represented the King of Spain during the homily.
Also present were the president of the Parliament of the Canary Islands, Gustavo Matos; the Government delegate in the Canary Islands, Anselmo Pestana; the president of the Cabildo of Tenerife, Pedro Manuel Martín; the Lieutenant General Chief of the Canary Islands Command, Carlos Palacios and the Mayor of Teror, a municipality twinned with the Villa de Candelaria, Sergio Nuez. Due to the restrictions, the mayors of other municipalities of Tenerife and the Canary Islands could not be there as on other occasions.
The bishop began his homily by doing a simile using the example of the recent Olympics. “Athletes run and strive to get a medal. We Christians strive to achieve a crown that does not fade and always with the aim of reaching the goal, which is none other than the happiness of eternal life.
Next, Monsignor Álvarez said that the Assumption of Mary is the advance and confirmation of what God wants to do with us: save us fully. “The Assumption reminds us of the importance of the union of body and soul.” The prelate referred to the fact that being a believer is not just admitting the existence of God. “Faith carries with it,” he added, “the conviction that all good things come from Christ and, therefore, we must recognize him and give him thanks, as the Virgin Mary did.”
In this sense, Álvarez also highlighted the idea of the interdependence of human beings. “Hopefully this pandemic has helped us discover the importance of our dependence on one another. We are not going alone. God is not going to deliver us from the pandemic by magic. The Lord enlightens, strengthens the sick and gives us all ‘heads’ to do what we are supposed to do. God acts, yes, but through us ”. The bishop ended with a message of solidarity towards the people of Haiti for the recent earthquake and warned of the tragic consequences of the “conflict in Afghanistan.”
The mayor of Candelaria, Mari brito, thanked the pilgrims for understanding and respecting the restrictions; “We hope to receive you with the same enthusiasm and with the same faith during the rest of the year. In addition, I reiterate my gratitude to the media that have worked closely with the consistory to bring the Patroness closer to all homes and also to the force and security teams that have contributed to making these celebrations safer and the measures being complied with. prevention ”.
The President of the Canary Islands, Angel Victor Torres, at the end of the religious ceremony, he was convinced that this will be the “last occasion” in which the religious celebration is carried out “with restrictions, without a procession and with limitation in the attendance of parishioners”, all this because “we are still coming out of a difficult situation due to the pandemic ”of COVID-19, confirming that the level of infections“ today has fallen again ”inviting to continue maintaining responsible attitudes, something that“ Canarian society has shown ”, he concluded.
The Offering, also on television
The canaries lived through the Canarian Television last night the emotional Offering to the Virgin of Candelaria, in a previously recorded act, due to the restrictions due to COVID-19, with folk music and special recognition of health services.
The most intense moment came with the representation, for the first time and due to the circumstances, of the health professionals representing the collective, María Loreto Barroso, Director of Nursing at the Hospital Universitario de Canarias, Estefanía Lorenzo, Deputy Medical Director of the Hospital Complejo Nuestra Señora de Candelaria, José Miguel Rodríguez, Tenerife Primary Care Manager, and Ramón Pinto, Tenerife Primary Care Nursing Director, who received warm applause from those present, who stood up to thank the enormous work they have developed and are developing. in this pandemic. The Dance Venerada Santísima Trinidad de Igueste closed this first part.
Next, the Virgin of Candelaria was honored with music and dances from all over the Canary Islands, in a show devised and produced by the Candelaria City Council in which young voices such as Iván Quintana, Juanma Padrón, Andrea Rodríguez, Khadim Gueye, Valentina participated. González, Verónica Rodríguez, Rayco León and Luz Mila Valerón, who came from each of the Islands, supported by Chago Melián. The traditional dances were carried out by the groups Acorán, Herederos de Chasna and Añate, dressed in transitional costumes from Tenerife, peasants from all the Islands from the beginning of the 20th century and from the streets. The party was made up of prominent musicians and voices from different groups, led by Fernando Cruz.
The musical evening began and ended with anthological songs by the Tenerife group Los Huaracheros: Seven roses, converted into eight for the occasion by Iván Quintana and Mi tierra guanche, performed by Chago Melián as a closing. The folías to the Virgin were danced by the three groups at the same time, who surrounded some soloists with unpublished lyrics for the Virgin. Later, traditional themes such as seguiridillas, mazurcas or isas followed one another, without missing the sound of the gomeras chácaras, the majoreras limpets or the Herreño drum. Some special moments were the arrorró in the style of Valentina la de Sabinosa, sung on piano by the young woman from El Herrera, Valentina González; the theme of Braulio Patria Canaria, in the voice and passion of Khadim Gueye, a young man of color from the south of Tenerife with a very particular voice; or the malagueñas del agua de Taburiente, danced in an original way inside the Fountain of the pilgrims. There was also a nod to the Town Crier Pepe Dámaso, using some handkerchiefs that he just presented as a symbol of the pilgrims, for the dance of the Malaga women of Fuerteventura. There was no shortage of the memory of the island of La Graciosa with its typical hat and the interpretation of the song “Graciosera” by Mestisay. The songs were interspersed with some video greetings from the Mayor of Las Palmas Augusto Hidalgo, the musicologist Rosario Álvarez, the singer Caco Senante and Pepe Dámaso himself. In short, a brilliant show that made a journey through the popular and traditional music of the Archipelago, with luxurious voices that underpin the continuity of the musical culture of this land.