The Fiestas del Cristo de La Laguna celebrated their great day yesterday, marked, one more year, by the pandemic, although, on this occasion, the parishioners were able to attend in a limited number the celebration of the Eucharist in the atrium of the sanctuary, or follow it through the giant screen installed by the City Council on the Plaza del Cristo stage. However, the image could not go out in procession this year either.
The day of this day in which the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is celebrated, began at 10.45 hours, in the Plaza del Cristo, with the reception of the official representative of His Majesty the King, who this year fell to the Head of the Command of the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla, Carlos Palacios.
After this act, the Eucharist began, in the atrium of the sanctuary, presided over by the bishop of the Nivariense Diocese, Bernardo Álvarez, while the preaching was carried out by the Bishop of Monterano and auxiliary of Valencia, Javier Salinas, who has been these previous days also preaching in the Solemn Quinary.
At the Eucharist, sung by the choir of the Orfeón La Paz, different civil and military authorities were present. Among them, the president of the Parliament of the Canary Islands, Gustavo Matos; the subdelegate of the Government, Jesús Javier Plata; the second vice president of the Cabildo, Berta Pérez and the mayor of La Laguna, Luis Yeray Gutiérrez, who valued that “this year we have already taken a very important step to be able to celebrate the Fiestas del Cristo with all the guarantees, adapted to the circumstances and extreme security measures, and we hope to continue advancing in this line so that in 2022 we can celebrate them with all the magnitude they deserve ”.
The eldest slave of Christ, Francisco Doblas, along with members of the Slavery and the clergy, also participated in the celebration.
At the beginning of the mass, Monsignor Álvarez recalled that, this year, the centenary of the departure of the Mountain Battery of the Cristo de La Laguna Barracks to participate in the pacification of the Protectorate of Spain in Morocco is also being celebrated, as reported from the Bishopric.
When this battery left, on September 14, 1921, it promised the most holy Christ to escort him in his processions if they returned without casualties, as it was. Promise that has been fulfilled since then and that was wanted to be renewed on this centenary with an act of twinning, scheduled for yesterday, between Slavery and the current Artillery regiment, heir to the aforementioned Mountain Battery. However, it has finally been postponed to another time of the year in which the epidemiological situation allows the act to be carried out in better conditions.
“Some acts were planned, but circumstances do not allow us to do so. The dates may vary, but in due course there will be due tribute to those who, on these dates, left for Africa after entrusting themselves to Christ and a year and a month later they all returned, fortunately, safe and sound “, said the bishop.
For his part, Monsignor Javier Salinas, in his preaching, wanted to emphasize three ideas: “Joy, reconciliation and presence.”
The Bishop of Monterano and auxiliary of Valencia expressed that when he arrived on the island and felt how this festival was lived, he was very impressed: “I remember the first day when we descended to Christ in the descent and the bishop, on behalf of the entire diocese, as a sign of unity, he kissed the wounds in the image. It was a way of saying, this Christ belongs to our people. Then, we place it on this cross that also has its meaning. It is a cross of glory, of victory, because in the risen Christ we find that love that is stronger than death ”.
Next, Monsignor Salinas delved into the first word he wanted to highlight, joy: “Christ, dead and risen, allows us to have a taste of the impossible. The taste of the resurrection. Faced with the harshness of life, there is an answer. He always opens a new path. Therefore, our faith is not a faith of resignation, but a faith of hope. Therefore, the characteristic of the Christian faith is joy ”.
Second, Salinas highlighted the idea of reconciliation: “The crucified one, in his final words, said: Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing. Forgiveness is always the sign of resurrection. If you are able to forgive or receive forgiveness, you are already resurrecting, because the resurrection begins here, in this world of ours. Reconciliation is not just a word, as if it were a slogan, but it is an attitude of life ”.
And, thirdly, Monsignor Salinas developed the idea of presence: “We are a faith of presence in the world. He has become flesh, has entered our history, has gone through pain and death. Christians cannot shut ourselves up, we are a sign to the world. Christ invites us to be present ”.
The atrium of the royal sanctuary hosted another Eucharist at 7.30 pm, thus beginning the Octavary. Later, at 11:30 p.m., the holy image went out to the portico to witness the pyrotechnic offering that this year was recovered again.
Bet on recovering the normality of the external cult
The favorable course of the health situation due to the pandemic, with a decrease in infections and the advance in vaccination, has led the bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Seville (Seville, Asidonia-Jerez, Cádiz and Ceuta, Canarias, Córdoba, Huelva and Tenerife) to propose updating the current canonical provisions. Thus, they consider the convenience of resuming the normality of external worship, that is, processions, pilgrimages and others. But the call is reiterated for the provisions of the competent authorities to continue to be heeded. The Canary Islands dioceses will make a decree to make what was announced effective.