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Meditating on the ‘Santos Passos’

Each Sunday, during the Lent season, Churches across Goa depict various scenes of the suffering of Jesus before His crucifixion, known as ‘Santos Passos’

Fr Walter de Sa

During the Lent season, six Sundays are observed as Sundays of Lent. The sixth Sunday is known as Palm Sunday.

Most of the Churches in Goa celebrate the ‘Santos Passos’ at Sunday evening Mass. It means the holy sufferings of Jesus.

In the sanctuary of the Church, behind the main altar, a platform is erected on which a life-size image of the suffering Jesus is displayed. It is meant to enable the faithful to visualise the sufferings of Jesus as found in the passion narratives recorded in the gospels, as well as to discover the salvific value of Jesus’ sufferings, thus, motivating people to accept their own sufferings as a means to attain salvation.

On the first Sunday, the scene depicted is called ‘Oratio in Getshemane’ (Jesus’ prayer in Getshemane). Jesus, along with Peter, James and John, prayed in the Garden of Getshemane: “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering from me! Yet not what I want, but what You want.”

On instigation by the chief priests and elders, the crowd took Jesus to Pilate, the governor, who, though he found no ground to condemn him, sentenced Jesus to death. This tableau is displayed on the second Sunday and it is entitled ‘Condemnatio a Pilato’ (condemnation by Pilate).

The third Sunday presents Jesus being flogged. This scene is known as ‘Flagellatio’ (scourging). To a question of Pilate, “Are you a king?”, Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king.” Thus, the soldiers made a crown of thorns and pressed it upon his head. This image is shown on the fourth Sunday, and it is called ‘Coronatio Spinis’ (crowning with thorns).

The suffering Jesus is brought out in the courtyard of the palace of Pilate who spoke to the crowd: “Look! Here is the man!”, and they all shouted in one voice: “Crucify him! Crucify him!” This scene which is titled ‘Ecce Homo’ (here is the man), is depicted on fifth Sunday.

The sixth Sunday is the Palm Sunday. It commemorates the triumphant entry of Jesus as king into Jerusalem on his way to Golgotha (the Place of the Skull) where he would be crucified. Hence, Jesus is shown in his kingly robes with a wooden cross laid on his shoulders. This scene is given the title of ‘Via Crucis’ (the way of the cross).

On Good Friday, the focus is on the death of Jesus on the cross. A huge cross is erected on which the crucified body of Jesus is hung. Alongside, is kept the life-size image of his Mother Mary who stood by her son at the foot of the cross.

Such biblical scenes touch the hearts of the faithful. The passion and death of Jesus is vividly brought alive. Such devotional practices of popular piety lead the faithful to the culmination of the paschal mystery, namely, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, commonly known as Easter.

At this present hour, we fervently pray that the Risen Lord deliver the entire humanity from the COVID-19.

(Writer is the parish priest of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church, Panaji) ]):hN(o,function(e){var t;t=e,r.inline&&t.tagName.toLowerCase()in u?Sh.initError(“Could not initialize inline editor on inv

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