Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Feast of the Holy Cross

Feast of the Holy Cross:
The True Cross is said to have been discovered in 326 by the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine IHelena of Constantinople, during a pilgrimage she made to Jerusalem. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was then built at the site of the discovery, by order of Helena and Constantine. The church was dedicated nine years later, with a portion of the cross placed inside it. In 614, that portion of the cross was carried away from the church by the Persians, and remained missing until it was recaptured by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius in 628. Initially taken to Constantinople, the cross was returned to the church the following year.

The date of the feast marks the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 335. This was a two-day festival: although the actual consecration of the church was on September 13, the cross itself was brought outside the church on September 14 so that the clergy and faithful could pray before the True Cross, and all could come forward to venerate it.
Alternately: In the Gallican usage, beginning about the seventh century, the Feast of the Cross was celebrated on May 3, and called "Crouchmas" (for "Cross Mass") or "Roodmas". When the Gallican and Roman practices were combined, the September date was assigned to commemorating the rescue of the Cross from the Sassanid Persians, and the May date was kept as the Finding of the Holy Cross or Invention of the True Cross to commemorate the finding. (In this context "invention" (from Latin invenire, "to find") does not have the modern sense of creating something new.) Pope John XXIII removed this duplication in 1960, so that the Roman Calendar now celebrates the Holy Cross only on September 14.
(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feast_of_the_Cross)

In Bandra:
Going by the Gallican usage, which was the earlier celebration, Bandra celebrates the Feast of the Holy Cross in the month of May every year. The residents who live around a particular cross come out in the evening after sunset to say the rosary everyday in May. Its a practice that has been followed since eternity here, even though the official date of the the Feast is shifted to September 14th by the Pope.
the decorated cross at the Ranwar Square for the final day of the feast of the cross month on the 31st May

In Ranwar, the feast is celebrated with full zeal and enthusiasm by the residents of the village. It was a very neat experience to be a part of these daily rosary's at the two crosses in Agna Square, and the Ranwar Square. I went to both for rosary recital, of which one was the community mass and feast on the last day of the month of May when the feast ends. Its really nice that this practice still continues, especially in the month of May as it is Vacations and all the kids can also join in. The atmosphere around these crosses id very festive, the crosses are decorated and the snacks for the feast are prepared at home by some enthusiastic residents (the taste of the Marzipan is still on my tongue, gosh! it was yum), and it is always open for all to come around and be a part of the celebrations. 
It is also important to notice that these events and activities, religious or not religious become great nodes of communication. People gathered around do make it a point to greet each other and share a chat. This is something that keeps the community life active and buzzing.
some more images:

the statute of Mother Mary at the grotto near the Ranwar square, and the a regular Rosary on at the Agna square

Rosary on the final day of the month if May, which is celebrated with a feast.

a residents reciting the Rosary, praying for everyones good health and revising lessons give by Lord Jesus on community living, love and friendship

some beautiful decoration at the cross, with flowers from a neighbors superb garden, and an innovative sprite bottle cut candle stand. 

The Experience was truly memorable, also because i was introduced to a whole lot of residents who are going to be helping me with the project and we got to see a very very beautiful cottage 42, Ranwar at the Square which belongs to Mr. Owen and his cousin brother. The chat about his house, maintenance, the time he spends it to talks of some history was very helpful.

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