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An Easter song - Bolivia
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Running Time: 5:26
Listen to a Spanish version of "The Old Rugged Cross," sung by Shirley Barron, a member of the Bolivian Mennonite Church, with guitar accompaniment from Carlos Castro Avalos, also of the Bolivian Mennonite Church, and MCC worker Lynn Longenecker, of Lancaster, Pa. This song and others about Christ's death are often sung in the Bolivian Mennonite Church during Holy Week.
In Bolivia, MCC partners with both the Bolivian Mennonite Church and a Catholic Parish called San Silvestre. The Bolivian Mennonite Church celebrates Holy Week or Pasqua in a simple way, while the Catholic Church has many more activities. Read more below about Easter in both traditions.
Easter in Bolivia
by Zulma Hidalgo
In the Mennonite Church it is customary to sing hymns about the death of our Lord Jesus Christ on Palm Sunday. Occasionally the church plans an evening service on Good Friday.
On Saturday there is a vigil that begins at 8 p.m. In this service, worshippers celebrate communion. At 10 p.m. there is a short break of 15 minutes to share bread and coffee. The vigil ends at midnight. Some people stay afterward to talk or sing informally.
Some people even remain at the church until 3 a.m. or so when it is time to leave for the large soccer stadium for a sunrise service. Many go on foot to the stadium to participate in a service celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This service is attended by many different evangelical groups in Bolivia. There is a dramatization of the events of Easter morning when Jesus Christ rose from the dead. The service is from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m.
The Catholic parish begins its celebration of Easter with Lent – the 40 days before the death of Christ.
The Sunday before the death of Christ is the celebration of Palm Sunday. This is to remind people of Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem on a donkey when the people met him waving palm branches – the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ. Worshippers take palm branches and braided palms to church to be blessed by the priest.
On Good Friday, the Catholic parish has an afternoon mass with a dramatic presentation of the crucifixion of Christ. In the evening there is a mass to commemorate the body of Christ and afterwards an overnight vigil.
Both churches celebrate Holy Week in different ways, but with the same purpose. All are remembering the great sacrifice of grace and mercy when God sent his only son to die on the cross to forgive our sins and give us eternal life.
Zulma Hidalgo is an MCC worker in Bolivia.