Jews share religious week with their Christian brethren

Although the majority of Costa Ricans are nominally Catholic, Jews here are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their people’s exodus from Egyptian slavery.

Passover is mentioned in the New Testament as a reason why Jesús Christ, had to be taken down from the cross and entombed quickly. Passover then and now starts at sunset.

This year, passover began at sundown Monday. The seven-day festival ends Monday.

Still the week is decidedly Christian in the country as churches large and small hold processions to reinforce the beliefs of their parishioners.

Tonight at the Catedral Metroplitana the procession will commemorate the suffering of Jesus at the hands of Romans. The 7:30 procession through town is called Silencio con Jesús atado a la columna, meaning silence with Jesús tied to the column.

The procession to the execution of Jesús on the cross begins at 10 a.m. from the downtown Iglesia El Carmen to 10 a.m. Friday. The procession carrying Jesus to the tomb begins at 6 p.m. Friday at the cathedral. All these events are highly photogenic.

Tonight the Escazú Christian Fellowship is holding a 7 p.m.  Communion and Tenebrae service. During this service of shadows,” the lights are gradually extinguished as the story of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion is read, Pastor Stacey Steck explained in a release. Music from the Taizé tradition is used, he said. The monastery is in Taizé, Saône-et-Loire, Burgundy, France, and it is known as a point of pilgrimage for youngsters.

On Good Friday at noon, the church members will gather to hear the Passion narrative from the Gospel of John, to sing the familiar hymns of the season, and to reflect on our own role in Jesus’ death.

Easter Sunday the church offers two services to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. At 7 a.m. in La Sabana Park, at the Obelisk on the east side of the park, the church meets for a sunrise service. Worshipers are encouraged to bring a lawn chair, said Steck.

At 5 p.m., the church has its regular worship service.

All events except the sunrise service take place at International Baptist Church in Guachipelín.

The Episcopal/Anglican Parish of The Good Shepherd in the downtown has services at noon and 6 p.m. today. The church is on the Avenida 4 pedestrian mall between calles 3 and 5.

Friday from noon until 3 p.m. the congregation will hear the Good Friday l including the liturgy including the Passion according to John as well as a Way of the Cross service. There is a service Saturday at 6 p.m. called lighting the new fire and a 9 a.m. Easter Sunday service.

Meanwhile, San José officials said that it will be one of about a dozen municipalities that will not enforce the Thursday and Friday dry law this year. So alcohol will be sold. That does not mean the favorite bar will be open. Some bar operators are closing out of respect for Semana Santa and because they have to pay employees double time today and Friday, both legal holidays.

For those who are running short, Mas x Menos said Wednesday that its stores will open until 7 p.m. both today and Friday. Many other stores are closed.

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