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SABADO DE GLORIA


The Black Saturday rites take place in the evening.
It starts at the dark church patio, with the faithful gathered around a bonfire.
 


The Paschal Candle is lit with flame from the bonfire.
It's hard to miss the symbolism --
Christ, the light of the world.
 


The Paschal Candle is blessed by the officiating priest.
He traces the alpha and omega symbols, then embeds chunks of incense
symbolizing the wounds of Christ.
 


The Paschal Candle is brought inside the dark church.
 


The faithful light their own candles from the Paschal candle...
 


until the church glows with hundreds of candlelights
as scriptural readings trace the history of salvation...
 


The moment the priest intones the "Gloria,"
the altar is bathed in light, and the church bells -- 
mute since Holy Thursday -- peal joyously.
 


Other rites include the blessing of the holy water 
used in church ceremonies and renewal of the baptismal vow
with the officiating priests sprinkling holy water 
on the congregation afterwards.
 


With all the blessing rites going on, some people bring
to church dozens of candles and gallons of tap water 
in the belief that those will be vested with holinesss, too.
 

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