Passion Sunday 2019 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Oratory

Photos from High Mass on Passion Sunday 2019 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Oratory, San José, CA are posted in this gallery.  This is the story of  the oratory's observance of the beginning of Passiontide in our host church. 

The Immaculate Heart of Mary Oratory is hosted at beautiful Five Wounds Portuguese National Parish, a distinctive 100 year old church with two bell towers, which is unique in the San José area, and which often catches the eye of motorists driving on the nearby highway 101. The parish is rightfully proud of its church and its heritage, and so the church was not remodeled after Vatican II,  except for the addition of a freestanding altar halfway up the altar steps below the original high altar.  The high altar, the altar rail, and the high pulpit  have all been preserved, along with multiple side altars and many, many statues. 

The parish now observes the Fifth Sunday of Lent in the new calendar instead of the traditional Passion Sunday, so they don't cover up their scores of statues.  The oratory is a guest, so we only cover our own processional crucifix and close the existing blue curtain in front of a group of statues that depict the Crucifixion above the altar before our liturgies during Passiontide.

Every year the parish still maintains its tradition of having a Procissão do Senhor dos Passos (Passion of Our Lord Procession), under a new name of Procession of the Way of the Lord, and they create a gorgeous carpet with flowers on the plaza in front of the church.  During the preceeding week, they bring out into the church several more-than-one-hundred-year-old larger-than-life-size processional statues of Our Lord's Passion. On the Sunday we celebrate as Passion Sunday, the parish decorates the statues with great sprays of orchids and other flowers before the procession. 

The oratory's observance of Passion Sunday is enriched by those statues,  imposing reminders of Christ's sufferings that surround us in the church.

We know how old the statues are because entries from the founding pastor's diary were recorded in  A Vestibule to Heaven,  a lavishly illustrated book that was produced for the 100th year anniversary of the parish in 2014.  In a diary entry written in 1915, the pastor noted that two of the statues, Senor Morto and Senhora da Soledade, had just arrived from Portugal. 

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They also create a lovely carpet of flowers across the plaza in front of the church.


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