preparing for the move

“How weird that my eyes are so sweaty.” -actual thought I had, standing on that church balcony.

Our group was in Bivona, Sicily, on the feast day for the their patron saint, Santa Rosalia. Following Mass, the church members prepared to move the saint from her niche in the front of the church. Later that day, men of the town would carry her on their shoulders as they processed through the narrow streets. It was the first time they’d been able to hold the Mass and procession since 2019. It was clearly an emotional event.

Through our outstanding tour leader, Allison Scola, from Experience Sicily, we had remarkable access to the day’s events, including getting to watch the process of moving Santa Rosalia from a vantage point that gave us a unique view.

And this is the part I cannot explain – and I’ve been trying to understand it every day since it happened. The faith shown by the townspeople seemed so pure, so real, so honest, so truthful, so much a part of their lives. It was the most honest expression of faith (and maybe even of Faith, since that’s two different things, perhaps) that I have ever witnessed. I didn’t understand what anyone was saying. I don’t have any particular knowledge of Catholic traditions. I am generally a skeptical person. But this: it wasn’t so much that my eyes were sweating. It was in fact tears, tears I couldn’t stop, tears I was surprised to be shedding, tears at the beauty, the faith that I was witnessing.

I still don’t understand it in ways that I can write down. But, I know what I saw. I know how it impacted me. I know I will never be the same.

And that’s a lot.

Chiesa Parrocchiale di Santa Rosalia
Bivona, Sicily
photographed 9.4.2022

Posted on October 27, 2022, in Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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