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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:21 pm 
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Anybody aware of an Easter Sunday sunrise church service anywhere on the island? elBob


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:57 pm 
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On Easter Sunday there will be a mass given in English at the St. Anna church in Noord at 11:00 am. per the Aruba.com site. Maybe call or ask your resort. I am sure they will have more info.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:33 am 
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I believe there is a Catholic mass on the beach , under the big palapa at Manchebo Beach. They usually have one for Christmas, New Years and Easter. You should call first to confirm. We have been to the Christmas Mass many times and love it.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:39 pm 
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The following is taken today from a daily column written by Rona Coster called "BATI BLEKI", on batibleki.visitaruba.com


Old column from Easter 93, from my book Island Life
Because of my Island Life column, I participated for the first time in the Caminda Di Cruz—the Good Friday, crack-of-dawn pilgrimage to the Alto Vista Chapel—and was introduced as well to some old Easter traditions. Easter had a more spiritual flavor this year.

In search of the essence of the holiday on Aruba, I really wanted to join the happening. I knew the procession was leading to a secluded chapel, Aruba’s oldest, originally built in 1750, home of an ancient cross said to date back to Spanish colonial times. I also knew about the unique relationship Arubans, especially women, have with that chapel, dedicated to the venerated Mother of God.

So, I woke up at 4:30 am to walk up the Alto Vista hill to the high plain overlooking the turbulent north coast. On my way to the moonlit top, I joined hundreds of quiet, island residents in small groups and some on their own, trekking up the winding road with its 14 white cross stations marking the mythical events that occurred on Jesus’ way to the crucifixion site. They were young and old, in their sneakers and T-shirts, babies in arms, old people on crutches, silently making their way uphill to the windy, rugged top to pay homage to Our Lady of Alto Vista on the day her son died.

The tiny chapel already had a handful of worshipers huddled inside, among them, cradling his guitar, Etty Toppenberg, one of the island’s finest musicians. Etty gently strummed the instrument in the dark. Later, sitting on the plain stone bench outside, Etty said, “I come here every single day of the year at different hours to thank the Lady of Alto Vista for my gift of music. I have also been coming here as a pilgrim on Good Friday since childhood, just the way my father taught me. This is my spiritual retreat. I have traveled the world from the mountains of Nepal to the slums of Mexico City, and I have never experienced anything as magical as this. I come here to listen to myself and find answers to questions that baffle me down there in the din of town. I lost my eldest brother to a senseless accident this year, and life will never be the same without him. I come here to the chapel to find the serenity and acceptance that I long for and need.” I could hardly make out Etty’s face in the moonlight, but his voice was solemn and sincere. “I come here often, too,” offered a total stranger, who had been sharing our bench for a short while now. “In my youth, I walked the wild side; fast cars and street life lured me away from school. When I got arrested for joyriding a car, my mother, a simple woman who had no education and no legal council, pleaded with the judge to reduce my sentence. She only had the Lady of Alto Vista at her side when she cried in the courtroom and pleaded for mitigating circumstances. I will never forget how she cried. I know it was She who influenced the judge to send me home and back to school,” concluded our fellow pilgrim.

Etty said that before the day is over, there will be over 8,000 people visiting the patron mother of the windy hill. After all, Aruba is a very matriarchal society. Women have always been the backbone of the island’s family life, and in recent years, a powerful economic force as well. According to the 1991 population census, of the island’s 57,452 Roman Catholics, 29,032 are women. Definitely not a minority.

Devout Catholics in Aruba fast on Good Friday until 3 pm, which, according to Mark 15:25, is the hour when Jesus was crucified. Traditionally, all food for the Good Friday family dinner has to be prepared a day ahead of time. Typically fish appears on the menu. Absolutely no fowl or red meat is served.

Ingrid, –my coworker at The News, recites an old folktale that is public knowledge on Aruba. When swimming on Good Friday, one immediately turns into a fish. Even worse, swimming at 3 pm guarantees instant death by drowning. A friend whose name shall remain secret seriously recalls his mother emotionally advocating sexual abstinence on Good Friday. In the old days, bars and restaurants closed and people tended to stay home and reflect.

Trekking up the hill to Alto Vista, I met a lot of my friends. It was a democratic sort of experience. A pilgrimage of equals, an expression of the people’s true spirit of cooperation and self-empowering faith. It was just the way Aruba is: orderly, friendly, open, tolerant, and organized, but not overly organized. Happy to be living in Aruba, I pledged to get my entire family up at 4:30 am next year for a celebration of unity, calm, and devotion symbolizing the female aspect of God.


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