Click here to read this week’s, 1st February Midweek Letter.
7th February – Tuesday
6:00pm – Interclub Quiz – hosted by ESTA (The English Speaking Theatrical Association)
8th February, Wednesday
10:00am – Holy Communion – Celebrant: Fr Peter Cavanagh
11:15am – Bible Study/Prayer Group
12th February, The Second Sunday before Lent
11am Sung Eucharist – Celebrant & Preacher Fr Peter Cavanagh
1st February 2023
We are now almost at the end of the spring Romerías, and I have been asked by several visitors what these Fiestas are and their history. I have discovered that these events which occur at several villages around the Island, notable in Arona, Tigaiga and Buenavista, venerate the memory of Saint Antonio Abad who is known as the patron saint of many groups including amputees, gravediggers and epileptics. But, he is probably most famous as the patron saint of animals, domestic or otherwise. Thus the Romerías also include a livestock fair. They occur in the spring and are calling blessings on the animals, and the land for the coming productive season.
In the English tradition Saint Antonio Abad is generally known as Anthony the Great, who was born in Egypt in about 12th January 251 and died 17th January 356 at the grand old age of 105.
He lived the life of an hermit and is thought to be the first Monk. Anthony was not the first ascetic or hermit, but he may properly be called the “Father of Monasticism” in Christianity, as he organized his disciples into a community and later, following the spread of Athanasius’s hagiography, was the inspiration for similar communities throughout Egypt and elsewhere. Macarius the Great was a disciple of Anthony. Visitors travelled great distances to see the celebrated holy man. Anthony is said to have spoken to those of a spiritual disposition, leaving the task of addressing the more worldly visitors to Macarius. Macarius later founded a monastic community in the Scetic desert.
The fame of Anthony spread and reached Emperor Constantine, who wrote to him requesting his prayers. The brethren were pleased with the Emperor’s letter, but Anthony was not overawed and wrote back exhorting the Emperor and his sons not to esteem this world but remember the next.
In 338, he left the desert temporarily to visit Alexandria to help refute the teachings of Arius. He then returned to his life as an hermit.
After his death Anthony was interred, according to his instructions, in a grave next to his cell.
Back to Tenerife and the Romerías. These follow a similar pattern wherever they are celebrated. Starting with a Mass in the Parish Church, followed by a procession bearing an image of the Saint through the streets to the village square where all the local animals, oxen, sheep, goats and other farm livestock, also a whole collection of domestic animals of all shapes and sizes are amassed, and, amid the noise, smells, and confusion, the Priest blesses all the animals.
Then the local produce is presented to the assembled crowd and the party begins. The Canary Islanders are very good at turning Religious events into Fiestas. So amid the cacophony of noise, aromas etc. from all the animals and the colourful and intricate local costumes of the islanders, with the aid of the local band(s) of musicians the dancing and partying continues into the late evening.
Long live the traditions of the Island with the joy that the Christian fellowship brings. As we leave the season on Romerías we move forward into the Carnival season, with its associated Fiestas and maybe excess, leading up to the period of fasting in Lent.
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Below are 2 photos showing items bought with the collection monies received from Carol service. Amount of money collected was €232 to which was added €32 from the Cruz Roja collecting tin. The toys will be distributed to children from poor … [Read More. . .] about Donation to the Red Cross