Good Friday

Matins, between faith and devotion

The Good Friday begins at 6:00 in the morning. Members of the Confraternity of the “Santissimo Sacramento” (Blessed Sacrament) take up the bier for the solemn procession to Calvary. All the brotherhoods of the town, the local clerg , and representatives of local authorities in full dress.
At half past 6, the band arrives at the “Chiesa Madre” (Mother Church). It will accompany the effigy of Christ to Calvary. Along the way, at 7:00 AM, in the nearby Piazza San Giuseppe, there is one of the most beautiful and moving events of Holy Week – “U’ncuntru” (the Meeting) – Our Lady of Sorrows and St. Giuvannuzzu meet and acknowledge the Christ.
From the Church of San Giuseppe the statues of Our Lady and St. John reach the middle of the square, while the Christ proceeds slowly with measured steps of the “Annacata” (undulatory movement to the right and to the left). A complete and dramatic silence is observed in the square at this time. Our Lady of Sorrows and St. John approach the bier of Christ and bow, while the band plays the poignant “Chiantu di Mari ” (Mary’s Cry)
Afterwards, the procession continues to Calvary. There a chapel has been decorated for welcoming Our Lady of Sorrows and the effigy of Christ. Throughout the day believers will visit the small chapel “a pedi scanzi” (barefoot).
During the morning of Good Friday, at 11:00, pilgrims and believers gather along the main street of the town for the Procession of the Mysteries in which the statue groups representing the various stations of the cross and Christ’s passion during the Via Crusis.
These statues, called “Vare” represent the trial of Jesus. They are kept and maintained by the cultural association “Giuseppe Amico Medico” since the 1970’s.
The procession starts from Piazza Pope John XXIII in front of the town hall with hundreds of hooded people carrying pillows with the instruments of the passion.
In the central part of the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, near the church Santa Maria del Rosario, another of the most moving moments of the Holy Week is represented by the statue of Jesus carrying his cross, the only statue carried on the shoulders while the others are placed on carts and pulled by participants. When this scene comes to almost half of the Corso Vittorio Emanuele and from the “Arcu du Rosariu” the statues of Our Lady of Sorrows and St. John are brought forth.
The procession continues toward Mount Calvary. At 1:00 PM the members of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament wrap the body of Christ in a shroud on the coffin and bring it to Calvary’s summit to raise in on the cross (Enthronement). The Archpriest of the town concludes the ceremony with a prayer.

At 7:00 PM, before the start of “A’Scinnenza” (the Descent of Christ from the Cross) the sacred glass coffin arrives at Calvary. After the body of Christ has been removed from the cross it will be placed there. This magnificent glass coffin is decorated in gold, it has been used since the 1890’s.
Thus begins the sacred procession of “The Road to Calvary”. Since 1965 it precedes that of “A’Scinnenza”.
The text of “A’Scinnenza” was written by Francesco Medico and commemorates the Crucifixion, death, and descent from the cross of Jesus Christ. It has been represented since 1860.
A ‘Scinnenza is considered one of the oldest and important event of the Sancataldese tradition. The municipality built a square and a structure just for this occasion to represent Calvary. It is a unique artistic and monumental complex of Majolica, representing the “Via Lucis” (Way of Light” – Stations of Jesus’ resurrection) and the “Via Crucis” (Stations of the Cross). These majolicas come from the most important Italian cities for pottery production. The Calvary was built in 1964, thanks to Mr. Giuseppe Alessi, once Mayor of San Cataldo. It is composed of a central chapel, highlighted by a concrete platform on which stands a cross, the two side arms made of arches, seven chapels for each arm. These chapels once sheltered the ‘vare’, or statues, of the Holy Week.
Thanks to the great help of fellow Mr. Bernardino Giuliana, A ‘Schinnenza draws many tourists. He was the director from 1961, costumes provided by Mr. Joseph Pilato.
At the end of the sacred representation, the procession with the vare of Mary, St. John, and the Pieta’ of Joseph of Arimathea accompany Jesus’ body until He is consigned to members of the brotherhood – They will lay Him in the sacred golden coffin. This juncture represents the meeting between the Profane – represented by the actors, and the Sacred, represented by the brotherhood.
A silent procession, in which are included the civil and religious authorities of the town, accompany the golden coffin containing the body of Jesus in His return to the Mother Church, while the two statues of Our Lady of Sorrows and St. John are transported to St Joseph’s church.