THE BLACK CHRIST OF ESQUIPULAS
In Central America, about 6 miles from Honduras and almost 14 from the Republic of El Salvador in the east of Guatemala, ascends an extinct ancient volcano The Quetzaltepeque named for the Quetzal, the sacred bird of the ancient Mayas and Aztecs. Today it is the national emblem of Guatemala.
A little over 400 years ago, the population that had recently settled at the foot of that hill and which bore the same name, wanted to have a life-size image to venerate of the crucified Jesus Christ. In order to pay its cost, the entire town carried out community work for two years. A piece of land in the community was dedicated to a cotton plantation and everyone worked on it. With what was harvested, the cost was paid to the sculptor, Quirio Cataño who delivered a black Christ. Everyone wanted to decipher the deep color of Christ's skin. In 1723, the speculation continued to spread amongst the people and theories claimed that its color was a representation of death. The church tried to explain that the image was blackened by the constant exposure to smoke from thousands of candles and candles offered by pilgrims during worship. It turned out that the image was so impressive that both the Mayan and Ladino population felt attachment and relationship with the figure. When the colonial period arrived, the healing power of the Black Christ spread in America.
Our parish family observes the Feast of El Cristo de Esquipulas each year on January 15th. A meaningful tradition at our church, we begin nine days prior to the Feast with a novena where the Cristo de Esquipulas group visits homes in our community and bring with them a small image of El Cristo de Esquipulas. We conclude the Novena with the Feast Day where a Solemn Mass is celebrated to honor Him.
For more information about our group, please contact:
Mr. Gilmar Arriola