O Lord Thou shalt open my lips and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Meeting of St. Blaise, Ecce Homo, and the Pope

Feast of St. Blaise - IV Class

Today is a sort of patronal feast for the blog, as across the square from the Ecce Homo Shrine in Ponta Delgada, Portugal is the Fort of St. Blaise, belonging to the Portuguese Army. Every year during the procession, upon passing the fort, the statue stops and faces the fort. The statue then gets a 21 gun salute from ships in the harbor, a fly-over, and the fort's band plays the hymn. The fort's coat of arms is on the ground in flowers.

Here is the scene from last year's feast:

In 1991, Pope John Paul II made a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Santo Cristo the week after the feast, so the statue came out twice that year. It was only the second time the statue left the convent for a reason other than the feast (after the penitential procession for an end to the earthquakes in 1713) and the only time the statue left without a formal procession. The Papal Mass was in front of the Fort of St. Blaise. Here is John Paul II in prayer before the statue in front of the fort: