Enacting The Veronica

By Sara Kriti Paes

One of the many perks of CoViD-19 pandemic was that, even though I did not receive my first Holy Communion this year, I was gifted with the opportunity to sing the Motet, ‘Veronica’ for the ‘Santos Passos’. It seemed to be perfectly made for me this time for three reasons. First of all, my sister, Ana was accompanying me on the violin, which made it all very easy to rehearse. Secondly, even though I had practical exams going on, and all my papers were in the evening, I was blessed not to have a paper on the 27th evening, the day of the ‘Santos Passos’. And finally, because I was older than most of the girls who sing the motet, I had the opportunity of exploring the spiritual meaning of the tradition.

The enactment of Veronica begins The enactment of Veronica begins

Veronica, what a blessed woman! She wiped the face of our Lord and Saviour! But what did it mean? Was she helping just a friend? It was mind boggling as I tried to search for a deeper meaning to her actions. As I practiced the Motet, I was constantly being reminded to think about the spiritual meaning that I had to convey. I thought and thought and yet could come to no conclusion other than helping someone on their way.

The Veil being unfurled The Veil being unfurled

It was around that time, that I was contemplating of the Cross of Jesus, and how every sin we commit is like nailing Him to the Cross ourselves. It troubled me that there was no way that we could actually lessen the pain of Jesus.

And then I thought of Veronica, she wiped the Lord’s face. He had a crown of thorns, He was whipped, and He was carrying a heavy Cross. And all she did was wipe His face. How much did it help? But it did, it did help. She tried her best to make His pain less. She showed great bravery to ignore what the people would think about her and went on to ease the pain of Jesus. She was rewarded.

The Blood and sweat of the Holy Face of Jesus on The Veil The Blood and sweat of the Holy Face of Jesus on The Veil

The Veil is presented to Mother Mary The Veil is presented to Mother Mary

Mother Mary with the Veil Mother Mary with The Veil

It was then that I realised how unworthy I was to stand there in my little white dress and unfurl the veil with the Lord’s face on it. I was a sinner. When I had the opportunity to alleviate the Lord’s distress, I gave in to temptation. And in that moment, I prayed, “Lord, give me the Wisdom to differentiate between right and wrong and the bravery to choose the right over the wrong.” And I hope this will always remain my prayer, as I do my little bit alleviate My Lord and Saviour’s distress.

Jesus carrying The Cross Jesus carrying The Cross

The scene depicting The Santos Passos The scene depicting The Santos Passos

I am grateful to Rev. Dr. Bolmax Pereira, our Parish Priest, for the opportunity, not only to sing for my Lord but also to grow in faith and learn to alleviate my Saviour’s distress.

The enactment of the Veronica can be watched in the player below (at around 1:10:00):