By Savannah Pine (@savannah_pine)
El Paso has two of the oldest Spanish missions in Texas. Both were founded in 1682 by Spanish Franciscans and converted Pueblos who fled Santa Fe for El Paso during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. One of the missions, la Misión de San Antonio de Ysleta del Sur, is still in use today and the building, its objects, and its congregants, Tigua Pueblos, connect the past and the present.
One of these objects is el santo entierro Cristo en el sepulchro, the holy burial Christ in the tomb. The statue of Jesus is draped in purple, with nail holes in its hands and feet, and is meant to represent Christ lying in his tomb. Dating from 1722, it is the oldest statue in the Ysleta Mission. It was brought to El Paso from Mexico, ferried across the Rio Grande. El santo entierro has been used for centuries, up to the present day, in the church’s Good Friday services. The congregants process with the statue, starting in the main church, then through the neighbouring streets, before returning to the church itself. Each year when the congregants process with el santo entierro, they connect themselves, and the present, to all of the other people who have commemorated Christ’s death by using the exact same statue for nearly 300 years.
- El Paso Mission Trail Association, ‘El Paso Mission Trail: Tourist Guide.’
- Photos from the 2018 service – http://ysletamission.org/2018/03/31/good-friday-2018-photos/
Featured Image: El santo entierro Cristo en el sepulchro, author’s own.
Image in text: La Misión de San Antonio de Ysleta del Sur, author’s own.