- Interview with Alicia Blanco Jiménez and Petra Jiménez De Lopez / Una Entrevista con Alicia Blanco Jiménez y Petra Jiménez De Lopez
- Interview with Alicia Blanco Jiménez and Petra Jiménez De Lopez
This interview was conducted on February 22, 2007, in Mata Clara, Veracruz, Mexico.
JONES: What is your name?
JIMÉNEZ: Alicia Blanco.
JONES: Do you have another family name?
JONES: Alicia Blanco Jiménez, and you are?
LOPEZ: Petra Jiménez de López.
ROWELL: Earlier, you mentioned that you have performed a ceremony for the dead. Could you talk about that ceremony in detail?
JIMÉNEZ: Here we have the custom that, a year after someone has died, we recite nine rosaries nine days in a row before the first anniversary of their death arrives. On the anniversary date, a Mass takes place. A cross is taken-this is something that we Catholics do-to be blessed with holy water. Then the lifting-of-the-cross ceremony is performed. We arrive, and we decorate an altar with flowers and curtains. Other people arrive praying and singing. The cross is laid down for an hour, two hours, for a wake, and then the cross is lifted. The cross is lifted, which is a custom of ours. We raise the cross and pass it around to be kissed. Then it's given to the family of the deceased. For instance in this case, the godparents handed the cross to us. And we received it. We thank them for accepting the role of godparents to our mother's cross, and we welcome the cross. We return it to the altar, but now the cross is stood upright. It's no longer laid across a table.
LOPEZ: And what I can tell you is that I used to be Catholic, but now I am Protestant. We don't do that anymore. If someone dies, we only hold a wake for him. And the following day, we go to the cemetery. There's no longer the novena. There's no longer anything. So [End Page 69]
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then the body rests there, according to the word of the Lord, until God returns. Then the body is resurrected for eternal life.
JONES: And what is the origin of this ceremony?
JIMÉNEZ: Our parents taught us to perform these ceremonies to remember the deceased, to mark the date on which they died because, as my sister says, (seeing as how they now follow another religion) they no longer mark the date. But we do, as Catholics that we are. Mom died on February 18. So then this February 18, we remembered the date on which she died. And that's the reason why rosaries are recited and the cross is raised, because we mark that it's been exactly a year since she left this world to go meet God.
LOPEZ: We see it just as it was written in Scripture: the dead sleep until Judgment Day. That's why when someone dies, the wake is held, the burial is done, and that's it.
JONES: Is something special done to mark the second anniversary, or the third anniversary, or only a year after?
JIMÉNEZ: Only a year later. Actually, we have the custom that every week, when we celebrate Mass on Sundays, we add to a prayer list the names of our loved ones who've died. And we all pray so that their souls rest in peace with God, so that their sins may be forgiven. Because, as you know, once we're dead we can't ask for our own forgiveness. If the dead committed a sin while still alive, we ask God in a unified voice so that He may forgive their sins and they may rest. If they committed a trespass on this Earth, we pray that their souls rest in peace.
ROWELL: Are you the only one in the community who...