Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Celebration: St Rita of Cascia

Date: May 21 and 22, 2007.The celebration that Cascia dedicates to St. Rita is very inspiring because it stems from moments of praise, a time for thought and prayer following a liturgy that arose almost three hundred years ago.In St. Ritas' name and drawn by the message of peace she left in the heart of everyone, people from everywhere come to Cascia to render homage to this humble woman who staunchly defended her faith and was determined to promote ideals of peace. The confirmation of an authentic sense of fellowship expressed by all the citizens lies in the fact that each year an agreement is signed with a different European country adding yet another sister city to the Community.A week before the celebration, a torch leaves the sister city borne by athletes representing the city. After hundreds of kilometres and with very long relays, the torch is given to the Mayor on the evening of May 21st in front of the Basilica of Saint Rita. The host Mayor, then, in front of all the pilgrims, switches on the flame of a monumental tripod symbol of the alliance and fellowship between the people. They start with a torchlit procession - which commemorates the Saint's death: thousands of small oil-lamps on buildings and in meadows along the valley of the River Corno are lit at sunset. The following morning a procession sets out from Roccaporena, the birthplace of St Rita, and joins an historical procession at Cascia, which recalls important episodes in the Saint's life. This procession has its origin in the pilgrimages undertaken to pay homage to St Rita.