Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Assumption 2021 Photopost (Part 2)

Our second Assumption photopost actually only has two entries, but each of them came with enough photos, and enough interesting features, to merit a fuller treatment.

Sanctuary of the Assumption - Calasca, Italy
Since 1641, the people of the Anzasca Valley in the Italian Alps have celebrated the Assumption in the small sanctuary of the Madonna della Gurva, which is set on a deep gorge of the Anza river, at the foot of Mount Rosa, Piemonte. At the end of the 16th century, a huge boulder fell down from the mountain, and stopped behind a chapel near the bridge, where it still hangs in balance today.

At the beginning of the 17th century, the people of Calasca, the nearest town, decided to build a church, which was consecrated in 1641. For the inauguration of the sanctuary, a group of soldiers, enlisted by the Spanish governor of Milan, offered the Virgin with a salute of blank shots; on returning home permanently from the Monferrato War, they transformed their combat militia into a militia of honor of the Virgin Mary, and ever since, have participated in the celebration of the sanctuary’s patronal feast. They march to the sound of fifes and drums led by four officers on horseback, and fire blanks shots from rifles during the processions, at the beginning of the Solemn Mass, and at Vespers.

The liturgical celebration consists of the celebration of a novena, and on the Assumption itself, a low Mass in the early morning, then the arrival of the militia, the reception of the officers, and the entrance to the church for the Military Mass, celebrated by the parish priest of Calasca, who is also chaplain of the Militia. The militia exit from the church, fire the blank shots at the beginning of the Solemn Mass, and before the Gospel reading. At the end of the Solemn Mass, the people exit from the church in procession with the statue of the Assumption, and the priest takes the relic of the Virgin Mary. During the procession, the Militia serves as guard of honor to the Virgin.
In the evening, the people with the clergy sing Vespers, the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, and the second procession begins: the Militia serves again as honor guard to the Blessed Sacrament. The service end in the sanctuary with the solemn Eucharistic Benediction.

The Milizia Tradizionale di Calasca also serves every year on the feast of their patron Saint, a martyr discovered in the Roman catacombs named Valentine, with a similar program of celebrations on second Sunday of August. In the same valley, another militia, the Milizia Tradizionale di Bannio, celebrates the Madonna della Neve (Virgin of the Snows), and the feast of its patron, the apostle Bartholomew. Next year they will commemorate the 400th anniversary of their foundation. (Our thanks to the parish priest of Calasca and Bannio, Don Fabrizio Camelli, for sending us these photos and the accompanying explanation.)

Cathedral Basilica of Nossa Senhora do Pilar – São João Del Rei, Minas Gerais, Brazil
From one of our most regular photopost contributors, Mr João Victor Euclides Melo
1. Novena in honor of Our Lady of Good Death
2. Ceremony of the Transitus and Burial of the Virgin
3. Pontifical Mass on the feast
4. Te Deum and Benedcition

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