The feast of Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres scheduled for 15.16 and 17 May was suspended in view of the pandemic situation facing the region, the country and the world, which determined the declaration of a state of national emergency.
“When sanitary conditions permit and normality is restored, the question of the celebration of this festival will be re-considered”, assured the Rector of the Sanctuary of Senhor Santo Cristo, Canon Adriano Borges, to Sítio Igreja Açores after a meeting with all those involved in the organization and party preparation.
The suspension of the party is, on the other hand, a sign of “responsibility that we want to give”, even though it was a “difficult” decision because it is the first in the history of this cult that the parties do not take place.
“Our message has been that of a constant call for responsibility; let everyone stay at home, protect themselves, protect themselves because this way they are taking care of themselves but also contributing to the common good ”; therefore, “the suspension of the party” was the “only possibility”. At stake is not only the party but all the preparations that would require time and a normality that neither the region nor the country allows.
Canon Adriano Borges guarantees, however, that as soon as the situation permits, the image will exceptionally take to the street for a celebration of thanksgiving.
“Every day I celebrate with the religious Sisters of Mary Immaculate (caretakers of the image), in the Chapel of Senhor Santo Cristo and every day we pray for everyone, from health professionals to those who continue to work so that we do not lack anything”, he added. the priest who leaves a word for the most vulnerable.
“We always have in our intentions the elderly, those who suffer, those who are directly or indirectly victims of this pandemic, everyone who is vulnerable and everyone who has to continue working to save our lives, feed us or guarantee hygiene and the security of our spaces, ”he added.
The rector also left a word for the Azorean diaspora, devotees of Senhor Santo Cristo, to understand this suspension.
The festivities of Senhor Santo Cristo are an opportunity for thousands of Azorean emigrants to visit. This year the parties would be chaired by the Portuguese cardinal D. José Tolentino Mendonça.
The festivities of Senhor Santo Cristo take place on the fifth Sunday after Easter and are perhaps one of the greatest expressions of popular Azorean religiosity. Never before has the party ceased to be held and only once has its date been changed to coincide with the visit to the Azores of the royal delegation led by King D. Carlos and Queen D. Amélia. Apart from this extraordinary situation, the image left the Campo de São Francisco only once during the papal visit of São João Paulo II to the Azores, in May 1991.