The Holy Week in Trapani opens on Holy Tuesday with the traditional procession of the Madonna della Pietà, called the "Massari".
It is a procession that has quite ancient origins, even if there is no certain information on its introduction. What is certain is that the procession of the Madonna dei Massari was in the past organized by the Congregation of St. Christopher who started the religious procession first from the church of San Rocco and then from the Church of Santo Spirito.
The massari were those people who generally did labor, transporting the customers´ stuff from one place to another; so the transport by the masses of the painting of the Madonna from one place to another initially began as work, and then became a real devotion, which takes the form not only in free transport, but also with all the necessary expenses for the organization of the procession.
The painting of the Madonna dei Massari over the decades has had several locations: the first was the Church of Santo Spirito, which was located at the intersection with the streets Liberty and Corso Vittorio Emanuele and then when this building was demolished in 1864, the procession started from the church of San Rocco.
The subversive laws of 1866 suppressed the ecclesiastical bodies and the church of San Rocco was expropriated and transformed in 1867 into a post office, whereby the procession had to find a new seat which was the church of the Immacolatella; but even this venue was temporary, because from 1931 until the outbreak of the Second World War the procession started from the church of SS. Sacramento then moved to the Carminello church after the war.
Only after 1983 has it found its definitive seat which is the Church of Purgatory, from which it still comes out every Tuesday at 4.00 pm to travel along the streets of the historical center.
Towards the evening the procession ends in Piazza Lucatelli, where a chapel is set up, in which is placed the framework for the veneration of the faithful throughout the night.
On Wednesday, when the Madonna del Popolo comes out, the traditional exchange of candles in Piazza Lucatelli takes place. Towards the evening, around 10:30 pm, the Madonna dei Massari re-enters the church of Purgatory.
(texts Giuseppe Puglia)
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COMMENT "MOTHER PIETÀ OF THE MASSARI"
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