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Letter from the Scientific Committee President


The Centennial of the Association of Málaga Holy Week Brotherhoods is the perfect moment to reflect and debate about the scope of Holy Week as a religious and cultural movement of sociological relevance which has managed to adapt to the 21st century reality in an extraordinary way.

The aspect of Holy Week as an “entirely social occurrence” has its roots in an obvious purpose it serves: evangelization through what has become known as popular religiosity.

The aim of this Conference focuses on analyzing the popular religiosity expressed through Holy Week not just as catechism, but rather “as a an active way in which the people continuously evangelize themselves,” (Puebla Document, 1975).

To achieve this aim, the program is structured around three different central ideas united by the common thread of the pastoral work done by the Fraternities and Brotherhoods:

The First Session, which will take the form of a theological and anthropological debate, will delve into the concept of popular religiosity as an essential foundation of Holy Week and its Christianizing effects.

The inaugural lecture will be given by the President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, Monsignor Rino Fisichella.

Following this lecture, the first roundtable discussion will offer us the opportunity to discuss the origins, evolution, and present day of the fraternity movement as a manifestation of popular religiosity; the meaning of public worship and the symbols through which it is represented in many nations; and the chance to observe its significance in Latin America.

The staging of the Passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as the central part of the celebration of Holy Week in any community, makes it essential for us to focus on an analysis of specific, concrete aspects of that historical moment, which we will do in the Second Session.

In this session, we will go into detail about a wide variety of issues surrounding the Passion.

The first roundtable discussion will highlight the significance of secondary figures and their depiction in the imagery as well as the important role of women in those sacred acts.

The second roundtable discussion will focus on evangelization through the sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth as the protagonist.

Different perspectives will be presented, from observations and analysis on the judicial proceedings against Jesus Christ to the medical investigation of the wounds inflicted on the human body by flagellation and crucification to the presentation of various studies on the Holy Shroud of Turin.

These multidisciplinary perspectives enrich the message we receive each year.

The Third Session seeks to show the interpretation of Holy Week in national and international settings and the particular language used in each place.

The specific idiosyncrasies of each community determines how the Passion of Christ is represented, all of which are very different from one another and which are influenced by the singularities of each society: what is known as the “inculturation of faith.”

This session will examine Spanish, American, and European popular religiosity, which shows us a wide range of traditions and specific traits found in each Holy Week.

All of this would make no sense without the active participation of the fraternities, educators, researchers, and those interested in the evolution and significance of popular religiosity and its expression in Holy Week.

Therefore, the presentation of papers on the issues discussed in each of the roundtable discussions has been included as an essential element of the conference.

This will afford us access to brief research works on other matters related to what is debated.

The Antonio Baena Prize, which will be awarded to the best paper, is proof of their importance.

I would be remiss if I finished this letter without reminding you of our aim: we hope that among all of us, both speakers and attendees, we can contribute to a deep, fruitful debate on the evangelizing mission of the Fraternities and Brotherhoods as a manifestation of popular religiosity.

The speakers’ qualifications offer us an unparalleled opportunity for this, especially at this time in which we’ve all learned to deal with difficulties.

Therefore, with the encouragement and conviction that moves each organizing member of this conference, I invite you to participate and join this exciting project that we wish to build among all of us in Málaga in September.

We hope to see you here.

Paloma Saborido Sánchez.

Full Professor of Civil Law. UMA

Scientific Director of the IV International Conference of Brotherhoods and Fraternities.

IV International Conference of Brotherhoods and Fraternities

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