September the 14th
  Our parish church is dedicated to the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, which is the name of our district. Our patron saint’s celebrations are held every September 14th, early in the morning, when the firemen siren and gun salute announce their commencement. Next, the flag is hoisted in San Martín Square and doves are released, followed by a Te Deum (thanksgiving service) and a procession with the statues of Jesus Christ and our Lady of Sorrows, a speech by the municipal Mayor, a prize-giving and parade of schools, institutions and traditionalist centers. In the afternoon, there are concerts and exhibitions by dancing schools and the ceremony ends with a spectacular firework display.
   
   Although changed with the passage of time, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Celebration commemorates the day when St. Helena found the True Cross on which Jesus was crucified. Almost ten centuries passed from the fall of the Roman Empire to the splendor of the Renaissance. From this turbulent period in the history of Western civilization, only those years of chaos and disorder are remembered. People tend to forget that the civilized world continued progressing, that the works of the ancient civilizations were transmitted to the newer ones, and that the Arts and Sciences continued to develop. There was a city that was by far the richest and most civilized during the Middle Ages: Byzantium, present-day Istanbul, subsequently renamed Constantinople by the Romans.
In the IVth century, the Roman Empire declined, but an ambitious Augustus called Constantine became its ruler. He was the savior of western culture because Rome would fall to the Barbarians some time later and Constantinople, closer to the borders of the Empire, would be able to defend itself against the Persian invaders.
   In the month of October 312 A.D., Constantine, a General of the Roman army, is about to fight Maxentius near Rome, more precisely on the Milvian Bridge. Before the battle, Constantine sees a huge shining cross superimposed on the sun and the words: “In hoc signo vincis: In this sign you shall be the victor!”
   Constantine then defeats Maxentius and becomes Roman Emperor. Constantine is said to have dreamed that Christ appeared to him saying he had to inscribe that Cross as a symbol on the shields of his legions. According to historians, these events played a decisive role in Constantine’s conversion to Christianity; he was the first Roman Emperor to rule in the name of Christ. So much so, that shortly afterwards he issues the Edict of Milan, which granted Christians freedom of worship after 300 years of persecution and killing. During his reign, Constantine unified the empire, abolished crucifixion as a form of capital punishment, moved the imperial seat from Rome to Constantinople and made the Cross the public symbol of Christianity, despite the fact that those who secretly had secretly professed their faith in Christ centuries before used it when performing their private rites.
His mother, Helena, already baptized and whose name means brilliant or shining, was summoned, after fourteen years of separation, by his son to Constantinople, where he conferred on her the title of Augusta. Despite her advanced age, she undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where she became acquainted with the Jewish custom of burying the instruments used in the killing of a criminal in the place of his execution. She had the Temple erected to Venus in Mount Calvary knocked down to search for the Cross on which Jesus was crucified.
   And this is how, on September 14th, 320 A.D., three crosses were found. An old legend explains the miraculous way in which she was able to identify which one might be the Wood
corresponding to Jesus. Somebody at the point of death was brought to touch the crosses and as soon as he came near to the Cross of our Lord he was immediately recovered. After this,
those present knelt down to adore the Holy Cross. In commemoration of this finding, every September 14th a ceremony of veneration has been held since then, which is called The Adoration of the Holy Cross or The Exaltation of the Holy Cross, as we call it in this area.
A short time after this finding, Helena relinquished her riches and devoted her life to the compassionate care of the sick and dying. For this reason, the Catholic Church has canonized her and we currently know her as Saint Helena, whose image presents her with the Holy Cross in her hands.
   This is the reason why the parish church of Capilla del Señor is dedicated to The Exaltation of the Holy Cross. If you pay attention, upon entering the church, on the upper part of the High Altar, you’ll see a glimmering triangle that symbolizes the Holy Trinity. Beneath it, you’ll see an Exaltation Cross, without Christ’s figure, which emulates the one found by Saint Helena in Jerusalem.

“…Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am…”


   In our parish church, inside a beautiful reliquary, two splinters of the Holy Cross are kept. This is, beyond any doubt, the most important Catholic heritage preserved in the churches of the Buenos Aires province countryside.
Fuente: Noticias, Boletín Informativo Nº 3. Asociación Pro Memoria de Capilla del Señor - 14/09/98
 

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