Easter Celebrations Canceled

The rounded dome of the Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the iconic spire of St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral’s in Valletta’s harbor. Photograph: © Jeffrey Cardenas

Good Friday. In this context, it has always been difficult for me to understand the use of the word “good.” In Malta today, as COVID lingers like the plague it is, Good Friday takes on an even darker tone. The Archdiocese of Malta suspended the celebration of public Masses on Easter to contain the spread of coronavirus.

On Good Friday, according to the Bible, the son of God was whipped bloody and humiliated as he carried a cross upon which he was nailed before finally being put to death. Good Friday? Historians believe it was simply a question of etymology, a word developed from an older name, possibly “God’s Friday.” Theologians look at it differently. Good Friday is holy, they believe, because on this day when Jesus Christ gave his life in sacrifice for people’s sins it was an embodiment of compassion, love, and empathy.

I think about this as I walk the narrow streets of Valletta on this tiny island with 359 churches. I look out at the rounded dome of the Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the iconic spire of St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral. Easter Sunday Mass, with the parishioners of Malta and Caravaggio’s masterworks in St. John’s Cathedral, is canceled. I resolve to dig deep into my faith to recognize the true meaning of Good Friday.


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Text and Photography © Jeffrey Cardenas 2021

Let this be a time of grace and peace in our lives   –Fr. John Baker

15 thoughts on “Easter Celebrations Canceled

  1. Jeffrey, thank you for sharing that beautiful photo of the two churches in Valletta, I’m glad you made it safely to Malta 🇲🇹 and wow 359 churches. Even though mass celebrations have been canceled, what a fabulous place to spend Easter Sunday and reflect on this Good Friday.
    Safe sailing and Peace be with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good to know you are safely in Malta, but sad to learn that the pandemic is still raging there and that Easter services are cancelled. Stay safe, and thank you for sharing your wonderful travels with us.


  3. Hello Jeff And a “Good” Friday to you to my friend. You certainly have come a long way, what a journey! Can there be a better way to spend your day? Not that I’m aware of. Taking time to ponder the questions of life is priceless.
    Smooth sailing buddy.
    Captain Barry Kanavy

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am always so happy to hear from you, Capt. In one sense it has been a long journey. Another way to look at it is that every day is a new journey, regardless of where you are. Blessings to you and your family, my friend.


  4. Many Easter Blessings to you Jeff! The photos are breath taking. Makes one feel so reverent. Sorry to hear that mass was canceled. What an awesome vibe to just be there and feel the holiness. Safe sailing!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is so much LIFE here. Children running in the parks (with masks). Amazing food (take out). And a sense of living with what we are given–good or bad.
      Thank you for your comments, Leanne.


  5. Happy Easter anyway Jeffrey. Good luck figuring out the crazy Catholic religion. Twelve years of Catholic school made me give up religion entirely.



    Liked by 1 person

    • It IS a happy Easter, Marilyn. I’m cooking a rabbit on the boat for Easter dinner. That should be amusing. I think you’d find religion here 🙂 Malta is like Paris… with sailing. And nicer people.


  6. Hi Jeffrey,
    Happy Easter! I hope you enjoy the day on Malta even without large celebrations. Plenty of bells should be ringing.
    Since you are in the middle of the Mediterranean I recall the concepts associated with the “Roman Lakefront Empire” per Henri Pirenne in his book Mohamed and Charlemagne. You may well have read it, but if not it relates to and clarifies the history surrounding you. I read it while Carol and I were in Peace Corps Tunisia in 1974 and it added a lot to my lack of understanding of history.
    Be safe,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, you are not kidding about the bells, Ken. I woke up to the sound of bells and six hours later the bells are still ringing.
      I don’t know the Henri Pirenne book but I am going to try and find it. There are lots of booksellers in Valletta, and for the first time since Australia, the books are written in English.
      I also did not know about your personal history in Tunisia. That must have been enlightening. Tunis is likely my next port of call, but I am not eager to leave Malta yet.


  7. Happy Easter Jeffrey
    I just wanted to thank you for your writing. I have learned a great deal while also being affected by the way you express your personal thoughts.

    I am back in New Zealand having done the mandatory managed isolation soloing up and down the coast enjoying this special place. Currently on Great Barrier Is in a peaceful cove.

    All the best.

    Jim (Let’s Go!)

    Liked by 1 person

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