Masses and Chapel
“Why open the Hermitage?”
The majority of the inhabitants of Elda can locate the hermitage of San Antón in the street map. But almost all of them have an image of the chapel crowded with people with the image of the saint on the platforms coming out or entering on the shoulders of the comparsistas in charge of making the corresponding transfer.
Few people have been able to go through the doors of the chapel and enjoy a small encounter with the image of the patron saint of the Moors and Christians festival in an intimate and peaceful way.
This is the goal that stewardship set for itself when it decided to open the chapel on the afternoons of the last Friday of the month.
Seeing the surprise and devotion that many Elders showed when they saw the “empty” chapel with the benches and the usual decoration during the year, it was decided to give access to anyone who wanted to pray with the saint in a more relaxed atmosphere than usual on the days of large celebrations or simply enter and see the image more closely and in more detail.
“Masses in the Hermitage of San Anton”
“In September 1996, in agreement with the local clergy and following their indications, the Eucharist is instituted in the Hermitage on dates close to the 17th of each month, beginning in October of each festive year and ending the last one in May. Each month will be dedicated to a group, and it is during this Mass that the banners, flags, insignias, etc. will be blessed, but this cannot be done during the main Mass in June.
(Extracted from the memory of the Stewardship of San Antón from 1994 to 2002 prepared by Don Miguel Ángel Escribá Martínez, president of the Stewardship of San Antón from 1998 to 2002)
As we can read in the previous text, since 1996, masses have been held in the chapel on the 17th of each month. Each group celebrates a Eucharist in which they remember in a special way those people or events that have been important throughout the year. In a more emotional way, they usually remember the festive people who have died in the last year. The occasion is also used to recognize the work of those who have had an outstanding task for the troupe, such as the festive positions or the board of directors.
According to the calendar established at the beginning of September, each comparsa knows when it is going to celebrate its Eucharist and together with the stewardship it can prepare the texts and readings of its Mass to give a particular touch to the moment of meeting and praying with San Antón.
The only exception to this rule is the Moorish Muslim troupe, whose mass is held on Friday morning during the festival, before the image of San Anton is moved from the chapel to the church of Santa Ana.