Alfombra is an ‘offering to God,’ parishioner says

A colorful carpet known as an “alfombra” covered the aisle of Church of the Annunciation in Shelbyville, Ky., during Holy Week. The carpet, created by parishioners, was trod upon during a Eucharistic procession on Holy Thursday. (Photo Special to the Record)

Parishioners of Church of the Annunciation in Shelbyville, Ky., created a traditional carpet of sawdust called an “alfombra” in the church’s center aisle for Holy Week.

The colored sawdust formed the shapes of flowers and images from the Gospel stories, including the Holy Family and Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey.

The alfombra is a Holy Week tradition in Central American countries, such as Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico, said Maritza Valenzuela, a native of Guatemala.

Valenzuela, a member of Annunciation, said she created the carpet along with her sister Mirian Valenzuela, her cousin Griselda Valenzuela and her sister-in-law Carolina Corado. The alfombra is usually created in the aisle of a church or on a road where individuals, carrying an image of Jesus, process, she said. 

Father David Sanchez, pastor, led a Eucharistic procession on the alfombra on Holy Thursday, April 6, she said.

The carpet usually takes 10 to 12 hours to complete. To begin with, the women reached out to the community asking people to collect sawdust. Two days before it’s created, the sawdust is dyed. “It’s an offering to God. It’s something special,” said Maritza Valenzuela, who said she believes Christ himself walks on the alfombra as the priests carry the monstrance across it.

Ruby Thomas
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Ruby Thomas
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