Parishioners at Our Lady of Grace in Encino displayed an 80-foot-long handcrafted “alfombra” on the weekend of April 8-10 in solidarity with the victims of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

“Alfombras” are a tradition in Latin America that depict scenes from Holy Week and are filled in with colored salt and sawdust. 

A close-up of one of the scenes in the “alfombra,” made from colored salt and sawdust. (Craig Scime/Our Lady of Grace)

“Our alfombra was a representation of our Lord’s Passion, but not only that, it is also a representation of our current social problems,” said Father Marinello Saguin, pastor of Our Lady of Grace. The living carpet, he said, makes “a statement of support to those who suffer war, hunger, fear, and depression. This also helps us to remember that the Lord defeated all suffering.”

The alfombra featured 6 panels, each representing a scene from Holy Week, including an elevated host, a crown of thorns, and the cross. Each panel was connected with vines and “the flowers of peace” that represented the parish’s prayers for an end to the war in Ukraine. 

Our Lady of Grace's “alfombra” was made as a sign of solidarity with the victims of the war in Ukraine. (Craig Scime/Our Lady of Grace)

The last panel, just before the church’s altar, was a rendering of Our Lady of Fátima. “We wanted to include her as a reminder [of] the promise she made to us in 1917: In the end, my immaculate heart will triumph,” Father Saguin said. 

The project was supported by Catholic Relief Services, the Knights of Columbus, and the Catholic Daughters of the Americas.