How holy is your Holy Week?

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Saturday, April 12, 2014


THE abundant religious discourses we find in the Philippines following the recent Supreme Court ruling on the Reproductive Health Law seem timely -- considering, after all, that today’s Palm Sunday celebration marks the beginning of Holy Week in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar. Indeed, religion is a live, bustling topic of conversation in our predominantly Catholic country, and as most Filipinos prepare to celebrate Jesus Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection this week, it becomes necessary to reflect on the place religion currently occupies in our lives.

Times are changing, and this has been confirmed by no less than Pope Francis, leader of the Catholic Church. We may take comfort in going about the usual Holy Week activities (some of which are listed below), but instead of doing them for the sake of tradition, we could do with a little more critical thinking. Times are changing, and it only makes sense to defend one’s faith in light of this, or to reform one’s values as needed.

So why do we believe? Why do others choose not to? What is it about our respective religions that draws us, and how much of our beliefs are upheld out of blind obedience to the doctrines and how much are grounded on genuine faith? On the personal level, how sincerely holy is your Holy Week, if you observe it at all?

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This is not to take anything away from strict religious upbringings, but if religion is to aid in one’s surrender to a higher power, it must not be opium. It cannot be learned superficially nor can it be studied too academically. Informed consent has some modicum of importance; otherwise any institution becomes deprived of freedom, and consequently of meaning.

To all Catholics, nominal or couldn’t-care-less: Why do you believe? I am no priest myself, but try to think about it. Think about what your faith really means to you. Then -- and only then -- may things like praying and fasting for hours on end, which actually seem ridiculous to some, come to have true meaning, importance, and integrity for the practicing Catholic.

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The San Antonio de Padua Parish on 12 St., Nazareth will hold parish-wide recollections from Monday to Wednesday at 7am. On Maundy Thursday, the mass of the Lord’s Last Supper will be held at 5am. Good Friday will begin with the Stations of the Cross at 4:30am, followed by a film showing of the 1985 movie “The Fourth Wise Man” at 12nn, the Seven Last Words at 1pm, and a celebration of the Lord’s Passion and a procession of the Sto. Entierro at 3pm. On Black Saturday, the Blessing of New Fire will begin at 6pm, and on Easter Sunday, the Salubong or Sugat will be held at 4:30am.

The Carmel of Mary, Mother of the Church and of St. Joseph in Camaman-an, Seminary Hill will hold masses from Monday to Wednesday at 6am. On Thursday, there will be no morning mass, in lieu of which mass will be celebrated at 5pm. On Friday, mass will be held at 3pm. On Saturday, the Easter vigil will commence at 8pm, ending with a mass on Sunday at 7am.

The Jesus Nazareno Parish – Archdiocesan Shrine of the Black Nazarene on C.M. Recto Avenue will hold the Stations of the Cross from Monday to Wednesday after a 5:30pm mass. The mass of the Last Supper will be held on Thursday at 6pm. On Friday, the Stations of the Cross will be at 5am, then there will be a Siete Palabras drama presentation at 12nn. Following these will be a celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 3pm, a procession of the Sto. Entierro at 5pm, and a procession of La Soledad at 8pm. The Easter vigil on Saturday will begin at 6:30pm, ending with the Sugat at 4am on Sunday.

The Santuario Eucaristico - Sacred Heart Parish on R.N. Pelaez Blvd., Kauswagan will conduct the Stations of the Cross inside the Shrine at 6am on Thursday, followed by a mass of the Lord’s Supper at 6pm. On Friday, the Stations of the Cross will be around the parish and it will begin at 4am, after which the celebration of the Lord’s Passion will be at 3pm, followed by a procession of the Sto. Entierro and a film showing of “The Passion of the Christ.” On Saturday, the Easter vigil will be at 6:30pm, and on Sunday, there will be a procession at 3:45am, followed by the Sugat at 4:30am.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Carmen will hold the Stations of the Cross at 4am from Monday to Wednesday. On Thursday, there will be a parish-wide recollection from 8am to 12nn, after which will be a liturgical celebration of the Last Supper at 5PM. On Friday, the Stations of the Cross will be conducted at 4am, the Seven Last Words will be at 12nn, and a veneration of the Cross will be at 3pm, followed by a procession of the Sto. Entierro at 4pm and a procession of La Soledad at 10pm. The Blessing of New Fire will be held at 6pm on Saturday, and the Sugat will be at 4am on Sunday.

Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan on Hayes St. will offer free admission to “Ang Pasyon ni Hesukristo,” presented by the Xavier Stage on Wednesday and Thursday, 3:30pm and 7:30pm at the XU Little Theater. Its Campus Ministries Office will also conduct a Holy Week Triduum Retreat which will last from Thursday to Saturday, and it will be held at the University Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In the St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral, the Stations of the Cross will be inside the church from Monday to Wednesday, at 3pm. On Thursday, the mass of the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated at 6pm. On Friday, the Via Crucis will be at 5am, the Seven Last Words will be at 12nn, adoration of the Holy Cross will be at 3pm, and the Sto. Entierro procession will be at 5:30pm. The Easter vigil on Saturday will commence at 6pm. On Sunday, there will be a Sugat and Eucharistic celebration beginning 3:30 am.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 13, 2014.

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