MY BEST friend and I try to keep our Holy Week traditions going as much as we can. A couple of years back we started doing the Visita Iglesia together. We do our seven churches on holy week day that we agree on, regardless of the Lenten traditions that actually go with it.
Yeah. We do it our own way but with fervent thanks for Jesus’ sacrifices and prayers for everyone. We went ahead and did the seven churches, said our prayers and lighted our incense (it was his idea not mine). We did it Maundy Thursday afternoon.
I realize now that visiting the seven churches should be done starting Maundy Thursday evening, after the Mass of the Last Supper, when the Blessed Sacrament has been placed on the altar for adoration. Choosing the churches wasn’t that difficult either, as we came up with the list even before we started. Since we were doing the rounds earlier, there weren’t too many people around yet, although the heat was exquisitely causing us serious dehydration.
It is good to have “traditions” like this, I think. It is an opportunity for friends to bond, especially when you both have busy schedules during regular days. It is fun because you are able to catch up on things while doing something spiritual where you can share personal insights and reflections about faith, religion and life.
Visita Iglesia is also something that I observe with my family. I joined mine last Good Friday. After visiting our dearly departed loved ones, we hied off to visit the churches. We said the Stations of the Cross and paid our respects to Jesus Christ. Sitting in one of the church benches, I observed how children accompanied by their parents (usually their mother) would approach the departed Jesus tentatively, probably scared.
It was such an endearing sight when an adult, usually a mom, would tenderly tell the child not to be afraid. I could only imagine what she was saying and happily observe how they would start walking towards the statue and pay their respects either by kissing it or touching it or by saying a prayer before leaving.
Age-old traditions like this should never die. It would be nice to pass such tradition from generation to generation. It may see a bit of tweaking but as long as the essence of the observance of the Holy Week stays strong, we are going to be okay. Modern times with its modern take on traditional values and traditions will come. Quite honestly, it is unavoidable but as long as the essence does not get lost in translation, things will go on for generations to come!
Happy Easter Everyone! :)