Siete Palabras 2020: Reflections on ecumenism and harmony

Photo courtesy of the Cebu Archdiocesan Commission on Social Communication

INTER-RELIGIOUS dialogue and promoting a harmonious relationship with indigenous peoples will be the general theme of the Archdiocese of Cebu's Siete Palabras or the Seven Last Words of Jesus, which will be streamed live and telecast on Good Friday, April 10, 2020.

Msgr. Raul Go, the head organizer of this year’s Siete Palabras, told SunStar Cebu that the theme is in tune with the declaration of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines of 2020 as the Year of Inter-religious Dialogue and Ecumenism.

The speakers include Fr. Alvin Raypan, chaplain of the St. Pedro Calungsod Shrine, who will make the introductory reflection. He will be followed by Fr. Roberto Ebisa of the Society of the Divine Word and Pastor Joe Steven Berdin of the United Church of Christ who will reflect on the first of Christ’s seven last words: “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Ebisa is the station manager of radio dyRF and current president of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas-Cebu chapter while Berdin is the chairperson of the Cebu City Interfaith Movement.

Berdin and Sister Bernadita Gucor will expound on the second of Jesus’ last words: “Amen, I say to you. From this day forward, you will be with me in Paradise.” Gucor is in charge of the inter-religious dialogue of the Focolare Movement Cebu, a Catholic-based movement.

Sister Mildred Soldevilla and Venerva Amil will reflect on the third of Jesus’ Jesus’ last words: “Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother.” Soldevilla is a member of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Cebu while Amil is a teacher of Badjao descent.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” the fourth of Jesus’ last words, will be fleshed out by lawyer Rose Liza Osorio and Humaida Jumalon. Osorio is an environmental lawyer and managing trustee of the Philippine Earth Justice Center Inc. while Jumalon is one of the owners of the Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary in Cebu City.

Sister Maria Gina Gorre and Shanadz Gunga will talk about the fifth of Jesus’ last words: “I thirst.” Gorre is the mother general of the Franciscan Sisters Pro-Infante Et Familia in Cebu while Gunga, a Muslim, is a student under her care.

Couple Reynaldo and Jerenia Samaco and their son, Christian Rey will reflect on the sixth of Jesus’ last words: “It is finished.” Samaco and his family are the founders of the Fazenda de Esperansa Philippines, which provides assistance to recovering drug addicts.

Discussing the seventh and last of Jesus’ final words, “Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit” will be Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma will then make the concluding reflection. The Siete Palabras will be aired on radio and TV and livestreamed through the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral's Facebook page.

This will be the first time that the Archdiocese of Cebu will hold the Siete Palabras without a large congregation, a decision made as a precautionary measure against the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and in compliance with the enhanced community quarantine, which is in effect in Cebu.

Aside from the Siete Palabras, Palma will also lead the Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday activities to be held at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral and streamed live on social media. All activities may be viewed on the Facebook account of the Cathedral or via @katedralsasugbo. The same live streaming will be shared in the Facebook accounts of SunStar Cebu, Superbalita Cebu and SunStar Philippines.

Palma will hold the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday, April 9, 2020, at 4 p.m. On Good Friday, April 10, the Lord’s Passion will start at 3 p.m. For Black Saturday, April 11, the faithful may participate in the Easter vigil mass to be held at 5:30 p.m. The Easter Sunday Mass will be at 6:30 a.m. of April 12. (JCT, SunStar Philippines)


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