How Pinays Abroad Observe Holy Week | Pinay.com
The Lenten season is an important part of Filipina life. For one week—it starts on Palm Sunday, April 13, to Easter Sunday, April 20—Christians in the Philippines take time to deepen their faith, do penance and reflect on the Passion of Jesus Christ.
On Maundy Thursday, Christians usually attend mass and visit several churches in what is called Visita Iglesia. Good Friday is a time to hear Christ’s Seven Last Words, which is also known as Siete Palabras. On this same day, some Filipinos set the stage for Cenakulo, a play about the passion of Christ.
Mourning Christ’s death continues till Black Saturday, Sabado de Gloria, when Easter Vigil is held at night. Easter Sunday culminates the Holy Week as Christians celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord. With the risen Christ comes a promise of new life and renewal of Christians’ commitment to their faith.
Pinay.com asked three Pinays in different parts of the globe to tell us how they observe the Lenten season and below are their responses:
Tess Cruz (Hong Kong, China)
My husband and I belong to Bukas Loob sa Diyos-HK (BLDHK), a Catholic charismatic community based in St. Joseph’s Church, on Garden Road. I observe lent by fasting and going to mass everyday. I belong to the BLDHK choir and we sing at mass on Holy Thursday and Black Saturday vigil every year at St. Joseph’s, where my husband also serves as acolyte and Eucharistic minister. I do the Stations of the Cross every Wednesday and Friday during Lenten season. I pray and go to confession once during Lent.
Carmen Antonio (Beaumont, California, U.S.A.)
Holy Week is always family time in commemorating our good Lord’s passion so that means:
Holy Thursday: attending as a family the Last Supper services late in the afternoon at our local parish and after that the Visita Iglesia to at least 7 parishes around the area.
Good Friday: the family doing the Way of the Cross together—for the past several years we go to this Carmelite Retreat place where the different stations are situated around the hill—and then attend the Good Friday services. In the evening, we all watch the movie The Passion. Of course, fasting and abstinence are respectfully observed.
But basically, the Holy Week is a conscious and cheerful effort on everyone’s part to be more charitable, kind and compassionate in the hope it will be carried out not only during Lent but the whole year round.
Olive Melaya Strohman (Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.A.)
I missed the Visita Iglesia in Manila on Holy Thursdays—riding the jeepney or walking from one church to another for the Stations of the Cross—as well as the procession on Good Fridays in my hometown Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro, where I spent most of our Holy Week with the whole Melaya family.
Lenten Season starts on Ash Wednesday with ashes on my forehead as well as fasting and abstinence. All Fridays, no meat at all for me or at times, no rice for 40 days which is really hard since I’m a Filipina who loves to eat rice and fish.
From Holy Monday to Good Friday, I make it a point to go to church during my one-hour lunch break. On Holy Thursday, I usually attend the Holy Mass at night with the washing of the feet. My son Oliver and I have been invited twice to become part of this celebration.
On Good Friday, I work half day and go to church at 3:00 p.m. to attend the commemoration of the passion and death of Jesus Christ. I also attend the Sabado de Gloria celebration especially the High Mass, and the Easter Sunday Celebration.
Tish Leizens is a great believer in asking lots of questions. That was how she was trained as a business journalist for newspapers and magazines. That was how she survived trying moments in her personal life and how she navigated a successful career and business in media. In 1997, she asked, “Why not?” And so, she moved from Manila to New York City. It was and continues to be a great adventure. After stints as a reporter for Manila Chronicle and Manila Times; correspondent for The Straits Times and Gulf News; Tish worked as editor for Conde Nast, and later edited and published her own regional magazines, OurHouse and Excursions. OurHouse, sold in bookstores chains in the East Coast, was nationally recognized for its innovative approach to magazine publishing. Tish has lectured at the New York Public Library on how to launch a magazine and other topics related to publishing. She was featured in CNN Money in 2010.