Perpetuating a family legacy

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By Luci Lizares

Thursday, April 24, 2014

AS FAR as I can remember, Holy Thursday and Good Friday were reserved for a trip to Talisay City.

Our grandmother Eleuteria Treyes Lizares had the Dolorosa caro which goes out on Holy Thursday attired in purple and she changes the next day for Good Friday and dons a totally black outfit.

I have never met my grandmother but her memory lives with us because of the Dolorosa.


When I was but a child, Holy Week was Holy Week. Excursions to beaches and vacations to places were unheard of. This was the time for deep reflection on the passion of Christ. As a child I did not have that deep concept. I only knew that this was the time that family would all be together in my Papa Ande’s (Simplicio Lizares Sr.) house in Talisay.( We call our Lolo Papa Ande—must be a shortcut of Papa Grande.) It was time to play with my other cousins, walk with the procession and play again after.

My lolo’s house is overlooking the plaza, so from the dining room upstairs and the adjacent smoking room (where the men would smoke their cigars after dinner) we could look out of the large windows and see what was happening in the plaza until it was time for the procession.

Weeks before Holy Week, my aunts would be huddled in the large dining table, a one-piece wood, good for 24 people and all the silver flowers would be placed on top of the table and one by one they would painstakingly unravel them.

My Tita would tell this story that they were very young then and they were told not to complain and do it lovingly. One of these days, the Blessed Mother will truly reward them.

I remember my Mom and all my aunts (both children and in-laws) would be dressed in somber clothes, and with high heels at that, walking through the streets. My Dad, his brothers, and the boys in our family tree would walk in front and the sides of the Dolorosa as if shielding the Blessed Mother and protecting the women of their family. To this day, our men maintain the same positions.

With the generation of working men and women and the concept on vacations and respites, Holy Week has its own evolution as well. The family legacy of having our Dolorosa has evolved as well BUT the devotion and the diligence have remained whole and intact.

To perpetuate this heritage, the family came to a meeting in 2002 and decided that we group ourselves into four. With some now living in close and distant shores, the partnerships were based on one local family being grouped with one from Cebu, Manila and America.

This grouping is in charge of the care and the preparations of the Sorrowful Mother of that particular year and of course, the agape, the dinner, to follow after.

These partnerships have worked so well and the annual processions have become “mini-reunions” with seeing our cousins, the Escarios from Cebu, the Gustilos from Manila and the Dus from America on their appointed schedules. It has become a bonding event to look forward to.

Even the Church has made some renovations. Gone are the days when processions were a two-day event. There are no more Holy Thursday processions and the purple outfit of our Dolorosa has been laid to deep slumber. Sad as it is, we follow the dictates of our Church.

I have great admiration for the people who have helped us with our Dolorosa. These past years, we have the blessing of having Francis, whose devotion to the Blessed Mother seems to even surpass some of us. Dutifully, he brings out the caro at the start of the week to totally clean its silver casing and slowly progressing with each day with the lights, the image and the flowers.

Gone are flowers that were unraveled and replaced by newer ones. Without Francis, I don’t know how we can manage!

My lady cousins and I would always wonder why our Lola Teria chose the Dolorosa. A sorrowful Mother with a dagger stabbed in her chest. Is this to be a legacy of pain Of tears Of sorrow

Learning more about the Dolorosa tells me of the journey of a mother through life. There will be trials. There will be struggles and challenges. There will be sorrows and a bucket full of tears. It is from these pains and hurts that we derive strength and understanding and most of all, acceptance. We can hurdle all these if we have a whole lot of love just like the Blessed Mother. She is the bastion of faith, hope and love. She is the patroness of our family and we, men and women alike, must learn to emulate her.

This year, it was good to see the locals in our family almost complete. Young kids playing around, teenagers joined in by not so teeny anymore talking and laughing during dinner. Cousins of our generation conversing in the same sofas we have sat on for decades with our Titos and Titas. Our elders were complete as well. Not anymore able to do the length of the procession but their very presence teaches.
Our new generation of children and grandchildren has set in, diligent to the call of the elders to join the walk we have been trained to do. In time, they will embrace the true meaning of this legacy. And in their time, they will be able to grasp and embrace the true essence of the sanctity of Holy Week, the redeeming meaning of Good Friday and the significance of the Blessed Mother’s journey from her fiat to her stabbat in our Dolorosa.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on April 24, 2014.


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