Evolving commemoration of the Holy Week

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

OBSERVING the Holy Week has been more than a religious doctrine in the Philippines. It has become a tradition rooted in our culture.

In the olden days, people strictly followed the traditional way of commemorating Holy Week by participating or witnessing the Station of the Cross, reflecting with the Seven last words or Siete Palabras, partaking with the Easter vigil and “Sugat.”

According to Father Der John Faborada of Sto. Niño de Oro Parish in Cogon, Holy Week is “a week of penance, reflection, prayer and fasting which prepares us for Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.”


“It is when we remember the saving deed of God by offering His Son for the salvation of humanity,” Fr. Faborada added.

“Sa Holy week, nawala na ang iyang pagka-holy. Mura na siya’g pista, nawala na iyang esensya,” Pepits (not his real name) believes that the essence of the Holy Week has been lost. It being a time for penance, reflection, and sacrifice and knowing how Christ saved the human race from the bondage of sin.

Pepits is a Catholic. He claims to be one of the economically-disadvantaged citizens of the country imposed by the upper one percent of the population.

“Bisan pa man, kalambigitan sa sitwasyon, krisis sa kahimtang, gatu-o pa gihapon pero di na ginalihok,” he lamented.

Nowadays, people spend their Holy Week with their family as a long vacation, a break from their daily routines, a time for resting and go to beautiful spots of the country to relax and unwind. “People believe it but do not practice it anymore,” he said.

Instead of commemorating the death and resurrection of Christ, “Lahi na ang pag commemorate, di na tradisyon ang holy week, nawala na ang iyang esensya,” he argued.

“Mura’g ang simbahan nalang ang gatu-o ana, gapaningkamot na mabalik ang esensya ng Holy week,” he added.

Another Catholic, Ryan Madrid, one of the people traveling to observe the Holy Week, sees it as a time for resting. He was set to go to Camiguin for Panaad, a way of penance, together with his family.

During the Lenten season, he goes wherever his family goes. He believes that “it’s like going back to your roots.”

“Mura siya’g Christmas (It’s like Christmas), most of the people don’t even care about the essence,” he added. He thinks that people these days, including him, are left indifferent with the Holy Week’s essence as “a sad reflection of how our culture has become so corrupted.”

Maklord (not his real name) and his friends went to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in Barangay Tablon to strengthen their friendship and relationship with God. He believes once they finished the ‘Panaad,’ God will favor him in reaching his dreams and become successful in life.

“Buylo ang pasahero,” was what Nestor Cañete’s uttered when asked what is Holy Week for him.

Nestor is one the bus drivers who transports people to their destination.

“Pag ma-taymingan nga ang schedule kay mahal na adlaw, wa ta’y mabuhat ana kun dili mag drive, mao na pud ni akong sakripisyo para sa Ginoo ug sa pamilya,” he said while welcoming the passengers boarding the bus with a wave of his hand.

Every passenger will return home to their families while Nestor drives away from his family to earn and support them their needs.

“We should correct the distorted way of celebrating Holy Week,” Fr. Faborada encourages the believers of Christ, particularly the Roman Catholics.

“Some of us, ang Holy Week kay moadto’g mga beach resorts and many other spots. Some equated Holy Week parehas sa summer escapade ug puros lakwatsa. Some may be attending different liturgical activities pero dala pani-id or PDP (Panaad dala pani-id),” he added. (Lynyrd Alexsei N. Corrales XU-DevCom Intern)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 20, 2014.


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