Faithful rejoice at ‘salubong’

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THE MEETING A risen Jesus greets a veiled Virgin Mary (left) in a symbolic re-creation of their first meeting after His resurrection from the dead 2,000 years ago. Joyful Catholics celebrated Easter Sunday in this photo taken in Barangay Lucban in Paco, Manila. RODEL ROTONI

MANILA, Philippines—Confetti rained down and children with angelic voices sang praises for the Risen Lord as Catholics around Metro Manila Sunday welcomed a new dawn with one of the most cherished of Filipino Easter traditions—the “salubong.”

The salubong is a symbolic re-creation of the meeting between Jesus Christ and His mother, the Virgin Mary, after His resurrection from the dead 2,000 years ago. At the re-creation, Mary’s deep sorrow is changed into great joy when she sees him alive.

Although it is not recorded in the Bible, Catholics believe Mary was one of the first people Jesus met after he rose from the dead.

In a homily at San Fernando de Dilao Parish Church in Paco during the Easter Vigil Mass before the salubong, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged Filipinos to seek the Risen Christ by helping the poor, the hungry, the homeless and those in prison

But he said Filipinos were more interested in rumors, personal attacks and sensationalism.

“It is very seldom that we hear news about the presence of Christ who has risen … When the word of God is being preached, we are asleep because it is not what we are looking for,” Tagle said.

End of Mary’s sorrows

Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, media chief of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said the practice of the salubong began during the Spanish times.

“It was originally called the ‘encuentro.’ The priests then organized this to dramatize the meeting of the Risen Christ with the Virgin Mary. So it was meant to catechize or to teach the faith,” Quitorio said.

“The lifting of the veil is meant to symbolize the end of the Virgin Mary’s sorrows. It’s like saying, ‘Grieve no more for your Son is risen.’”

The “encuentro” is also observed in Latin American countries that were once colonies of Spain.

The traditional song for the occasion is the Regina Coeli, the ancient Latin hymm to the Virgin Mary. Its first three lines were supposedly heard by Pope Gregory the Great from what he thought were angels singing one Easter morning back in the 12th century.

The ceremony in Paco started around 8 p.m. on Saturday, and lasted for more than three hours. Afterward, the congregation marched out of the church in two groups behind two carriages bearing the images of the Christ and a veiled Mary.

The two groups went their separate ways and, after around 20 minutes, met again along Apacible Street, where the salubong took place.

In the Paco re-creation, children wearing white—some with made-up wings—sang praises as the two carriages met.

Then came the climax. A forklift, also covered in white, raised one girl dressed as an angel and she took off the veil from the statue of the Virgin Mary in the other carriage.

A shower of confetti then rained down on those present.

‘Seek the Risen Christ’

At the diocesan shrine of Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu in San Mateo, Rizal, more than 1,000 Catholics, many of them carrying lighted candles, gathered for the salubong in front of the church at around 4:30 a.m.

A choir sang a hymn as a girl dressed as an angel was hoisted up and took off the veil from Mary’s statue. The priest then celebrated Mass.

Tagle urged his parishioners to “seek the Risen Christ” and not dwell in modern “tombs” of sin and violence.

“What did the two angels tell the women (who were looking for Jesus Christ)? ‘Why do you seek the Risen One in the places of the dead?’ My brothers and sisters, what is it that we really seek? As baptized Christians, is it really the Risen Christ who we seek in our daily life?” Tagle said.

“Some people, when they look at their lives, they see no resurrection. What they only see are the negatives … only the tombs of their lives,” he said.

“But we can see from our readings that God moves in what we call the resurrection. From darkness, chaos and sin, God always answers by giving up His life,” he added.

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  • UrHONOR

    >>>Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, media chief of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said the practice of the salubong began during the Spanish times.<<<

    SA halip na tulungan ang mga kabayan upang harapin ang katotohan, pina-iiral pa din ang ilang daang taon na kaugaliang wala namang naitutulong sa pangkalahatang kabuhayan at katayuan ng buhay ng mga mamamayan kundi ang FIESTA na pagdiriwang na pangsamantalang kaligayahan lamang tulad ng isang GAME SHOW. Tapos, balik na naman sa paghihikahos sa buhay at baliik na naman sa kaisipang MAGDUSA, MAGHIRAP, at MAGTTIIS….habang ang kumita ng malaki sa KASAYAHAN ay naka-taas ang paang nanonood ng sine sa 72" TV, beer sa isang kamay, at Rosario at kabila.

  • InChristAlone_75

    Mary is a highly favored, blessed woman, chosen by God to bear Jesus our savior and her savior too.

    She is human, a sinner who needed Christ just like the rest of us.

    She is not a coredemptrix, mediatrix, or an advocate.

    Only Jesus was nailed on the cross and died for our sins. He is the only mediator and advocate for us.

    • xrisp

      Brother sorry but you are totaly wrong about your understanding of the role of Mother Mary. You are very correct in your 1st statement then your next statements just disproved this and also proved the shallowness of your understanding about Mother Mary’s role in the design of God for man’s salvation. Approach the role of Mother Mary with humility and receive enlightenment.

      • InChristAlone_75

        When I was a catholic I knew Mary more than Jesus, in fact I prayed the hail Mary more than I prayed the Lord’s Prayer. Catholics have elevated Mary to the throne that only Jesus Christ owns, you affirm this every time you pray to her – please go over your litany of the blessed virgin… The teachings of the RCC about Mary are nowhere found in the Bible.

        Here’s what the Bible really teaches:

        ‘Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.’ Acts 4-12

      • xrisp

        I wont argue with you brother but just wish to say that there is no teaching in the RCC that is not biblical. Did you study the Catholic faith when you were still a Catholic? Just asking & good day.

      • jpeter262

        These are just few of the teachings that are not biblical:

        1. The Ten Commandments:

        The Catholic rearranged the Ten Commandments to accommodate Sun day as Lord’s day instead of the Seventh Day Sabbath and pagan practices of Idolatry.

        2. Resurrection:

        The Catholic initiated the teaching that Jesus Christ died on Friday and was risen on early dawn on Sunday. Jesus Christ only sign that He is the Messiah was to stay in the tomb for 3 days and 3 nights as the prophet Jonah was 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of the fish. Jesus Christ died on Wednesday before Sunset and risen on Saturday before sunset.

        3. Easter :

        A pagan practice to celebrate the God of fertility(sexuality) Estar. Easter Bunny and Easter Egg are symbols of fertility — Multiply faster.

        4. Christmas:

        A pagan practice to celebrate the birth of god the Sun. Bible scholar won’t agree that Jesus Christ was born in a cold winter season.
        There were Shepherd at the time of His birth.

      • InChristAlone_75

        The worship of Mary (and saints) is just one of the many false teachings of the RCC.

        If you meant studying the catechism, no I didn’t. The catholic faith is a very complex religion and I simply didn’t know who Christ really was and what He has done for me, until He gave me the precious gift of faith.

        I always remember what Paul said in Romans 10:2 about the Jews
        – For I can testify about them that they are zealous for
        God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. This is exactly how i feel about Catholics – my family, my friends.

        Read your Bible brother and may God open your heart to see the truth of His Word.

  • penoy2012

    A glorious Easter to us all….well, including the politicians too.

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