Palma to Catholics: Reflect this Lent than going to the beach, please
CEBU CITY – Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma is asking Catholic faithful to reflect and attend religious activities during the Holy Week instead of going to the beach for a vacation.
He said the Holy Week, which starts with Palm Sunday, is the best time to renew one’s relationship with God and reflect on the sacrifice and love of the Lord.
“There are 52 weeks in a year, and only one week when we are called to commemorate the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord,” said Palma in an interview.
The Holy Week is supposed to be the most somber period of the liturgical calendar leading up to the joy of Easter Sunday.
“If you intend to go on vacation, please do it after the Holy Week. I invite you to instead take part in various Church activities to further appreciate God’s love,” Palma said.
But he discouraged extreme penitential practices like an actual crucifixion with nails or flagellation.
In lieu of nails, he said, people should undergo spiritual renewal by going to confession and praying.
On Maundy Thursday, Palma will lead the Mass of the Lord’s last supper at 4 p.m. at the Cebu Cathedral.
During this day, priests reenact the washing of the feet of the apostles as Jesus’ symbol of humble service and love for each other, and celebrate the institution of priesthood and the Holy Eucharist.
“Maundy” Thursday comes from the Latin “mandatum,” which means “commandment.”
As recorded in John’s gospel, on his last night before his betrayal and arrest, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and then gave them a new commandment to love one another as he had loved them.
To conclude the Maundy Thursday liturgy, The Blessed Sacrament will be transferred to an altar of repose, usually decorated with flowers.
By tradition, Catholics visit various churches to pray before these altars as part of the Visita Iglesia.
On Good Friday, priests and selected lay persons will give their meditations on the Seven Last Words of Jesus Christ or Siete Palabras from noon till 3 p.m. at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.
The Good Friday liturgy and veneration of the holy cross will be held in all churches at 3 p.m.
On the eve of Black Saturday, an Easter Vigil and Mass—the grandest liturgical celebration in the entire Church year—will be held in all churches.
Rituals include the blessing of water and fire to commemorate Christ’s passing from death to life.
Adult baptism is also conducted in parishes for candidates who finished catechetical instructions in previous months.
At dawn of Easter Sunday, religious processions will reenact the meeting of the Virgin Mary and her son Jesus Christ in the “Sugat” which means “meeting” in Cebuano./ac
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