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Church: Holy Week not for beach escapade

By: - Reporter / @mj_uyINQ
/ 04:28 AM April 16, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—If you plan to go to Batanes this coming Holy Week, be sure it is for prayer and meditation and not for a summer escapade.

Batanes Bishop Camillo Gregorio on Friday lamented that most people are looking forward to spending the four-day break next week on picnics and beach parties, instead of communing with God.

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“It’s sad that to many, the Holy Week has become an occasion to go on vacation. They have forgotten its real meaning,” Gregorio said over Church-run Radio Veritas.

The prelate said Holy Week was supposed to be a time “to be with God” in silent prayer and reflection.

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“It’s an opportunity for us, faithful, to have a deeper conversion and to be in communion with God through personal reflection and sacrifice,” Gregorio said.

“I hope the people would get to experience this…to allow the Lord to enter your hearts in the hours of this silence.”

Off to the beaches

The Holy Week is the last week of the Lenten season, marked by fasting, abstinence, prayer and repentance as well as special liturgical services to commemorate the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.

This year’s Holy Week begins on April 17, Palm Sunday, and ends on April 24, Easter Sunday, when Catholics celebrate Christ’s resurrection.

While the Catholic Church encourages the faithful to observe the week in meditation and repentance, many Filipinos have come to regard it as an occasion for rest and recreation, mostly by going to the sunniest beaches.

Ideal for meditation

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Gregorio said Batanes, although one of the best tourist spots in the country, continues to observe the real meaning of the Holy Week.

“We don’t have any form of entertainment here during Holy Week…so this is really a good place for meditation,” he added.

Lingayen-Pangasinan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz said it was lamentable there had been a “secularization” of the days set aside by the Church and government for people to pray.

Saving the day

“Little by little, the people have deviated…. Instead of preparing for that purpose, the objective is to go on vacation and have some fun. It’s really a pity,” Cruz said on the phone.

Still, if the faithful choose to go on a holiday during the Holy Week, Cruz urged them to seek out churches in the places where they would stay, and to hear Mass and participate in the liturgical services.

“If there is a church in the place where they are going, it will be good if they can visit and attend the Mass just to save the day, so to speak,” Cruz said.

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TAGS: Churches (organisations), Religion & Belief
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