‘Karga Krus’ draws devotees to Sampaloc
MANILA, Philippines—On Good Friday, thousands of devotees are drawn to the Our Lady of Loreto Parish in Sampaloc, Manila, to take part in a thriving tradition that started out as a bid to get people in the community closer to God.
Some 2,000 to 3,000 people join the annual “Karga Krus” in which they take turns carrying a life-sized wooden cross during a procession to commemorate Jesus’ passion and death.
“It’s many things to many people now, but most of the devotees grew up taking part in the tradition,” said Manila Councilor Don Juan Bagatsing, whose family helps organize the annual pilgrimage in cooperation with the parish.
The tradition was started in 1967 by the parish priest of Loreto Church at that time, Msgr. Jesus Tizon, and Bagatsing’s grandfather, the late Manila Mayor Ramon Bagatsing.
“They wanted to bring the church to the grassroots, to the barangays. So they came up with this activity, in which the people take turns carrying the cross,” Bagatsing said.
The procession which passes through Lacson Avenue, Legarda, Recto to España Boulevard, starts at noon on Good Friday. It makes 13 stops along the way, in front of preselected houses for the Stations of the Cross.
Along the route, anyone in the procession can carry the cross, for about two to five minutes each. But based on tradition, a member of the Bagatsing family is the first one to take up the cross.
“People say that they join this tradition because this has been their vow for many years now. For us, it’s like that as well. It’s this once-a-year unique tradition in which we can thank God, offer petitions and ask for his forgiveness,” he said.
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