By Bianca Marie France E. Viadan
Visita Iglesia is a Lenten Tradition especially practiced by Roman Catholics. Visiting at least seven different churches on Maunday Thursday or Holy Thursday and Good Friday is the most known “Panata” or sacred vow by Filipino Catholics in our country. The Tradition was started by Philip Romolo Neri known as the “Second Apostle of Rome” derives back from 16th century as a form of penance done out of repentance and with the desire for forgiveness.
“Mahal Na Araw “also known as Semana Santa is a solemn and Holy Tradition in our country, one of the most Christian countries in Asia, wherein 78.8 percent of the population are Catholics. Most faithful believers practice Visita Iglesia where they visit seven nearby and even further apart churches with their families and friends as a reference to the seven last words or testaments of Jesus from the day of his suffering all the way to his crucifixion, death, and resurrection. Some devotees from different provinces in the country even carry a cross to share the suffering of Christ and a few of those were being nailed through crucifixion.
During Holy Week, Huwebes Santo and Biyernes Santo are the two public holidays of the week which gives people especially workers and employees to go back home and visit their families. But as the years have gone by, together with the advancement of the world and technology, the real essence of the Lenten Season was nearly forgotten by the people who were once a devotee of our country’s Holy Tradition. Some take this time as an opportunity to travel, plan a party and catch up with relatives by going out of town instead of dedicating their time to repent and ask for forgiveness of their sins.
Going back home to visit our families during Lenten Season will be more meaningful if together, we can take our time to remember the sacrifice of Jesus. Take this as an opportunity to remember all the blessings and forgiveness our Father up above has given us no matter how unworthy we are. May we always be thankful for the gift of life He grants us each day, may each one of us remain grateful for everything we have and didn’t have, and I hope and pray that we will learn how to live our lives every day remembering that we were forgiven through the sacrifice and blood of Christ Jesus.
Let us learn how to spread kindness and goodness to our neighbors for we are all children of God. No matter how different our ways of celebrating the life of Jesus and no matter how we call ourselves as believers, we will always be His and His only because we are nothing without Him.
GOD never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.Pope Francis
Holy Bible King James Version, Wikipedia Seven Churches Visitation, Catholic & Cultures Official Website, Christianity Official Website, Sobicain Official Website, Philippine News Agency Official Website, and Catholink PH Official Website
Bianca Marie France E. Viadan , Operations Management. Born on the 2nd day of October year 1990, eldest daughter of 2 and currently residing in Tarlac City. Graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology. A Philippine ARMY reservist graduated in Advance ROTC. Traffic Control Room Specialist at SCTEX base. Fond of writing poems, short stories, reading, photography, singing, and playing the guitar. Ambivert loves to travel and discover nature. Forgiving and friendly in nature.