Thursday, March 24, 2005

Visita Iglesia
This year, we decided to limit ourselves to only 7 churches, the ones located within our vicinity.
First of all because of the security risks involved (after the ASG's plan to destabilize during the Lenten season was made public) and secondly after what happened Easter of last year (my father suffered a mild stroke) we thought it is better not to venture off too far away from home.
First church where we also heard the 6pm Maundy Thursday mass was St Francis, located on Shaw Boulevard. This is situated just 10 minutes away from our place.
Next stop - Mary the Queen Parish near Madison Square, Greenhills. I recommended it after I attended my friend, Carmen's wedding in December 2003. It is spacious and I like the fact that it is isolated thus more secure.
3rd stop - Church of St John the Baptish otherwise known as the Pinaglabanan Church in San Juan. This place of worship is very memorable. It is located within walking distance of my high school, St John's Academy . I used to drop by whenever I needed to reflect and pray for good grades during my exams.
Just 10 minutes away is the Sanctuario de Santo Christo Church also in San Juan. Another church that was part of my youth where I witnessed weddings, cried during funerals and welcomed newly born infants into Christiandom.
Cruising down to Kalentong then passing over a bridge (not sure what its name is) is the Santa Ana church. It is where my parents took their marriage vows, 37 years ago. It is one of my favorites to visit during Holy Week. The adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is located outside the main church. It is well decorated with foliage, flowing waterfalls, rock formation fountain with dim lights and you can hear monks chanting in the background. It is very solemn and it really puts you in a reflective mood.
6th on our route was the San Felipe Neri church on Boni Avenue. I used to pass by this church on my way home from school. The adoration was simple but I like the effect of the dry twigs laying on the path leading to the altar.
Our last stop was at the Divine Mercy Shrine at the Mandaluyong City Hall rotunda. You have to climb stairs to get to the church but once inside you immediately feel the solemnity of the occasion and it has such a cozy feel to it.

On average we spent about 15-20 minutes in each of the churches we visited. I didn't ask for anything in particular, I just praised and thanked God for the abundant blessings HE has bestowed on me and my family. Most specially thankful for the fact that my father has made a full recovery from his health scare last year.
I noticed though that this year few families made the rounds of the different churches. I can tell because we were able to park right in the church itself where as before we had to walk a few distance.
Maybe this traditional way of spending Maundy Thursday is no longer widely practiced among the younger generation. Maybe people were a bit apprehensive due to the bomb threats. Or maybe, some chose to take advantage of the 4 day holiday and went to their home provinces. Or they might be frolicking in beach resorts enjoying the sun and sand. So wherever you find yourselves this Lenten break, have a meaningful Holy Week.

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