Friday, April 2, 2010

Travelers urged to respect Holy Week

A Catholic bishop in the Philippines on Thursday reminded the church's flock to respect the solemnity of Holy Week as he expressed dismay over the many who have turned the occasion into a summer vacation.

In an article posted on the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website on Maundy Thursday, Palawan Bishop Pedro Arigo urged vacationers to "respect the sacredness of the Paschal Triduum."

Paschal Triduum starts evening of Maundy Thursday and ends on Easter Sunday. It commemorates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

"I appeal to our people who spend their Holy Week in the beach to please refrain from holding beauty pageant or bikini contest. Let us respect the sacredness of the occasion," the bishop said.

Arigo said holding such events would "not only secularize the occasion, but also disregard the Christian practice of prayer, penance, and reflection during Holy Week."

Bishop Martin Jumoad of Basilan, for his part, urged the people to remain Catholics in words and actions even after the Lenten season.

"We are not only Catholic during holy week but we continue to give flesh to our faith in our day to day activity," he said.

Around 35,000 people were in Boracay as of Thursday to enjoy the long holiday break.

Initial reports reaching ABS-CBN News indicated there were fewer people in Boracay this year than in 2009. Around 60,000 were already on the island in last year's Holy Thursday.

ABS-CBN's Gretchen Fullido said there were also fewer celebrities on Boracay island compared to last year. Among those seen in Boracay were Richard Gutierrez, EJ Falcon, Cristine Reyes, and the Revilla family.

Metro churches still full

Despite the many who went to beaches and other resorts for the Holy Week break, thousands still flocked to churches in Metro Manila for the traditional Visita Iglesia and the Stations of the Cross, where people reflect on the sacrifices of Jesus.

Long lines of people confessing were also seen in various churches.

In Quiapo Church in the city of Manila, around 50,000 had visited as of Thursday morning.

Heavy traffic was observed in some churches, including Malate Church in Manila, Mt. Carmel Church in Quezon City, and St. Paul the Apostle Parish.

Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) media director Msgr. Pedro Quitorio said the number of people observing Visita Iglesia and going to masses during Holy Week is increasing.

Quitorio cited two factors for this is: population increase and poverty.

When a person is experiencing poverty, he or she tends to cling to religion, Quitorio said.

The CBCP also believes this year's Holy Week should be extra meaningful due to the May 10 elections.

Quitorio said voters should use the time to think and reflect on the best candidates for national and local posts, and urged candidates to fulfill their promises to voters in case they are elected into public office.

Courtesy of ABS-CBN NEWS

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