Observing the Holy Week with meaning

The Holy Week observance is generally the doldrums for the media, especially in rural areas where almost everything (except for religious events) come to a stop by Holy Wednesday.

Malacanang’s declaration of April 10 as a holiday and the cessation of government work at noon this April 5, 2023 means most news gatherers also come to a standstill.

Here in Catanduanes, whatever the government does make up more than half of the news.

The balance comes from vehicular accidents, which have become more frequent these days, complaints from the residents, and, in some cases, untimely deaths of public figures.

With the calm observance of religious traditions in the Semana Santa, the public is thus called upon to ponder the passion and death of Jesus Christ and hopefully draw from it lessons and reminders on how to live a more meaningful life in the service of others.

Christians are supposed to properly celebrate the Paschal Mystery, the Lord’s passion and death, and his victorious resurrection, his triumph over sin and death, and his glorification by his Father.

Tomorrow, Holy Thursday, is the start of the Easter Triduum, that most solemn moment of the church year that includes the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday, the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, and the joy at Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday

Unfortunately, the increasingly modern world, even in this remote corner of the archipelago, means most Catandunganons do not have respite from the inanities of life on Earth.

Social media has so immersed itself in almost everyone’s daily activity that it would be safe to say that most participants in this week’s religious foot processions would rather hold a cellphone than a candle.

And the Visita Iglesia would not be complete without the smart phones capturing the pilgrims at each church and the photos dutifully posted on Facebook seemingly as proof of their piety.

The Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday is the highest point of the Catholic church’s calendar, a time of remembrance and expectation of Christ coming back from the dead marked by the Easter fire, the lighting of the Paschal candle and renewal of baptismal promises for the faithful, among others.

But for most, especially those who have come home for the long weekend, Saturday has been reserved for a day at the beach, ahead of the droves of excursionists on Easter Sunday after the “Encuentro” at the “aleluyahan” in many churches.

Still, there is time for the people to step away a brief moment from the distractions of this modern world and make their celebration of the rest of this Holy Week more meaningful.

All they have to do is pray daily, do the Stations of the Cross, fast and abstain from meat starting tomorrow until Saturday, go to confession and ask for the Lord’s forgiveness, read the passages on the Lord’s Passion in the Gospels, forgive someone on Good Friday, attend all of the liturgies with family and friends, and offer up your pain and difficulties to the Almighty in unity with the pain and suffering of Christ.

These are what we, as good Christians and Catholics, are supposed to do at this most time when we need to respond to Jesus’s call for salvation.

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