MANILA – After two years of home and community quarantines during the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) lockdown, pious Catholics felt again the excitement of physically doing the Visita Iglesia walk as they commemorate Christ’s agony and passion this Holy Week.
Jiay Ducabo shared the excitement of redoing this Filipino Catholic tradition that she grew up with despite some apprehensions as the Covid-19 lingers.
“Sobrang nakaka-excite po kasi finally after two years, ‘yung kinagisnang kultura ng pagbi-Visita Iglesia ay nagagawa na ulit pero at the same time, may takot at doubt pa rin kaya dobleng ingat pa rin po talaga dahil may mga naitatalang kaso pa rin ng (It is so exciting that after two years, the culture of Visita Iglesia can be done again but at the same time there is still the feeling of fear and doubt so let us continue to take precaution as there are still cases of) Covid-19,” he said.
Visita Iglesia is the act of visiting seven or 14 different churches normally done every Holy Thursday and Good Friday.
Many Filipino Catholics have made their vow to do this activity every Holy Week together with their whole family praying at the stations of the cross and remembering Christ’s sufferings.
Seph Garcia said he and his friends have already planned for their Visita Iglesia on Maundy Thursday, adding they have been doing this Catholic tradition ever since he was a child.
“Nakakapagod pero masarap yung pakiramdam mo after mo mapuntahan yung 14 na Catholic church dito sa Manila para sa Visita iglesia, super duper lakad lang kami at nakatapak pa kami, at yung mismo tubernakulo yung dinadasalan namin at binibisita namin (It is tiring yet creates a good feeling after visiting 14 Catholic churches here in Manila. It is a long walk and we do it barefooted, and we pray right in front of the tabernacle,” he said.
“Magaan yung kalooban mo pag natapos mo puntahan yung 14 na simbahan. Para ka bless na bless ni Lord at daig mo pa nag confess sa ginawa mo itong sacrifice mo para sa sarili mo at sa pagmamahal mo kay Hesukristo (It lightens our feeling after going to 14 churches. It is like you are so blessed as if you have made a confession doing this sacrifice for yourself and your love for Jesus),” Garcia said even inviting other Catholics to do this as well.
Meanwhile, Rev. Fr. Edgardo Vizcarra said it is refreshing to do this tradition once again after two years of restricted physical activities in the church due to Covid-19.
He said the Catholic faith has been tried and tested during the Covid-19 pandemic and it is conforming to know that the “fire in the hearts of pious Catholics is still fervently burning”.
“Isang bagong karanasan muli ang makapag Visita Iglesia. Marami ang looking forward sa ganitong nakamihasnang gawain at devotion (It is again a new experience. Many are looking forward doing this traditional devotion once again),” he said.
Vizcarra said many have been longing to feel once again the presence of the Lord when praying inside the churches and other holy places.
“Nakatutuwa na ang tradition na ito ay nananatili dahil ito ay nagpapakita ng buhay na pananampalataya ng mga Kristiyano sa banal na presensya ng Diyos sa kanyang dambana at bahay-dalanginan (It is good to know that many were able to preserve this tradition as this shows that the Christian faith is very much alive),” he added.
In its Facebook page, the Archdiocese of Manila-Office of Communications said Visita Iglesia or the Seven Churches Visitation is a pious Roman Catholic Lenten tradition to visit seven churches on Maundy Thursday.
It said number seven mainly signifies the seven holy sites related to Jesus’ arrest and trial namely: the Garden of Gethsemane; the House of Annas; the Tribunal of Caiaphas the High Priest; the Trial before Pilate; the Trial before Herod; From Herod back to Pilate; and From Pilate to Golgotha or the Calvary. (PNA)