Holy Week 2022: Perfect time to reflect and visit Jubilee churches with the family

BROAD CAST - Jing Castañeda - Philstar.com
Holy Week 2022: Perfect time to reflect and visit Jubilee churches with the family
With this special blessing / ordinance granted by Pope Francis, what better way to spend your Holy Week this year than visiting one or two Jubilee churches near you to receive this very superior pardon.
freepik.com / jcomp

MANILA, Philippines — The pandemic has taught me a lot of things, but one important lesson is to always be grateful to God for the things that He has given me and my family. Like others, as much as my family and I tried to shield ourselves from COVID-19, we were not only at close call with it, but we have also lost loved ones because of it.

Earlier this year, I wrote about our battle with COVID-19 -- how my husband, Nonong, was severely sick because of the virus;  how we lost Kuya Kenn from COVID-19;  and how we rebuilt our household from the physical, mental, and emotional turmoil that we’ve experienced during this trying time. I’ve always been a spiritual person, but it’s when you’re in the midst of sorrow and hopelessness that you’ll strongly pray for God’s guidance.  God has never forsaken us, that’s why it’s only right to continue to be thankful for His blessings.

Now that we’re on alert level 1 -- which means that travel across the Philippines is pretty much open with minimum restrictions -- hotels, resorts, and beaches are fully booked this coming Holy Week. We do miss our summer vacations. But tourism in the Philippines has already started to ease in and this Holy Week is probably one of the jumping points of friends and families for a quick getaway.

Religious Tourism

We have invited Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat in our recent episode of Pamilya Talk’s F&B Live to discuss the re-opening of travel here in the Philippines, specifically about religious tourism which the agency is promoting.

Tourism Sec. Berna Romulo-Puyat

“Faith based tourism is under culture tourism. It's one of the 10 main tourism products. Filipinos are very holy. Whenever you visit a place for the first time, we go to a church and make three wishes,” she adds.   Sec. Berna also emphasized that this year’s Holy Week coincides with the end of the year-long celebration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.  This formally began last April 4, 2021 and will end on April 22, 2022.  Pope Francis granted a full

indulgence to Catholics who will visit within this period any of 500 Jubilee churches, and fulfill three conditions of receiving communion, going to confession, and praying for the Pope. With this special blessing / ordinance granted by Pope Francis, what better way to spend your Holy Week this year than visiting one or two Jubilee churches near you to receive this plenary indulgence (refer to CBCP.net for the complete list of 500 Jubilee churches).  Sec. Berna reiterated that doing this will enable us to reflect about life and spirituality, while also visiting and appreciating the beauty of our churches and, at the same time, have bonding moments with the family.  

CAPTION:  Watch our complete interview with DOT Secretary Berna Romulo – Puyat on Pamilya Talk’s F&B Live

Sec. Puyat also took the opportunity to promote other tourist destinations like Intramuros. “Napakaganda ng Intramuros. At the height of the pandemic, noong 2020, it won the best tourist attraction sa World Travel Awards. Open space siya, open air, at napakaganda talaga. Maraming programs ang Intramuros tuwing Holy Week. Meron siyang Visita Iglesia. Eight churches and chapels around Intramuros will be open: Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Parish Church, Shrine of Jesus Divine Teacher Chapel, Santa Rita Chapel in Mapua University, Sacred Heart of Jesus Chapel in Lyceum, Collegio de San Juan de Letran, Saint Matthew's Chapel, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine at Fort Santiago,” she enumerates.

Manila Cathedral. Photo grabbed from https://www.instagram.com/manilacathedral/

She also mentioned that there will be installations of Stations of the Cross displayed along General Luna street, Beaterio street, and Muralla street and it will be there from Maundy Thursday to Good Friday. For more information regarding this, you can visit the Facebook account of Intramuros.

Should you be in Northern Luzon, there’s a pilgrimage tour circuit covering the Jubilee churches of the Baguio Cathedral and San Jose Church in La Trinidad. “Meron din tayong Bastion of Faith circuit in Cagayan kung saan naha-highlight ng pilgrimage circuit yung natural and cultural treasures ng Cagayan,” says Sec. Berna.

In Visayas, there’s also a tour of Jubilee churches in Southern Cebu. It's a 2-day experience featuring Jubilee churches and scenic routes in Southern Cebu as identified by the CBCP. “Meron din sa Metro Cebu yung Marian Pilgrimage Tour, pilgrimage to four Marian churches in Cebu city. Sa Bohol, merong Via Maria curated tour, which will take the guests to the three Marian churches in Bohol venerated for miraculous sightings and interventions,” Sec. Berna added.

Making your rounds to all these Jubilee appointed churches all over the Philippines will be a good bonding time and experience with your family and friends this coming Holy Week. My family and I are planning to visit several Jubilee churches. Even though the full indulgence is just until April 22nd, according to Sec. Berna, these religious or faith tourism-based travel can be done any time. But she is also reminding people that there’s still a pandemic and that COVID-19 is still very much contagious. If you’re vaccinated and still haven’t had your booster shot, it would be wise to get it to add extra protection from the virus.

“Kahit fully vaccinated, and you already had your booster, you still have to follow the minimum health safety protocols, like ako, I really only remove my mask when I'm about to eat. When I see people that I haven't seen in a long time, parang reunion.  Pero I try not to shake hands. Naiintindihan naman talaga ng mga tao yan. People understand that we still have to be careful,” she says.  If COVID-19 cases in the Philippines continues to go down, we will be able to travel more -- with little to no restraint. “It’s just now that we’re starting to rebuild tourism here in our country and companies connected to travel and tourism like hotels, travel agencies, resorts, etc. are starting to rehire. Because of the pandemic, 1.1 million jobs were affected.  That’s why we should support our own. Support local, travel local.”

As a devotee of the Our Lady of Manaoag, I encourage everyone to visit the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag, one of the Jubilee churches in Pangasinan (Photo from the church’s Facebook account).

Strengthening our family spirituality

Because of the pandemic, Holy Week has a deeper meaning to me and my family. Being given another chance by God to be able to serve Him and humanity in our own way, made us more humble, appreciative, and prayerful. I remember the time that we had St. John Paul II parish priest, Fr. Aris Sison, for our episode on prayers and grateful hearts , he shared with us how important it is to pray and have a conversation with God. When things are good in our lives, we tend to forget to pray. When jarring events happen, that’s when we remember to call on Him.

CAPTION:  With Fr. Aris Sison reminding us how to be grateful during this trying time.

“Kapag wala ka nang pwedeng tawagan, wala ka nang pwedeng lapitan, and then sumagot Siya, yung ganung klaseng experience hindi mo makakalimutan yun. Sabi nila, nagkakaroon tayo ng ganyang experiences, hopefully para matandaan natin, para matuto na tayo and from that moment on, lagi na tayong magdadasal. Hindi lang yung magdadasal ka kung may kailangan ka, kapag gipit na gipit ka na,” he says.

Praying shouldn’t be difficult.  It’s your encounter with God, telling Him your deepest feelings and concerns.  The true and biggest blessing is having Him in our lives and entrusting our life to Him. “Itong panahon ng COVID, pasalamat tayo kasi nananampalataya tayo. Kilala natin ang Diyos at marunong tayo magdasal. Meron tayong nalalapitan at nakakapitan kapag nahihirapan tayo,” adds Fr. Aris. Even though we can already travel, make this Holy Week a more productive one in terms of finding a deeper faith and hope in the Lord.


Watch Pamilya Talk on Facebook, YouTube, and Kumu (@JingCastaneda – 4:00-5:00pm Tuesday & Wednesday). You can also follow my social media accounts:  InstagramFacebookYouTubeTwitter,  and Kumu.  Please share your stories or suggest topics at [email protected] 


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