Catholics reminded: Pray even while on vacation
Kristine B. Quintas/JMO (The Freeman) - February 21, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Catholics can enjoy the Lenten break but shouldn’t forget to visit churches or chapels in places where they go on vacation, an official of the Archdiocese of Cebu said.

Monsignor Joseph Tan, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Cebu, urged the faithful to take time to pray this coming Holy Week.

He said while Catholics plan and prepare for a vacation, they also must prepare themselves for the Easter.

“Especially by making a good confession before the day and to keep the day of fasting and abstinence on Good Friday,” he said.

He said the Holy Week is a moment of renewal and grace.

This period of the year, he said, is dedicated for setting aside routines to reflect on the passion of Christ.

For Catholics, the year has 52 weeks and only one is intended for the observance of Holy Week.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma earlier reminded Catholics that the Holy Week is the season when they should remember that Jesus Christ “died poor on the cross” to save people from their sins.

He also reiterated that the church does not encourage “extreme” way of expressing one’s faith like being nailed on the cross but will not stop anyone from such display of faith, as doing so is already disrespecting the individual’s capacity to decide on his own.

“We respect their panaad. But we consider it an extreme expression to inflict punishment and pain to their body. As a general rule, we discourage that but we respect the people who do such,” Palma said earlier.

“The true spirit of penance is reform and change for the better. It is living away from sin, the denunciation of sin, and to change into being more Christian. Not so much on the physical penance,” he said.

The Holy Week will start on Palm Sunday this week.

One of the most-observed aspects of the Holy Week is the Visita Iglesia or the pilgrimage from one church to another, which is traditionally held on Holy Thursday.

It is done prior to the Last Supper mass, which remembers the night before Jesus was arrested, which prompted the start of His passion.

The next day, Good Friday, the Seven Last Words of Christ would be read and reflected on in the afternoon, when the last moments before Jesus died at 3 p.m. is reenacted.

The Easter vigil, the most important Holy Week activity, happens on Black Saturday, and is preceded by a mass.

Palma will lead the mass but no specific venue and time yet, according to Tan.

The Easter Sunday mass is done immediately after the “Sugat sa Kabanhawan,” or the meeting of the images of Mary and the Risen Christ.  — (FREEMAN)

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