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FIBA Asia: PHIL Smart Guilas VS. Iran Semifinals

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FIBA Asia: PHIL Smart Guilas VS. Iran Semifinals
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FIBA Asia: PHIL Smart Guilas VS. Iran Semifinals
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News Report:


How some Pinoys abroad observe Holy Week

Devotees, tourists flock to Baguio's Lourdes Grotto . Devotees and tourists climb 180 steps to reach the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin at Lourdes Grotto in Baguio City on Good Friday, April 18. The shrine is a popular destination every Holy Week. Dave Leprozo
Every year, millions of Filipinos flock to Catholic churches in the Philippines during the Holy Week, participating in the Way of the Cross, Good Friday Veneration of the Cross, and other religious rites.

But what about Filipino Catholics abroad? Do they still get to participate in religious rites in their new home countries?

According to the Stock Estimate of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas  there were over 10.5 million Filipinos residing overseas as of December 2012.

The United States is the top destination of Filipinos overseas, with nearly 3.5 million Filipinos residing there.

Saudi Arabia, a Muslim country, comes in second, with some 1.27 million Filipino residents.

This is followed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with over 930,000 Filipinos; Canada with over 852,000 Filipinos, and Malaysia with more than 686,000 Filipinos.

In the UAE, Melissa Cruz, a De La Salle University-Manila graduate who used to work for the Philipines’ Social Security System, told GMA News Online that Catholics are free to practice their faith there even if it is a Muslim country.

Now a full-time mother to two children, Cruz laments that the Catholic church is far from their residence in the Tourist Club in Abu Dhabi.

Before they can make a trip to the church, their family has to work around the schedule of her husband Jigger, an engineer, and their son Julian, a Grade One student at the Philippine school there.

Aside from the regular weekly Masses, Cruz said they only get to participate in Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday celebrations.
 
“We hear Tagalog Mass every Friday presided over by a Filipino priest,” she said.

Cruz said that unlike in the Philippines, they hardly feel it is already Holy Week in UAE unless they go to church. She said she and her husband try to teach their son Julian about the usual religious rites practiced in the Philippines during the Holy Week.

She also mentioned that Julian has just finished attending a series of catechism classes in church because their school has no religion classes. Attendance in catechism classes is a requirement for the First Communion rites, Cruz explained.

Holy Week traditions

Father Romeo Agustin Miciano, SDB, former parish priest of Saint John Bosco Church in Makati City, told GMA News Online that one of the most important religious celebrations during the Holy Week is the “Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening – when  the reenactment of the washing of the feet occurs.”

“This Eucharistic celebration can be called the mother of all the Eucharistic celebrations we celebrate throughout the year because we remember Jesus instituting the Eucharist (Holy Mass) at his Last Supper,” Miciano explained.

Holy Thursday is also called Maundy Thursday because Jesus Christ commanded (or ‘mandatum’ in Latin) his followers to “repeat doing the Eucharist” (Holy Mass), Miciano said.

He said another important Holy Week rite is the “celebration of the Lord’s Passion – Good Friday, when we commemorate the ultimate sacrifice and offering of our Lord by dying for our sins on the cross.”

“We also venerate (kiss) the cross as a sign of our devotion to the love of Jesus,” he said.

He also explained that there is no Mass every Good Friday, “the only day in the whole year when the Eucharist is not allowed to be celebrated. After the Mass there is the usual procession of the ‘Santo Entierro’ or dead Christ and the ‘Mater Dolorosa’, the Sorrowful Mother.”

The most important of all Holy Week celebrations is the “Easter Vigil of the Lord’s Resurrection/Easter Sunday – the greatest celebration of the year where a Catholic should never miss attending the Mass,” Miciano said.

“Easter Sunday begins with a vigil on Saturday night, the most solemn of all vigils and a very long celebration consisting of four parts: the liturgy of the light, the liturgy of the word, the liturgy of baptism and the liturgy of the Eucharist. Those who attended the Easter Vigil mass [can opt not to attend the] mass on Easter Sunday, although it is still highly recommended,” he added.

What about Filipino Catholics residing in other countries?

Miciano said, “In countries were religious practice is forbidden, Catholics can perform their devotion in the privacy of their homes, like reading the Bible, praying the rosary, praying the stations of the cross or following religious programs on TV or the Internet.”
 
“If possible, Catholics should go to confession during Holy Week. But confession should be actual, not virtual or personal. This is to fulfill the obligation of going to confession at least once a year. And if they attend the Mass, they should receive communion especially on Easter Sunday,” he added.

Like Christmas

Charito Perez-Chavez, a former PR executive in the Philippines now based in Perth, Western Australia told GMA News Online: “We usually just celebrate Easter this part of the world. We attend the Easter Mass and then have picnic with family and friends.”

Australia is the sixth top destination of Filipinos overseas, with over 392,000 Filipinos residing there.

Chavez, a journalism graduate of UP Diliman who has been residing in Perth with her family for the past three years, explained that their parish church holds the Way of Cross during the Lenten season but their family has not had the chance to participate in this yet.

Easter celebration in Australia is “actually like Christmas. It's more for the kids. They hunt eggs and fill themselves up with loads of chocolates,” Chavez said.

“We play the usual Filipino games like 'Pinoy Henyo' and the kids get to bring some presents back home. We bring and share Filipino food and maybe some local food like barbecue and sausages,” she added.

Mortified by crucifixion stories

Meanwhile, in Singapore, Mia Jaranilla Lorenzo, also a graduate of UP Diliman, told GMA News Online that her children are mortified when she shares stories about how some Filipinos have themselves crucified during Good Friday.

This folk Catholicism practice is actually frowned upon by the Catholic Church.

Even in Manila, Lorenzo said their family was not very conscious of traditional Holy Week rites. If they went to church during the Holy Week, it was usually with their grandmother or because they were in the province. “I vaguely remember the Pabasa and Stations of the Cross,” she said.

“The one thing our family would stick to was to observe the solemnity of Good Friday especially after 3:00 p.m.,” she added. All Catholic churches in the Philippines hold the Veneration of the Holy Cross on at 3 p.m. on Good Friday, the time Jesus Christ is believed to have passed away.

Lorenzo said she once attended the Easter Vigil Mass in Singapore thinking it was similar to the usual one-hour celebration of the Holy Mass. She was very surprised that the Easter Vigil rites lasted three hours. In the Philippines, the Easter Vigil rites also last from two to three hours.

Lorenzo also mentioned that the Visita Iglesia tradition of visiting seven Catholic churches is also observed in Singapore.

She said churches are open until late and there are “lots of food and drinks along the way.”

She finds it touching that busloads of Filipinos are doing the Visita Iglesia together.

Margarita Morales Sinha, a De La Salle University-Manila graduate and now a full-time homemaker in Singapore, said she does not participate in many Holy Week rites in Singapore, where she has been living for the last 12 years.

“I just go to Sunday Mass and pray at 3 p.m. on Good Friday,” she said. — JDS, GMA News





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