Observances of Lent

Alcoholic drinks, which seem to be at odds with the practice of penance, were never addressed during the Lenten fast.

In just a few weeks we will enter Holy Week. Here we contemplate the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Holy Week is the most important week in the Church calendar. It is a time when we celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. We remember his actions, reflect on his messages, and recommit our lives to Him as his disciples in the world today.

Holy Week is the earliest custom of marking the entire week with special observances, which is found in the Apostolical Constitutions (v. 18, 19) that can be traced from the latter half of the 3rd century and 4th century.

During Lent, Catholics do fasting and abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday to commemorate Jesus’s death and resurrection. Whether it’s a strict meat-free day or a general fast, many Catholics observe Holy Week by doing this. One meal a day, plus two smaller meals which, if combined, would not surpass the main meal in amount is what the Church requires, although alcoholic drinks, which seem to be at odds with the practice of penance, were never addressed during the Lenten fast.

In the Philippines, the faithful go to Church on Palm Sunday and have their woven palm fronds or palaspas blessed by the priest as they participate in the Palm Sunday Mass. The typical practice of waving palm fronds when the priest enters the Church is a reenactment of Jesus’s arrival in Jerusalem.

I have experienced participating in the age-old ritual of Pabasa ng Pasyon (Reading of the Passion) even during my college days. Some people start doing it on Palm Sunday while others start either on Holy Wednesday or Holy Thursday. The Pasyong Mahal, a 16th-century epic poem about Jesus’s life, passion, death, and resurrection is chanted incessantly by devout Catholics almost everywhere in the Philippines throughout Holy Week.

The practice of visiting seven different churches during Lent is referred to as Visita Iglesia. A typical tradition and a significant religious observance among Filipino Catholics is that they visit seven churches on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday in memory of Christ’s seven last words and his death.

In some provinces, they have the Senakulo, where people reenact how Jesus Christ shared the Last Supper with his apostles. The Senakulo in Filipino is a local theatrical drama about Jesus’s life and death that has become a tradition and is a Holy Lenten Presentation staged during Holy Week.

As one of the few majority-Christian countries in the world, the Philippines welcomes Easter with lots of happiness and fun activities in the community. We have the Salubong, a custom performed on the morning of Easter Sunday. Men carry the figure of Christ in one procession while women follow the picture of Mary, draped in a black mourning robe. This depicts the reunion of the risen Christ and his mother after His resurrection.


As we commemorate Christ’s passion, death and resurrection, I am personally knocking on the door of your hearts to help the Secular Oblates of the Holy Family build an Oratory/Chapel for Saint Charbel and a Family Center at Phase 3, Amityville, Barangay San Jose, Rodriguez (Montalban), Rizal. For those who want to help kindly get in touch with me.

The Secular Oblates of the Holy Family was canonically erected and established by His Excellency, Most Reverend Emmanuel Trance DD, the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Catarman, as a Secular Institute. Thank you very much and may God’s choicest blessings be upon us always! Amen.

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