Maundy Thursday: Bishop calls for Mindanao ceasefire

Published March 28, 2018, 12:13 PM

by Patrick Garcia


By Christina Hermoso

As Christendom observes Maundy Thursday tomorrow, a Catholic Church leader prays for a more peaceful Holy Week observance as he calls for a ceasefire in Mindanao.

Bishop Colin Bagaforo (Diocese of Kidapawan via Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
Bishop Colin Bagaforo (Diocese of Kidapawan via Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

Kidapawan, North Cotabato Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo said he prays for a ceasefire between government forces and the rebel groups as the nation observes the Holy Week and for the faithful in Mindanao to be able to observe it in peace.

“We are appealing to the government and to all rebel forces to declare a ceasefire. Let us respect the faithful’s observance of the Holy Week and allow them to observe traditional religious practices,” Bagaforo said over Church-run Radio Veritas.

The prelate said the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) and the military forces are present in the towns of Magpet, Arakan, Makilala, and Antipas in North Cotabato.

“This Holy Week, let us respect the expression of faith of our people including respecting the sanctity of churches and religious shrines. Let us respect the faithful’s observance of religious practices even in far-flung areas where they can pray the holy rosary, visit churches, and observe the Way of the Cross in peace,” Bagaforo said.

Meanwhile, solemn rites will be held in all Catholic Churches across the country tomorrow.

One popular Maundy Thursday tradition that has been carried on for generations is the Visita Iglesia, a visit to seven churches as a pilgrimage or to 14 churches to pray the Way of the Cross, praying one station in each church.

Roman Catholic Church leaders traditionally observe Maundy Thursday with the holding of the Chrism Mass and the renewal of priestly vows.

Archbishops and bishops across the country, together with the priests in their respective archdioceses and dioceses, will celebrate the symbolic Chrism Mass as a manifestation of the unity of the priests with their bishop. A tradition rooted in the early Church, rites will include the blessing by the bishop of the three oils which will be used in the administration of the sacraments of the diocese for the year – the oil of catechumens to be used for the administration of the sacrament of baptism, the oil of infirm for the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, and the holy chrism for the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and holy orders. The renewal of priestly vows has also been incorporated into the Chrism Mass, which is usually preceded by a morning prayer.

At the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle will preside over the morning prayer at 6:30 a.m., followed by the Chrism Mass at 7 a.m. and at the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 5 p.m. His Eminence will also lead the reenactment of the Washing of the Feet during the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper where 12 representatives from different sectors will represent the twelve apostles of Christ. A procession taking the Blessed Sacrament (Holy Host) to the Altar of Repose will also be held.

In Rome, Italy, Pope Francis will bless the holy oils at the St. Peter’s Basilica at 9:30 a.m. during a special mass.

In all Catholic churches and chapels, all the images will be veiled in purple until the start of the Easter Vigil on the night of Black Saturday. The altar cross, if it is not the cross to be used for the veneration on Good Friday, is also traditionally veiled.

The shrouding of the images is commonly done in many parishes after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. “The veiling in purple serves to remind the faithful of the solemnity of the Holy Week and to help avoid distractions,” said the Catholic Culture.

Confessional services will be extended to allow more churchgoers to go to confession. The Paschal Triduum, a three- day tradition, begins tonight and culminates with the evening prayer on the night of Black Saturday during the Easter Vigil.

Some will also visit the adoration chapel during the hours of adoration from 8 p.m. to 12 midnight following the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.

“Maundy” comes from the Latin word “mandatum,” which means command and has reference to the commandment that Jesus taught His apostles during the Last Supper. He said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another just as I have loved you. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”