CBCP makes Visita Iglesia available online

Published April 9, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Leslie Ann Aquino

The Holy Week observance in the Philippines is filled with many traditions.


With the enhanced community quarantine in effect in Luzon, Filipino Catholics under enhanced home quarantine are unable to practice these traditions such as the “Visita Iglesia” (church visit) as churches are also closed to the public to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

But thanks to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Visita Iglesia is now available online and made accessible via https://cbcpnews.net/visitaiglesia/visita-iglesia-in-360/. The faithful were given an opportunity to virtually visit seven or more churches especially on Holy Thursday.

During the Visita Iglesia, people get to visit different churches and pray at the Stations of the Cross with the stations divided amongst the churches. Those who miss hearing the “pabasa” (chanting of the Lord’s passion) may also do this online as the said CBCP website also has this feature.

The “pabasa” is the ritual reading of the “pasyon,” an epic poem in stanzas of five lines of eight syllables, each interwoven with a dramatic theme recounting the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It is said to be a Christian adaptation of a pre-Hispanic Filipino custom of chanting epic poems.

Those who practice self-flagellation and crucifixion because of a “panata” (vow) during Good Friday also have to forego this as well. The Catholic Church leaders discourage such extreme forms of sacrifice.

Since public masses are also suspended, especially in Metro Manila, all liturgical activities are made available to the faithful via radio, television or livestreaming on the internet. Among these activities are the “Washing of the Feet” and the “Seven Last Words.”

Although the faithful won’t be able to physically go to church or practice the traditions this year, an official of the CBCP said this doesn’t make the observance less “holy.”

“It shouldn’t be less holy since what makes it really holy is the sacrifice of Christ and not the participation of people,” Father Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP Public Affairs Committee.