Priest urges families to do ‘pabasa’ in their own homes

Published March 29, 2021, 10:26 AM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

A Catholic priest said since many of the faithful won’t be able to go out this Holy Week, families can start a new tradition by doing their own “pabasa” (chanting of the Lord’s Passion) at home.


“Under the circumstances, the traditional ‘pabasa’ could be done by family members of the same household in the confines of their own respective homes,” Father Melvin Castro, former official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, said in an interview, Monday, March 29.

“That way there would be no unnecessary mass gatherings. And family prayer and gathering is enforced,” he added.

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.

A number of parishes in Metro Manila started the reading of the “pabasa” on Holy Monday.

The Holy Week liturgical activities of the different churches in Metro Manila and nearby provinces are being streamed online since religious gatherings are not allowed in areas under enhanced community quarantine.