Manila ‘jubilee churches’ gear up for massive pilgrimage

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Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle opened the Holy Door at the Manila Cathedral on Wednesday, Dec. 9, marking the beginning of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy — a holy year for Catholics. (Photo: Roy Lagarde)

MANILA, March 23, 2016— “Jubilee churches” in the Archdiocese of Manila are expecting its biggest crowds of the year when it opens its doors to the public come Holy Week.

Tens of thousands of pilgrims are expected to visit the designated churches over the next three days as the Church also observes the Year of Mercy.

Fr. Regie Malicdem, chancellor of the Manila archdiocese, said pilgrims have to started to visit the churches since February but they expect longer lines and massive crowds from Thursday to Friday.

‘Connection to mercy’

“Many people have been doing pilgrimages, especially on weekends, but we expect more this Holy Week, including the Visita Iglesia,” said Malicdem, who is also rector of the Manila Cathedral.

The archdiocese has decclared the cathedral; Santuario de Santo Cristo Parish in San Juan City; Archdiocesan Shrine of the Sacred Heart Mandaluyong City; National Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Makati City; Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Pasay City as jubilee churches.

Malicdem said these churches were chosen for the pilgrimage because of their “connection to mercy.”

Pope Francis has encouraged everyone to make a pilgrimage during this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.

Pilgrim’s passport

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila has earlier said, “Your pilgrimage is not an end in itself. It is merely a ‘pause’ or a ‘spiritual oasis’ as you journey towards your true destination, the Kingdom of God.”

Rectors and parish priests have been coordinating since late last year on how make the pilgrimages  organized and meaningful to pilgrims.

Pilgrims over 15-years old will be issued a pilgrim’s passport at the first jubilee church they visit. It contains a guide on what to do in each jubilee church. Each pilgrim’s name is entered in a master list of pilgrims to the churches.

After each pilgrimage to a jubilee church, the passport is stamped. Once the pilgrim has completed all five pilgrimages to the five jubilee churches, he or she is presented a certificate at the last church. (CBCP News) 

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