MANILA, April 18, 2014 — Remembering how the faithful used to celebrate Lent, a lay Marian apostolate yesterday vowed to restore and spread age-old Lenten traditions centred on the Filipino family.
“Our ancestors also observed these acts (Lenten traditions), but they did it as a family,” said The Image of the Queen of Heaven Apostolate head, Pablo Lito Eleria.
More broken families
According to Eleria, traditionally, these practices are performed by the family and were passed on from generations to generations.
Because of the influx of outside influences and secularism, he stressed the need to strengthen the family, saying, “The surge of broken families have effects on the decline of our Filipino traditions.”
“When Adam and Eve sinned, the serpent actually wanted to destroy the concept of family, not just [to] entice them to disobey. Once a family is destroyed, everything is affected. He’s doing the same thing over and over again; be on the guard,” says Eleria.
Members of the group, which is based in Tayuman, expressed their concern over the decline of Filipino Lenten folk traditions during Lent, the most prominent of which are the Filipino traditions of ‘Pabasa’ , the ‘Visita Iglesia’ and the Stations of the Cross.
‘Barkada’ over family
“Now, Holy Week has become a ‘barkada’ event, especially with the Visita Iglesia,” Eleria added.
Members of the apostolate are encouraged to uphold closely knit family ties, which is evident in their practice of Lenten devotions.
In groups of families, the apostolate members recite the ‘Pabasa’ a week before the Holy Week, focusing on the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ in the form of chants.
During the Station of the Cross, members recall the suffering of Jesus during His Passion. After reciting the Station of the Cross, the members of the apostolate prostrate themselves while asking for forgiveness; they then kiss the ground for the intention of the conversion of sinners. On the other hand, the apostolate members have their ‘Visita Iglesia’ barefoot, visiting 14 different churches, while reciting the rosary between churches.
Visita Iglesia on ‘selfie mode’
Reyna Santillana, a young member of the group and University of Sto. Tomas architecture student expressed, “Nowadays, there are still young people doing the Visita Iglesia, but difference is most have turned this sacred season into a ‘barkada’ event [on] selfie mode.”
“We want to show the people that there are still youth who are able to understand and are able to find something meaningful to do during the Holy Week,” said Santillana in Filipino.
“Our Catholicism is not a coincidence; it is a divine privilege to the Filipino people, the only Christian Asian nation. We have an obligation in spreading the Gospel to this part of the world. It is not enough to be a Christian or a Catholic. We must do our part,” added another member working in the Central Bank.
Eleria also urged Catholics to ward off assaults on the family, which according to him, is besieging not only Filipino families, but families all over the world. (Mark Silva)