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    » 03/31/2010, 00.00

    PHILIPPINES

    Manila "virtual" pilgrimage to 7 churches to meditate on the sufferings of Christ

    Santosh Digal

    The gesture of "Visita Iglesia" retraces the pilgrimage to the seven Roman basilicas and was imported by Spanish missionaries in the early eighteenth century. It involves all Catholics during Holy Week in the Philippines and this year there is a special virtual tour for migrants living abroad in non-Catholic countries.

    Manila (AsiaNews) - To participate in the sufferings of Christ and pray for the Church. This is the purpose of the traditional "visita Iglesia" or visit of the seven churches that involves all Filipino Catholics each year during Lent. The gesture was imported by Spanish missionaries in the XVIII century, and retraces the pilgrimage of the seven Roman basilicas established in the seventeenth century by St. Filippo Neri.  

    From this year, Filipinos at home and abroad have the opportunity to also make a virtual tour of the churches of Manila, available at the Philippine Bishops Conference website.  

    Mary Jane Puring, an elderly Catholic from Manila, said: "I was four years old when I made my first 'Visita Iglesia' with my parents and my brothers and still participate in the tradition which is deeply rooted in me and my family. " "The pilgrimage - she adds - helps me to be in communion with God and to participate in the sufferings of Christ on the Cross."  

    The 'Visit Iglesia' was introduced by Spanish missionaries in the early eighteenth century and has for centuries involved the entire Filipino people. Unlike the pilgrimage of the seven Roman basilicas (Saint John Lateran, St Mary Major, St. Paul Outside the Walls, St. Lawrence Outside the Walls, Holy Cross in Jerusalem, San Sebastian) which is dedicated to the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, it focuses mainly on the Passion of Christ. The Filipino faithful may choose to visit places of worship in each of the seven churches to meditate on two of the 14 Stations of the Cross.  

    "This gesture - said Fr Restie de la Pena, a priest of the Archdiocese of Manila - is a way that helps to reflect the seriousness of our sins and spiritual renewal through a concrete gesture. " According to the priest undertaking the pilgrimage as a journey to Calvary helps individuals to understand the meaning of the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ.  

     

    This year, the Philippine Bishops Conference has prepared on its website (www.cbcponline.net) a virtual tour to places of worship in Manila to allow migrants abroad to also make the pilgrimage. The website offers for each church a series of photos and audio files with the steps of the Passion of Christ. The Filipino migrants are around 10 million and over two million living in Muslim countries where there are no churches and public expressions of their faith are prohibited.
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    See also

    24/03/2005 ISRAEL – PALESTINE – HOLY LAND
    Jerusalem: the Cross breaks down the wall of fear
    A talk with Fr Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, Custodian of the Holy Land.

    24/03/2005 PHILIPPINES
    Easter, a time of crowded churches and terrorist threats


    29/03/2010 SRI LANKA
    Retreats, pilgrimages and collections to prepare for Easter
    The faithful of the dioceses involved in prayer, retreats and pilgrimages to commemorate the Holy Cross and prepare themselves for Easter. Helping the poor, with donations of money. The stories of individual dioceses.

    02/04/2010 VIETNAM
    Holy Week: Works of charity and prayers help the faith of young migrants
    Attracted to the cities by job opportunities young people are often lonely and depressed by the many hours of work. In the parish of St. Paul's Ho Chi Minh City, the Pastoral Commission for Migrants urge people to compare their lives with the Passion of Jesus to give meaning to their lives.

    10/04/2007 PHILIPPINES
    Card. Rosales: “Remain faithful to Christ’s call”
    Speaking to priests during Holy Week, the Archbishop of Manila underscored that the priesthood does not confer power, but offers the gift derived from Christ to witness and share the faith.



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