Manila (AsiaNews) - For Filipino Catholics, Holy Week is accompanied by the singing of the Pabasa, the account of the passion, the death and resurrection of Jesus, in Tagalog. "It is our own style of professing our faith," explains Marfic Castro, a 46-year-old mother of two young girls, "of expressing our love for Jesus and participating in his passion."
The rhythmic songs of the Pabasa and the reading of the Pasiong Mahal, the narration of the passion in Tagalog, are rituals that unite families and gather the neighborhood together during Lent, and in particular during Holy Week. For this Easter, the Filipino Church has invited the faithful to rediscover its community value, as much as its personal one.
Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, media director for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, explains to AsiaNews that Catholics in the country are invited to reflect on the traditional practices and liturgical moments of the Easter Triduum. "When a person kisses Christ who carries His cross," Msgr. Quitorio says, "it also means that he or she is also kissing his or her personal cross. The irony is that many people thought, in their superstitious belief, that when they kiss the cross they want Christ to ease their burdens. People should embrace the crosses in their lives."
The exhortation to immerse oneself in the passion and death of the Lord is the invitation that the Church of the Philippines is addressing to young people in particular. Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, archbishop of Cebu, reiterated this during World Youth Day, celebrated at the diocesan level this year. Cardinal Vidal asked the 3,000 young people gathered for the four-day celebration at the shrine of St. Francis of Assisi in Naga City, in the southern part of the country, not to give themselves over to the simplistic ideas that today's society proposes, but to open themselves to the love of Jesus, who gave his own life for every person.