Lent, a time for Filipinos to show devotion to God

MANILA While many people use the Lenten Season to rejuvenate and recharge from work-related fatigue, a few still allocate time to observe the Catholic traditions of "Pabasa" and "Visita Iglesia" this week.

One of those who will actually take time to sing and supervise a "Pabasa" is Dempsey Reyes, a Manila Times senior reporter, who covers the defense and military beats.

Reyes said he first joined a "Pabasa", also known as the Pasyon', seven years ago.

"I first participated in the 'Pabasa ng Pasyon' in 2011, when it was introduced by one of my neighbors in Meycauayan, Bulacan. It was a family tradition they have kept for about 20 years," Reyes said.

The 'Pabasa' is the uninterrupted reading and chanting of the life, passion, and death of Jesus Christ before his crucifixion in Mount Calvary.

"Keeping this tradition is also my way of participating during the Holy Week season, as well as showing devotion to our Lord every Lent. Every 'Pabasa', I would always feel tired of course but as many would say, it is all worth it," he said.

Aside from the "Pabasa" in Bulacan, Reyes, who has roots in Nueva Ecija, said his relatives there are trying to keep the tradition alive so that the younger generation would know its religious significance.

While Reyes is doing more than his part to keep this particular Filipino Lenten tradition alive, Haydee Cruz, a native of Malabon City, laments that less people are hosting the "Pabasa".

"Wala na ganong 'Pabasa' ngayon, unlike dati. Unlike before pagtungtong ng Ash Wednesday, makakarinig ka agad ng 'Pabasa' at hindi ka makatulog sa gabi dahil nadidinig mo. Saka kaliwa't kanan ang 'Pabasa'. Kahit mga kapilya may schedule ng 'Pabasa'. Now wala (Less people are hosting the 'Pabasa' nowadays, unlike before when as early as Ash Wednesday, one could already hear the it that you could hardly sleep at night. There used to be 'Pabasa' all over the neighborhood, even at chapels. But now, there's none)," she added.

Cruz said she misses the tradition as it is one of the highlights of the Holy Week tradition in the Philippines.

Given enough time and money, Haydee said she is more than willing to host her own "Pabasa".

Meanwhile, Manila Bulletin reporter Francis Wakefield said he religiously goes about with the "Visita Iglesia" to express his thanks and gratitude for all the sacrifices Jesus Christ had made to save humanity.

"Sa Visita Iglesia, ginagawa namin yung bilang pasasalamat at pag-alala sa sakripisyo ni Hesukristo, na binigay niya ang kanyang sariling buhay para tubusin ang ating mga kasalanan (We do the 'Visita Iglesia' to show our gratitude and to remind ourselves of the sacrifices of Jesus Christ when He gave his life to save us from our sins)," he added.

"Visita Iglesia" is part of the three-day "Triduum" that commences on Maundy Thursday. The latter refers to days when the passion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus are being contemplated upon. During the "Visita Iglesia", people would normally visit seven churches representing the Seven Last Words or "Siete Palabras", or 14 churches for the 14 Stations of the Cross.

"Nagre-reflect din tayo sa nagdaang taon upang humingi ng kapatawaran sa ating mga kasalanan at sana bigyan tayo ng lakas at patience sa mga pagsubok na dumadaan o dadaan sa atin (We also reflect on the previous year and ask for forgiveness for our sins and pray that He gives us strength and patience to surpass the challenges in our lives)," Wakefield said.

Source: Philippine News Agency