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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, April 2, 2018
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with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

A really Holy Week

Ninfa Leonardia

It was very heartening to note the religiousity of the people of Bacolod as shown during the past Lenten Week. On Holy Thursday, thousands flocked to churches for the traditional Visita Iglesia, and these included entire members of families, including very young children, who seemed to understand what the observance meant and behaved themselves very well during the “visitas”. I am sure all the churches in the cities had as many devotees coming to pray up to midnight. Our family, including our household staff, went to seven churches, and we all felt our faith very strongly during those moments of prayer.

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The Procession on Good Friday also drew a huge crowd who, this time, massed in the middle of the street where you could see them, young and old, some bringing their babies, some in wheelchairs, silently accompanying the various “carrozas” or representations of the stages in the passion and death of Jesus. I remember that when we were small children and were only able to watch the procession, those joining lined up by the side of the street, with carrozas in the center. But now there were so many joining that they literally filled the streets. And everything was very solemn, not only among the participants but also among those watching.

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The carrozas were indeed, very beautiful and really loving works of art. I lost count but I think there were 20 or more that were very inspiring to those watching and participating. I really congratulate those families who sponsored some of them and my sister and I got sentimental when the one bearing the statues of Jesus Christ and Judas, that looked very somber pass by. This was a contribution of our late uncle, artist Jess R. Ayco, that was very plain and stark. I wish they had retained its brown color, but the fact that it was not lighted made it more dramatic.

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I heard from Bob Lacson, too, that the procession in Talisay was also very beautiful and striking and that there were 27 carrozas in all. No wonder so many foreigners, most likely tourists, were scrambling all over to take pictures that they probably will bring home to show their friends and families. As in Bacolod, the carriage bearing the Santo Entierro, or the body of Christ, was the one that was followed mostly by men who included those from various professions solemnly walking behind the carroza from the Bacolod Cathedral through Lacson Street, Libertad, Araneta, and back to the Cathedral that was also filled with devotees praying at the foot of the crucified Christ. It was indeed a Holy Day, starting with Palm Sunday and culminating with Easter Sunday yesterday.

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And now we are back to our everyday life and hope that the past week had wrought some changes for the better, especially because of the prayers of our religious leaders and especially the Holy Father, Pope Francis, who is unceasingly praying for world peace. Let us join him in his prayers so that the big nations that now seem to be at odds with each other in the quest for world power get to understand each other and work towards the common goal of peace.

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We do see some light of hope with the meetings of such powerful men as China’s Xi Jinping and North Korea’s Kim Jung Un, but the recent expulsions of diplomats and consuls from several countries are a troubling fact that could mangle the peace efforts of those who are not power hungry and dreaming of world domination. These are, indeed, troubling times, but we can still hope in prayer, for isn’t it said that “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of”?

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But a distressing development over the past Holy Week was the number of vehicular accidents reported where several people were killed. Such reports keep coming from all over the country, and what are our authorities doing to curb them? Let this be among the objects of our prayers for this post Lenten period. It is not enough that they file charges against the drivers, the owners and operators of the transport companies involved. There should be regular monitoring and check up of such operators to be sure they are duly registered and not “colorums”.

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By the way, yesterday was April 1, known to some parts of the world as April Fool’s Day. My cousins, and I used to enjoy playing pranks or practical jokes on each other during that day so we could shout “April Fool”, when they fell for them, but it looks as if the whole world and its leaders are no longer in the mood for jokes now. What can we do to restore their sense of humor?*

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