By Ferdinand Patinio, PNA
MANILA — Catholic Church officials on Thursday reminded the faithful who will visit churches during the remaining days of Lent to pray and respect the sacredness of these places.
Bishop Ruperto Santos, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines- Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMI), said the commemoration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is not a recreational activity and they should refrain from taking pictures, among others.
“Being pilgrims is to be respectful and be reverent to sacred places, relics and religious images. They have to pray. Yes, they should be reminded because many are more focused on picture taking,” he said in an interview.
“Also this Lent calls us to pray, not pictorials nor going places,” Santos added.
Santos noted that the people should make sacrifices and help those who are in need.
“As pilgrims is to do sacrifices, not to be comfortable. Lent is to do alms giving, not like tourists who looks for souvenirs,” he said.
On the other hand, Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary CBCP-Permanent Committee on Public Affairs (PCPA), said they urged the faithful to visit church to pray and not to just observe.
“We encourage people to visit churches but the primordial purpose for going there is to pray and not merely to observe,” he said in a separate statement.
The Catholic priest also reminded the people to respect the church by wearing proper attire when visiting a church.
“Also, we go to church to meet and commune with God, it’s not as if we are going to the beach with our summer attire,” he said.
“This means that the interior and exterior dispositions are necessary to make each visit a meaningful one,” Secillano added.
Catholic faithful are expected to flock churches on Thursday, April 18 (Maundy Thursday) for the Visita Iglesia; Friday, April 19 (Good Friday) for the washing of feet.
Churchgoers will also be attending Easter Vigil mass on Saturday, April 20 (Black Saturday) and Easter Mass on Sunday, April 21, end of the Lenten season.
Visita Iglesia is a Holy Week tradition among Catholics where they visit seven or more churches to reflect and pray before the Blessed Sacrament in each church. (PNA)