Thousands of Catholic faithful, including children and the elderly, flocked to Baclaran Church on Maundy Thursday.
Many say they are glad to again practice the Visita Iglesia and pray before the church’s stations of the cross, after COVID-19 pandemic restrictions prompted Catholics to observe Holy Week traditions at home or virtually the past two years.
Baclaran Church prepared three areas for the Stations of the Cross to prevent crowding. People entering the church are reminded to wear their face mask properly.
“Kitang-kita mo pa rin sa mga tao ‘yung parang kasabikan at pagnanais na maipagdiwang ang Semana Santa nang makahulugan. Dalawang taon tayong hindi nakapagdiwang ng Semana Santa, kaya bahagi na rin ng kalooban ng mga tao na sana ay makabalik nga. At ito, unti-unti naman bumalik ang mga tao,” Rector Fr. Victorino Cueto said.
“Dahil ang IATF naman ay pumayag na 100%, so ina-allow natin ang 100% capacity, bagamat may minimum protocols na dapat sundin. Unang-una syempre ay ‘yung laging pagsusuot ng face mask, ganoon din ‘yung paghihikayat sa paglalagay ng alkohol. Lagi namin nire-remind ‘yung physical distancing,” he added.
The church selected youth from different sectors for the washing of the feet during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper Thursday afternoon. Cueto hoped it would inspire Filipino adults to consider the children’s future when they cast their vote on election day next month.
“Ito ang ating responsibilidad sa mga kabataan natin. Ipinapakita natin ang isang halimbawa na moral at naaayon sa pamantayan ng simbahan at marangal na lipunan,” he said.
Some Catholics also visited the St. Joseph Parish Church in Las Piñas City and the Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church in Makati City. Both churches have a spacious outdoor area for people doing the Way of the Cross.