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PIA Press Release

Visita Iglesia Lenten tradition clarified

Tacloban City (March 21) -- There is really no definite number of Churches to be visited that is required during Visita Iglesia, Rev. Fr. Gilbert Urbina, the Liturgist of the Archdiocese of Palo informed the Philippine Information Agency.

Fr. Urbina made the clarification because of the numerous query from the faithful asking whether they have to visit seven or fourteen churches in their Visita Iglesia.

Fr. Urbina explained that the Paschal Triduum starts on Holy Thursday when, the priest re-enacts the Washing of the Feet and the Last Supper where Christ instituted the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. After Communion, the faithful will notice that the procession of the Blessed Sacrament is done and ends in the placing of the same in the Altar of Repose.

It is the Christian belief that Christ is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. The faithful conducts vigils and visits Churches to show their willingness to be with the Lord, Fr. Urbina said.

In areas where there are many Churches, the people go from one Church to another. However, in areas where there is only one Church, the faithful just conduct vigil there.

It would be recalled that in the Garden of Gethsemanie where Jesus prayed before the betrayal of Judas, he requested his disciple to pray with Him.

What should be the prayer of the faithful during the Visita Iglesia, Fr. Urbina was asked. His answer is that there is really no rule as to the prayer. Some people pray the Rosary, others, the Our Father, Hail Mary and even the Stations of the Cross. The faithful may do so because all of these have indulgences.

However, Fr. Urbina underscored that most of the time, when the faithful pray, it is because they want to ask something from the Lord. It would be good, Fr. Urbina said to just remain in silence with the Lord and for once listen to His message.

Prayer is suppose to be a communication with the Lord, but oftentimes, it is us who do all the talking and we never find time to listen to Him. Perhaps, during the Visita Iglesia, we let Him speak His message to us, Fr. Urbina said.

Meanwhile, Rev. Fr. Oscar Florencio, the Parish Priest of the Sacred Heart Parish said that some people visit seven Churches because they attribute this to the Seven Last Words. Other people visit 14 churches with the 14 Stations of the Cross in mind. (PIA 8) [top]

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