Is it your first time to observe the annual “Visita Iglesia” tradition?
A Facebook community page called 100% Katolikong Pinoy shared steps on how to conduct this practice for Maundy Thursday on April 14.
According to the post, the Visita Iglesia tradition covers the following steps:
- It is a long-held custom that generally involves visiting seven or fourteen Roman Catholic churches.
- It can be done on the night of Maundy Thursday or on Good Friday. It should be accomplished before the 3 pm service of Good Friday.
- During Maundy Thursday, pilgrims or devotees seek and locate the Altar of Repose platform to pay respects to the Lord’s presence. People sometimes pray there or proceed to the Stations of the Cross images.
- If Visita Iglesia is done on Good Friday, pilgrims may also pray before the Stations of the Cross. However, the tabernacle is already empty on that day.
- Pilgrims either pray any devotional or personal prayer, or the prayers for the Stations of the Cross during their church visits.
100% Katolikong Pinoy uploaded this on April 4. It had since earned 3,200 reactions, 319 comments and 1,200 shares.
The page also has a large following with over 1.6 million followers.
This year’s Holy Week will be the first time in two years that devotees can conduct their Visita Iglesia activities on-site.
In 2020, all forms of religious gatherings are prohibited under the tough enhanced community quarantine imposed to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
A website the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) launched way back in 2010 called the Visita Iglesia resurfaced on social media during that time.
This website is dedicated to the online observation of Holy Week.
Some Filipino Catholics promoted it then as an alternative practice in lieu of onsite activities.
In 2021, some parts of the country are still placed under strict lockdowns during Holy Week due to the still prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.
Some provinces launched virtual tours of their churches on social media so that their residents can still practice Visita Iglesia in the comforts of their homes.
This year, most parts of the country are placed under the COVID-19 Alert Level 1, the most relaxed restriction, until April 15.
Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines still called on the Catholic faithful to continue complying with the mandated minimum health protocols. David noted that COVID-19 is still present in the country.
“Even though the pandemic has subsided, let us not let our guard down. Let us continue following the health protocols so that we can finally defeat this pandemic,” he was quoted in Interaksyon as saying.