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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thoughts On A Holy Thursday

As the country is in the midst of a 5-day break to celebrate the Holy Week (and Araw ng Kagitingan), I noticed something peculiar on my way home from work yesterday (or maybe I hadn't seen it in years past): An "interactive" Stations of the Cross, right smack in the middle of Glorietta - actually on the park in front of Glorietta 3.

(Courtesy of

I was a little too stunned to be seeing these "stations" in the middle of a park in broad daylight, about 2 feet apart separating each station, where there is maximum, uhm, exposure. While it certainly takes the "travel time" equation out of the usual visita iglesia (church visits) that Catholics usually do during this holiday, it makes me wonder if something gets lost in translation if, like many conveniences in modern life, they are easily available, accessible and as the name itself says, convenient.

And in case it wasn't yet obvious, I am a minority in this predominantly Catholic country. In other words, a non-Catholic.

My comments are purely from an outsider-looking-in perspective.

While so many people take Holy Week to mean their chance to finally show off their marbled physiques in Boracay, I find it strange that a few days that enforces me - a non Catholic - to "celebrate" Holy Week by law (which, in itself, can be questioned constitutionally) is oftentimes a chance for actual Catholics to be frivolous and spent in ways that can actually redefine debauchery.

Part of what gives me the freedom to view this point through these particular glasses is because I'm not "of the majority", so it really is more of a "that's quaint" attitude. I have to wonder if those responsible for thinking to set aside these days - where Stations of the Cross are some kind of necessary rite of passage for Catholics - had beach parties in mind thrown in the mix.

I have always been uneasy with people who are too showy and demonstrative of their faith, regardless of religion. I view faith as something intrinsically private - hence, none of a faith's particular tenets can be enforced on every citizen - but if I'm being forced to celebrate a Catholic ritual by law, I'm just wondering why I seem to be more reflective about Holy Week than actual Catholics.

As I was leaving the interactive Stations, I overheard a father telling his wife and kids, "Mabuti natapos na natin ang mga Stations of the Cross, tuloy tuloy na bakasyon natin." (It's a good thing we're done with the Stations of the Cross, so we can have an uninterrupted vacation.)

I would love to hear responses to something I've always pondered about every time Holy Week comes around.

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