Semana Santa Experience: Siete Palabras

We didn’t had an exciting “vacation” last Holy Week. We didn’t spend it at the beach or in the province. My Beloved Wife and I spent our holidays in the house and, in Good Friday, in the church.

It is the usual practice of My Beloved Wife, when she was still in the province, to go the church with her parents on Good Friday to hear the Siete Palabras (seven last words) of our Lord before he died on the cross. As for me, it was my first time to go to a church during Good Friday.

We went to Santa Cruz Church but we have to pass through a big crowd of Black Nazarene devotees before we got there.

Devotees of the Black Nazarene at Quiapo Church

Friday is the so-called Quiapo Day. Being a Good Friday made it special. That’s why many devotees flocked to Quiapo Church and made our walk more difficult. Well, it was another penance for us.

Our goal, aside from going to the Siete Palabras, is to avail of the Sacrament of Confession. I was glad that the priests of Santa Cruz Church value the importance of Confession. They had confessions every day of the Holy Week. Other parishes allotted only one day, which fell on a work day, for Kumpisalang Bayan or Mass Confession.

Siete Palabras in Santa Cruz Church

I especially like itwhen it is the priest who speaks during the Siete Palabras because I learn a lot of Church doctrines and even history. Lay people were also allowed to speak but theirs are more emotional and sharing of their personal experiences.

The Siete Palabras lasted for 3 hours, from 12 noon to the hour of death of our Lord which is 3 in the afternoon. We haven’t eaten breakfast and lunch as our penance for that day. And yes, we’re so hungry when 3 PM came.

Image of the crucified Christ

My Beloved Wife told me that we still have to wait for the Pahalik or the kissing of the image of the crucified Christ. She said they do this usually do this in their province every Good Friday. Again, this is the first time for me to do the Pahalik.

Pahalik

We also joined the last part of Siete Palabras of Santa Cruz Church, which is the prusisyon (procession) of the Santo Entierro. Filipinos traditionally do this procession every Good Friday wherein the images of the dead body of Jesus Christ and other saints connected to the passion and death of our Lord are processed on the streets.

Prusisyon

We only have two images for the prusisyon, which are the Santo Entierro and the Mater Dolorosa. The priests were in their white garb and it looked good on them. The problem, however, is that we merely walked. It was not even orderly. There were some people praying the Holy Rosary but most who joined the prusisyon merely walked and talked like it was not a holy activity.

The Siete Palabras, the pahalik and the prusisyon are three traditional activities that My Beloved Wife and I experienced last Good Friday. We can say that it was a day well spent even though we got tired and hungry.

My only wish though is that Santa Cruz Parish makes these events more holy. One thing that they can do is to make the prusisyon an event for prayers and penance. Another thing is that they use Siete Palabras as a means to teach the people of the Catholic Faith. Let the knowledgeable priests talk more and reduce emotionally driven talks and shallow homilies.
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