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Lenten season: The holiest week of the year

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Lorna Ramirez
Lorna Ramirez
LORNA RAMIREZ was born, raised and educated in Manila in the Philippines, attaining a degree in Chemical Engineering and working as a laboratory manager in a textiles company. In 1977, with her husband and her son and daughter she migrated to Australia. She worked as a laboratory technician and a chemist in Australia, only retiring in the year 2000 to care for her first grandchild. Lorna Ramirez has travelled extensively, gaining much from her interactions with people all over the world and building a strong foundation for her philosophies about life. She loves gardening, cooking, and reading and playing the piano. She is also interested in the Stock Exchange. Throughout her life, Lorna Ramirez, a woman of faith, has been a wise observer of human behaviour and has collected her many pearls of wisdom and observations to produce this inspiring and uplifting book.

Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week. It commemorates the entry of Jesus and all his disciples into Jerusalem, greeted by people waving palm branches. All Catholic churches worldwide celebrate Palm Sunday.  

The church mourns for the death of Christ and different countries have their own celebrations for Holy Week.

Philippines

There is a re-enactment of the final days of Christ before his crucifixion. There are people in rural areas who re-enact the actual crucifixion of Christ on a Good Friday. However, the Catholic Church discourages these unnecessary sacrifices. These are some other practices:

Self-flagellation

It is practised by flogging the back with whips while walking barefoot on the street and done for repentance of sins on Good Friday. This is also discouraged by the Catholic Church.

Senakulo

One widespread tradition is playing Jesus’s life during Holy Week. This is mostly observed in the provinces of San Pedro, Pampanga, and Paombong, Bulacan. It is performed on a stage or on a street for several nights during the Lenten season.

Pabasa

This features uninterrupted singing and reciting Christ’s passion from Bible verses for three consecutive days and nights.

Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross are a devotional practice observed on Good Friday, involving the recitation of prayers that reflect upon the Passion of Jesus Christ through 14 distinct Stations. These Stations commemorate key moments of Jesus’ final hours, from His condemnation to His burial. The devotion is particularly poignant on Good Friday, a day dedicated to the solemn remembrance of Christ’s suffering and death. At 3 p.m., aligning with the traditional hour of Jesus’ death, churches worldwide hold special Good Friday services. These services often include commemorating the Passion of Christ and reciting His Seven Last Words on the cross, offering a time for reflection on the sacrifice and love demonstrated by Jesus.

Easter Sunday

This is called Pasko Ng Pagkabuhay, or “the resurrection of Christ.” Families bond during the feast celebration while the kids enjoy Easter egg hunting.

Australia

Good Friday and Easter Monday are national public holidays in Australia. Religious people will perform rituals, such as fasting, praying, attending special church services, and holding long prayer vigils. Less religious people will take advantage of the long weekend and plan their holiday trips. Hot cross buns are an Easter staple among many Australians. The Easter egg hunt is the most popular game during the Easter celebration with the family.

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Kenya

In Kenya, Christians celebrate Holy Week by attending Church every day for four days, ending on Easter Sunday. On Good Friday, they have processions and re-enactments of the Stations of the Cross. On Easter Sunday, they will say, “Heri Kwa Sikukuu Ya Pasaka,” meaning “Blessed be the Passover Feast.” Families stay together, feasting and celebrating the resurrection of Christ.

Israel

Many believe this is the best place to celebrate the Holy Week by visiting the Holy Land. Thousands of pilgrims visit Jerusalem at the Holy Sepulchre. A Mass of the Last Supper is celebrated on Holy Thursday. At night, there will be a holy hour at the garden of Gethsemane. There will be a procession at the Church of St. Peter in Galli Cantu. At the Calvary, the Lord’s Passion and crucifixion will be remembered on Good Friday, and then the Station of the Cross will follow. The climax of the celebrations will end on Easter Vigil on a Saturday. A Mass is celebrated on Easter Sunday with a procession around Christ’s tomb.

Reflections

Holy Week is a time of contemplation and evaluation of the inner self. It is also a time for prayers, fasting, repentance, almsgiving, and love. We should reflect on this, as it is a time for a new beginning and a new hope to lead a life of righteousness and follow Christ’s teachings.

We must remember this message from John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that he sent His only son to the world, not to condemn the world but the world might be saved through Him.” 


Excerpt from my book “The realities of Life”.

Spiritual upliftment

If the food, we take nourishes our bodies.
Prayers meditations and contemplations
Are the tools enriching and uplifting our spiritual souls.
Through these we grow to control our minds and emotions
Thus, bringing us to the next level
Where inner peace and 
Satisfaction can easily be achieved.

(Go to www.lornasbook.com to view titles written by Lorna Ramirez.)

Lorna Ramirez
Lorna Ramirez
LORNA RAMIREZ was born, raised and educated in Manila in the Philippines, attaining a degree in Chemical Engineering and working as a laboratory manager in a textiles company. In 1977, with her husband and her son and daughter she migrated to Australia. She worked as a laboratory technician and a chemist in Australia, only retiring in the year 2000 to care for her first grandchild. Lorna Ramirez has travelled extensively, gaining much from her interactions with people all over the world and building a strong foundation for her philosophies about life. She loves gardening, cooking, and reading and playing the piano. She is also interested in the Stock Exchange. Throughout her life, Lorna Ramirez, a woman of faith, has been a wise observer of human behaviour and has collected her many pearls of wisdom and observations to produce this inspiring and uplifting book.

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