Showing posts with label Christ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christ. Show all posts

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Holy Week reflections and activities

This week is Holy Week – a time to remember and reflect on the events that led Jesus to the cross and to his resurrection. 

The time of Lent developed as part of the historical Christian calendar and is typically celebrated by Catholics and some mainline Protestant churches that follow a liturgical calendar.

Lent is the most appropriate time to really meditate about Jesus’ Passion.

This week, dust off your Bible and discover the words of the Lord.  There are Bible verses detailing promises and examples of God’s love and protection.

What are your favorite verses? 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. - John 3:16

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.- Deuteronomy 31:6
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 1 Peter 5:6

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.- First Peter 5:7

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.- Isaiah 41:10

The Village of the Compassionate God the Father in Inabanga town offers a place for quiet, restful, meditative prayer this Holy Week. Contributed 

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.- Jeremiah 29:11

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.- Philippians 4:19

The Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting … -Psalm 100:5

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him. -Nahum 1:7

For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. - Psalms 61:3

It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.- Lamentations 3:22-23

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.- Proverbs 3:5-6

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.- Jeremiah 17:14

Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.- Psalm 55:17

Combining religion and summer vacation, the Holy Week is the best time to get that much-needed rest and offer a silent prayer.

Holy Week is going to be a busy time for Bohol province. Local and foreign tourists are surely going to flock to this island paradise for some sea, sun, sand and “solemnity.”

Bohol is a perfect place for reflection. The paradise will surely make you reflect on the things that you have to be thankful for.

Spending the Holy Week on the beach may be frowned upon by conservatives. But it is a personal choice on how one remembers the passion and suffering of Christ. Remember, it is never about a place or location.

You can have beach soul-searching in Dauis, Panglao, Anda, Loon, Ubay and Carlos P. Garcia Island. You can sit alone under a beach hut and sip fresh juice, and thank the Lord for all the blessings.

Waterfalls in Balilihan (Camugao Falls), Dimiao (Ingkumhan and Pahangog Twins), Candijay (Can-umatad Falls) offer serenity. These not only feed the soul but also rejuvenate the body.

Himuntagon Hills in Loay and Alicia Panoramic View are another jaw dropping places for meditation and reflection. Allow these postcard worthy views to bind your faith and restore your religious spirits this Holy Week.

The Lenten Procession in Baclayon is a must. During Holy Wednesday and Good Friday, the streets of this town are filled with life-size religious statues depicting key events of the Passion and Death of Christ on decorated carrozas which are solemnly paraded along the streets followed either by devotees reciting the rosary.

In Loboc and Loay towns, one can see the ritual that dramatizes the first meeting of Christ and Mary after His resurrection takes place at dawn on Easter Sunday.  It begins with two processions, where statues of Christ and Mary are carried from opposite ends of the community. The statue of Mary is covered in a black veil of mourning. Eventually, they will meet at midpoint, during which an angel (typically played by a young girl from the community) will lift the veil, ending Mary’s mourning and Holy Week celebrations.  Well, what makes it special is the world-famous Loboc Children’s Choir sings during the mass and the ritual.

Amulet hunting is also a bizarre activity. It is a folk belief that anting-anting (amulets) are especially potent if collected, made, or charged on Good Friday. In Lamanok Point in Anda town and in Kalagan in Garcia-Hernandez, some albularyo search for anting-anting in caves and forests.

The Church said Holy Week was supposed to be a time “to be with God” in silent prayer and reflection.

VRS has picked some places to make your activities meaningful.

Old churches- There are many old churches for Visita Iglesia. Although some churches in Bohol were destroyed by the strong earthquake in 2013, they still provide space for meditation and prayer during Holy Week for your spiritual journey.   There are 14 churches to visit in remembrance of the 14 Stations of the Cross. Mediate and pray at Alburquerque (Sta. Monica Parish), Anda (Sto Nino Parish), Alicia (San Joaquin),  Antequera (The Nuestra Señora del Rosario), Baclayon (The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception), Balilihan (Nuestra Señora del Carmen Parish), Calape (San Vicente Ferrer), Candijay (Saint Joseph),Corella (Parish of Our Lady of the Village), Cortes (Santo Niño Parish), Dauis (Church of Our Lady of the Assumption), Dimiao (San Nicolas Tolentino Parish), Duero (Immaculate Conception), Garcia Hernandez (St. John the Baptist), Getafe (Santo Niño), Guindulman (Nuestra Señora de la Consolacion), Inabanga (San Pablo Apostol), Jagna (San Miguel Arcángel Parish), Lila (Virgin of the Holy Rosary), Loay (Santissima Trinidad Parish), Loboc (Church of San Pedro), Loon (Church of Our Lady of Light),  Maribojoc (Santa Cruz Parish),  Panglao (San Agustin Parish), Tagbilaran City (Cathedral of San José), Talibon (Most Holy Trinity), and Valencia (Santo Niño Parish).

Fatima Rosary Hill-   The shrine of the Madonna of the Miraculous Blessed Virgin Mary in barangay Buenavista in Carmen town was built sometime in the early 1940s. There is a concrete chapel, a spring and a souvenir shop. Spiritual recollection becomes more enhancing on top of this hill where one can look at the wide plains of Carmen and Sierra-Bullones. Don’t forget that it is holy and quiet. Burn a candle and pray.

San Antonio de Padua Shrine- Located in Barangay Tinibgan in Calape town, it houses the miraculous image of St. Anthony of Padua, one of the Catholic Church’s most popular saints. Saint Anthony of Padua is the patron saint of lost and stolen articles.

Village of the Compassionate God the Father- The shrine located in Barangay Fatima in Inabanga town provides a unique place for quiet, restful, meditative prayer during the remembrance of the final days before Jesus’ death and resurrection. There are life-size structures of the 14 Stations of the Cross with a big figure of the God the Father of All Mankind at the top of the hill. “When I am in doubt, troubled or feeling blessed, I always come to this place to find serenity..and for thanksgiving,” said  call center agent Gerwin Yudelmo, a frequent visitor of this pilgrimage site.

Krus Daku and the Statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Loboc – It is one of the favorite destinations of the pilgrims during the Holy Week. A huge white cross 80 feet in height is on top of the highest hill. In the next hill, one can visit the giant image of the Our Lady of Guadalupe. Here, one can view the towns of Loay and Loboc.

Virgen sa Kaluoy in Calape- The image of the Virgin is believed to be growing from an empty giant shell. From a mere obscure figure, the image now is very visible, showing the beautiful virgin with the giant shell in the background.

Shrine of San Pedro Calungsod-  A five-foot tall statue of Blessed Pedro Calungsod found in Barangay Malbog, Jagna town, is a popular pilgrimage site. The only statue dedicated to Pedro Calungsod in Bohol, tourists and pilgrims pray before the statue and leave written prayers at the foot of the statue.

Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at, follow leoudtohanINQ at Twitter /Facebook.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Christ is risen! Alleluia!

For three days, Satan must have believed that he had won the battle. He believed that Jesus would be forever in the grave and he conquered the world.

After all, Jesus had cried out in the cross "It is finished" and Satan thought it was a cry of surrender or defeat.

Then, the tomb is empty!  There is Light in the midst of our darkness.  Alleluia, Alleluia!

Easter is a significant day in the history of Christianity. It is with Easter that we remember and rejoice at the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

To make this day more profound and meaningful, let us sing together the hymn Christ the Lord Is Risen Today, composed by Charles Wesley. You can read alongside the Psalms and the Gospels "to feel" the spirit of the Easter.

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia!

King of glory, soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing, and thus to love, Alleluia!

And Bill Gaither’s Because He Lives:

God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives;
But greater still the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain days because He Lives!

Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at, follow leoudtohan at Twitter /Facebook.

The burning of Judas in Baclayon, PHL, an Easter-time ritual, where an effigy of  Judas Iscariot is burned.
Egg hunt during Easter Sunday in Tagbilaran
Hugos or Easter Sunday ritual in Baclayon, Bohol, Philippines

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Films to watch this Holy Week

It’s Holy Week! It’s time to reflect on the life, death and message of Jesus.

The most sacred of the year, each blessed day of the Holy Week is special and has something unique to offer. It begins with the Passion Sunday or Palm Sunday. The Triduum (Holy or Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday) is a day of sober reflection. And on Holy Saturday, that is the Easter Vigil, Jesus rose triumphantly from the dead.

Years ago, the week used to be marked in the color red on a calendar. The neighborhood was so quiet. Business establishments were closed for one week. The elders bought rice and viands good for one week. My lola and aunties warned us not to take a bath at 3 pm. on Good Friday,  monsters and demons are most powerful during Good Friday, wounds heal longer when acquired during Holy Week and traveling during Holy Week will bring accidents. (It was an effective stay at home parenting.)

People could only go to church. Lola told us to celebrate the Holy Week by fasting (menu: porridge or lugaw, binignit and puspas) and attending church services. Families prayed at the Stations of the Cross, listened to the Siete Palabras and meditated on the Word and suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was a must to attend the procession or libud during Good Friday to see the images of saints and Jesus on decorated carrozas.  Those who stayed at home could watch movies on TV. Since our options for Holy Week cinema were rather limited, we were gravitated toward an annual viewing of Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments, Marcelino Pan Y Vino and Himala.  

Time has a way of changing things. However, as we journey through Holy Week, let us draw closer to Christ in many meaningful ways.

If you decide to have Holy Week movie marathons, here are some flicks to watch in order to allow this significant season to touch your life more deeply:

Son of God-  Son of God came out in theaters this past weekend. Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado portrays the role of Jesus as the film spans from his humble birth through his teachings, crucifixion and ultimate resurrection. (Jesus Christ: We are going to change the world.)

The Ten Commandments- One of cinema’s greatest movies of all time. The Ten Commandments is iconic filmmaking. (Moses: There is a beauty beyond the senses, Nefretiri. Beauty like the quiet of green valleys and still waters. Beauty of the spirit that you cannot understand.)

The Passion of the Christ- This movie is a revealing, personal look into Jesus’ final hours on Earth. Amid much controversy involving Mel Gibson and various religious organizations, the intense nature of the film’s depiction of Christ’s sufferings is worth watching. (Jesus Christ: My heart is ready.)

Joseph King of Dreams- The Bible provides the subject matter for this story about Joseph and his brothers. From being a servant, Joseph became second in command to the pharaoh of Egypt. (Joseph: I'm your brother!)

Jesus of Nazareth- This movie by Franco Zeffirelli is a classic!

The Prince of Egypt- This epic animated feature covers all the classic story points of the story of Moses, including the ten plagues and the parting of the Red Sea. When Moses encounters the burning bush and confronts a God who calls Himself “I Am That I Am,” it is almost as if the scene compels the audience to remove their shoes for holy ground is underfoot. (God: Who made man’s mouth? Who made the deaf, the mute, the seeing or the blind? Did not I? Now go!)

End of Days- It’s about Satan's love life. Satan has returned to Earth and is walking the streets of New York City to find a woman will bear his child (The Man: For a thousand years you've waited for my return. Behold, you have failed. And with your dying breath, you will bear witness to the End of Days.)

The Da Vinci Code- Dan Brown's controversial best-selling novel about the Church’s powerful secret that's been kept under wraps for thousands of years comes to the screen. (Silas: Lord give me strength.)

The Greatest Story Ever Told – Like The Ten Commandments, it highlights the events of Jesus’ life from birth to his death and resurrection. It also portrays the warmth and connection between Jesus and ordinary people. 

Himala-This CNN Viewers Choice Award as Asia Pacific Best Film of All Time tells the story of Elsa, a barrio lass whose visions of the Virgin Mary change her life and cause a sensation hysteria in a poor, isolated village in the midst of drought. (Elsa: Walang himala! Ang himala ay nasa puso ng tao, nasa puso nating lahat! Tayo ang gumagawâ ng mga himala! Tayo ang gumagawa ng mga sumpa at ng mga diyos..)

Tanging Yaman- This heartrending drama opens our eyes to what truly makes a family.  It tells the story of family’s matriarch and her struggles to unite the family. (Loleng: Cake ko yan!)

Magnifico- It is impossible to resist watching this movie about a young boy Magnifico who wants to give
his ailing grandmother a decent funeral. The movie is a definition of sentimental overload.

GMA News reporter John Consulta reported that workers and volunteers are busy for the reconstruction of the Our Lady of Assumption Church in Dauis town. Likewise, parishioners are so excited that the church will be opened this Easter Sunday. Most of Bohol churches were destroyed by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake but not the faith of the people. “This Holy Week would be a showcase of their faith, they are going to get involved actively in this celebration of this paschal mystery of Jesus Christ,” Msgr. Jeffrey Malanog, vicar general of the Diocese of Tagbilaran, told GMA News.

Lovingly Yours, Helen (The Movie)-  Due to immense popularity of the program, Lovingly Yours, Helen was turned into an anthology movie. The first movie episode, Akin ang Walang Diyos, is our own version of the Exorcist and the Exorcism of Emily Rose.  Julie Vega starred as a girl possessed by an evil entity. (Demonyo: Akin kayo na walang Diyos!)

Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at, follow leoudtohan at Twitter /Facebook.