Just like other Catholics, me and my husband, with our son tagging along, practice Semana Santa by doing the Visita Iglesia. I myself, has been into this even when I was still in college. Visiting 7 churches during Maundy Thursday for prayers, offerings and thanksgiving as well.
For this year, we were supposed to go to a nearby province to spend the Holy Week. But since I'm almost due to give birth, me and my husband decided not to, instead go east of Metro Manila for the yearly Visita Iglesia.
We started with San Jose Manggagawa Parish Church within the Loyola Subdivision in Markina City. There I prayed and offered my mom's present condition. Asking for Jesus to bring with Him the sufferings of my mom. She's due for an Iodine Radioactive treatment in relation to her thyroidectomy. She's had a radiation treatment last month, but needs to get this one soon. I prayed that she'll get through this one, will lesser treatment afterwards. I also prayed for my dad's death, still hoping for answers to many questions and for closure in the family.
Next stop was at the Immaculate Concepcion Parish Church in Concepcion, Marikina. Unlike the first church we went to, Immaculate Concepcion is a big one. I've been passing by this church so many times but it was my first time to get in. Here I offered prayers for my parents-in-law, that they be free from any illnesses and that they maintain the good relationship they have now.
The third church we visited was also in Marikina City, in Calumpang, the Our Lady of Abandoned Parish Church. Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish is also known as the San Roque Church. Easy to find as it is located just beside the OTTO shoe building. Our Lady of the Abandoned also houses the Marikina Catholic School. Here I offered prayers for my family. Thankful that each and everyone of us are healthy. I prayed the my husband be kept safe and in good health, same with me, so we can provide well for our son and the coming baby. I also prayed that our son Leon be free from any sickness that plagues a lot of young children nowadays.
The fourth church we visited was the Our Lady of Light Parish in Cainta, Rizal. The church is along A. Bonifacio Ave. It is within the same compound of the Cainta Catholic School. Quite a big church, may be able to accommodate residents of Cainta and nearby municipalities. Here, I prayed for myself. I prayed for a safe delivery of our coming baby, which my O.B. said might come sooner than we expected. I likewise prayed that I be free from too much worries, insecurities, inhibitions --- all that bothers me, which hinders me from doing what is supposed to be done. I prayed for a more healthy me so I can be more of service to my husband, our son and the new baby, to my mom, parents-in-law and loved ones.
Fifth on the itinerary was on church in C. Raymundo Ave., Pasig City. Unfortunately, because of the procession of devotees to Antipolo Church, we weren't able to make the left turn towards the said street. We instead proceed to Mary the Queen Parish in Greenhills - the one beside . Here I prayed for my siblings, my sister and two brothers. That they be healthy and safe. I did offered to the Lord the not-so-good relationship we have with each other. Praying more that we're able to settle our differences and for a better relationship with one another. I did offer to the Lord our sufferings, I likewise prayed that all of us be enlightened from what it is that makes our relationship difficult.
Just a plus, here we saw Vince Hizon (a well-known cager) and his wife, who, by the way, is prettier in person than on tv.
Our sixth church is the St. John the Baptist church in San Juan. We weren't able to enter the church as it was closed but the Holy Sacrament was displayed beautifully in the church grounds, with lots of floral decors and flowing water underneath. Here, I prayed for my husbands sister and his step siblings. That his sister be free from any illnesses as she's overworked already. I prayed that she find her time to attend to herself...she works hard to provide well for their five children but it is equally important that she also takes some time out for herself and for her family. It was just recently that my husband met his step-siblings, I likewise prayed for their good health, safety and that they be given a chance to get to know each other, anyway, they're brothers and sisters.
Last in our itinerary was the Santuari de Santo Cristo also in San Juan. We almost didn't make it as my husband who was driving the car, wasn't really sure of where he was going. San Isidro Labrador is located in F. Blumentritt St. in San Juan, quite hidden. It is an old spanish-style church with (again) the usual brick facade and walls, just by the look of it, you'll know it's an old church but is well maintained. Last but not the least, my prayers were for all of us, offering to the Lord all our sufferings, worries, problems, the heavy loads that we personally can't carry by ourselves. Asking the Lord to bring with his all of these and help us because I know He is stronger than all of us. Without Him we will not be able to go on with our daily lives.
In all of these churches, I offered to the Lord, not just the challenges we face in life but I also thanked Him for all the good things that happened to each and everyone of us. Thanking Him that we were able to surpass challenges, that life wasn't too difficult as compared to the past.
Visita Iglesia for me is not just commemorating the Lords sufferings, but this is also the time for me to reflect on the good things that happened to me the past year. This is also my chance to thank the Lord personally for saving our sins, taking up our heavy load, and still be there for us in times we need Him most. This is also my time to rebond with the Lord, make my personal relationship with Him more stronger.
I am not so much of a devote Catholic, I do go to church every Sundays and Holidays of obligations and for this year I've started hearing mass on first Fridays, I try to be a good person by following His teachings, but I do know I have a good relationship with the Lord. I do pray though that my children will be just like me in terms of our faith in the Lord, if not better.