For Christians, Holy week is supposed to be a time to reconnect with God by reflecting on the life and sacrifice that Jesus made for humanity. Unfortunately in the Philippines, Holy Week had become synonymous to a chance to unwind and get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life because of the long holiday. Well, there is nothing wrong with having fun as long as we remember the essence of Holy Week.
The Holy Week or Semana Santa, is a yearly tradition that is observed religiously in the Philippines. The days comprising it are called mahal na araw or holy days. The week -long tradition is accompanied by various rituals and activities where people do their penance as they commemorate the passion and death of Christ.
For Christians, November 2 is a day for commemorating and praying for our departed loved ones. The prayers are intended to assist the souls of those who have died but still trapped in purgatory, a place after death where the souls undergo purification before entering heaven.
For the first time, the heart relic of Padre Pio, one of the most famous Catholic saints, visited the Philippines for 21 days, from Oct 5 to 21, 2018. With more than 86% of the population Catholic, it was no surprised that thousands of devotees flocked to the churches in Manila, Batangas and Cebu where the relic was displayed, just to have a chance to see and touch the relic of the incorrupt heart of Padre Pio.