MANILA, Philippines – The Holy Week for Catholics formally opens with Palm Sunday, which marks the start of events leading up to the death of Jesus Christ. The week ends with Easter Sunday, when he rises from the dead and brings salvation to the world. Some of the faithful visit churches (Visita Iglesia) to pray and reflect on the passion and death of Christ, awaiting his resurrection and promise of eternal life.
Would you want to do the traditional Visita Iglesia early on but could not, because you’re overseas, ill, or unable to extricate yourself from pressing responsibilities?
Do you feel the need for a sense of spirituality or the desire to re-experience a Filipino-style Holy Week?
Rappler offers a multimedia tour of 14 Philippine Catholic churches in a virtual Visita Iglesia that brings together visuals, music, and one-minute Bible readings to give the faithful time to pause in today’s fast-moving, stressful times. The passages are read by Paterno Esmaquel II. The virtual package allows those wishing and willing, but unable to for different reasons, to do the Visita Iglesia. (To access the virtual Visita Iglesia, click this link.)
Rappler anchors the virtual Visita Iglesia on the Stations of the Cross, a popular Catholic devotion that retraces the steps, or stations, of Jesus Christ’s passion and death. For the virtual Visita Iglesia, a version of the Stations of the Cross by the Vatican’s Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff serves as guide.
The virtual Visita Iglesia features 360-degree images by panoramic photographer Fung Yu, allowing netizens to virtually explore each church, rotate, zoom in, and zoom out at their own pace.
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(See sample below of the antique Paete Church. Click on the door to virtually “enter” the church. Hold and drag the mouse to move around. Press “shift” to zoom in, “control” to zoom out. Or use the arrow keys. You may also choose to have a full screen view of the church by clicking on the right-most icon. Go ahead and explore.)
The 14 churches to be visited during the virtual Visita Iglesia include the following:
Station I – Church of San Carlos Borromeo in Mahatao, Batanes
Station II – Santa Monica Church in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte
Station III – Santa Maria de Assunta Church in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur
Station IV – Barasoain Church (also known as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish)
Station V – Parish of Our Lady of the Assumption in Maragondon, Cavite
Station VI – Immaculate Conception Church in Balayan, Batangas
Station VII – Taal Basilica (San Martin de Tours) in Taal, Batangas
Station VIII – San Ildefonso Parish Church in Tanay, Rizal
Station IX – Church of San Pedro de Alcantara in Pakil, Laguna
Station X – Basilica Minore de San Miguel Arcangel in Tayabas, Quezon
Station XI – Church of San Juan Bautista in Tabaco, Albay (Bicol Region)
Station XII – St. Anne’s Parish in Molo, Iloilo
Station XIII – Carcar Church (also known as St. Catherine’s Church) in Cebu
Station XIV – Church of San Isidro Labrado in Lazi, Siquijor
Stained glass images of each station, photographed by Hubert Pacheco, illustrate each stage of Christ’s passion and allow visitors to reflect on Christ’s personal and spiritual journey.
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The soundtrack used for the stations of the cross are taken from the album series “Vespers,” courtesy of Jesuit Communications. Those who wish to linger may choose to have the instrumental music continue playing for a few more minutes after each reading.
Songs include popular Catholic titles like “Tanging Yaman,” “Kunin Mo, O Diyos,” “Huwag Kang Mangamba,” and “Hindi Kita Malilimutan.”
Join us on this virtual Visita Iglesia, part of our week-long package called Holy Week Online . – Rappler.com
Note: To get the full experience, your device / computer should be enabled to support Flash.
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