Holy Week is observed with special solemnity as a time of devotion to the Passion of Jesus Christ. History says that in the Greek and Roman liturgical books, it is called the Great Week because great deeds were done by God during this week. Meanwhile, it has been a tradition to Filipinos to go for a Visita Iglesia during the sacred days.
Visita Iglesia is the act of visiting seven different churches on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. It is one of the most sacred vows of Filipino Catholics. Families are often travel to visit the churches far from their place, which has become a form of family bonding.
In this time of pandemic, devotees are encouraged to observe the safety protocols while visiting churches to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 disease. For two years, we have not celebrated or done the traditional Visita Iglesia as most of us stayed at home due to the fear of possibly contracting the disease. Here are some few tips to consider for a safer Visita Iglesia.
Wear Your Protective Wear
It is critical for us to always have our facemask on whenever we go out and interact with people outside of our homes. Let us be reminded that as we pursue with our religious rites, we must strictly comply with the guidelines. Wear a facemask that is tight-fitting and not exposing your nose and mouth. Experts recommend using N95 masks, as it provides a higher degree of protection than a surgical mask or cloth mask because they can filter out both large and small particles.
Observe Social Distancing
Let us unite apart as we go for our Visita Iglesia. Maintain at least a meter away from each crowd. It is also recommended to visit during the off-peak time to avoid a huge crowd going in and out of the churches. While you can, it is best to stay outside the church.
Be Comfortable with Your Clothing
April is one of the hottest months in the Philippines. Thus, people are encouraged to wear light color and comfortable attire as they go outside to at least overcome the heat outside. Most importantly, dress for comfort and show respect to the church and its communities. Be aware that some worship places have their dress codes. Hence, wear the most appropriate one.
Prepare the List of the Churches you are Going to Visit
They say that the Catholic practice of Visita Iglesia is about visiting at least seven churches to honor the Blessed Sacrament. Every church is a place to seek penance for sins or do a prayerful meditation through the 14 Stations of the Cross. Hence, if you’re on a mission to complete the seven churches, being prepared is better than going to unplanned destinations.
Be Prepared: Bring an Emergency Kit
We aware that heat stroke happens in summer time and its prevalence is high. We are hoping and praying that our Vistia Iglesia will be peaceful for us, but it is always better to be prepared with our emergency health kit. People are advised to bring bottle of waters to hydrate themselves as they travel to the different worship places.
Let us enjoy and stay safe as we travel from one church to another. Have a peaceful Visitia Iglesia!