By Rissa Singson Kawpeng
My recollections of Holy Week as child was that it always sizzled. Literally. It was the hottest week of the year — or at least that’s how it seemed when Mommy would take us to church to attend the Lenten services. But coming to know the Lord in a personal way gave me a deeper understanding of what Jesus’ sacrifice means.
Today, I’m grateful that as Catholics, we have 40 days every year when we focus on the Lord and grow in the practice of our faith.
Here are seven ways to add wow to your Holy Week:
1. Attend “Scandalous Grace,” a Holy Week Retreat hosted by The Feast Alabang.
Going on its fifth year, the attendance for this event just keeps rising every Lenten season. This year, its organizers expect 4,000 people to come. Its popularity springs from the lineup of powerhouse speakers like the gifted lay preachers of The Feast Alabang headed by Arun Gogna, and charismatic priests like Fr. John Paul del Rosario, Fr. Arnel Aquino and Fr. Sobrejuanite.
This happens on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday at the Filinvest Tent in Alabang from 8 a.m. to 12 noon.
2. Join “Reinvent 2015,” Bo Sanchez’s Holy Week Retreat at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
“I’ve realized that sometimes, God’s no is His sweetest yes. Through each of those failures, God was telling me, ‘I love you,’” said Bo Sanchez, Catholic lay preacher and bestselling author. In his “live-out” retreat, receive a powerful touch from God through power-packed talks, music and reflection points. Aside from Bo, his lineup of speakers this year includes Kerygma preachers and passionate, insightful priests like Fr. Joel Jason, Fr. Mario Sobrejuanite and Fr. Bob McConaghy. Check out http://holyweekretreat.com for more information.
3. Attend a Latin Mass.
Have a “throwback” Lenten experience by attending a Tridentine Mass. This Eucharistic celebration takes place with the priest facing the altar instead of the congregation and is recited entirely in Latin — the way Masses were celebrated before Vatican II. You will depend heavily on your missalette, which has the English translations. As the Mass readings are read softly in Latin, thankfully, another lector reads it in English for you to understand. Here are some places where you can catch a Latin Mass:
- Christ the King Parish, Greenmeadows, Quezon City – Saturdays at 8:30 a.m.
- Shrine of St. Therese, Pasay City – Sundays at 9 a.m.
- St. James the Great Parish, Ayala Alabang Village, Muntinlupa City – every last Saturday at 3:00 p.m.
Click here for more info on Latin Mass schedules near your area.
4. Spend an hour a day at an adoration chapel on Holy Week
Beholding the Holy Eucharist exposed instead of hidden in the tabernacle gives you an intimate experience of Christ’s presence. Many parishes have an adoration chapel that’s open 24 hours just waiting for you to come. Some of my favorites include the ones in Christ the King, Mary the Queen on Madison in San Juan and Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, St. James the Greater in Alabang.
5. Join a Holy Land or a Marian pilgrimage.
On April 6-19, Bo Sanchez will be having his “Come Home” Spiritual Pilgrimage 2015 where he will take you to Belgium, France, Spain and Italy. In this traveling retreat, go back to your spiritual home in three ways: by coming home to Mama Mary, to your brother and sister saints, and to your Mother Church as Catholics in Rome. This is a trip of a lifetime that will leave an indelible mark on your faith and your person. For more information, click here.
6. Get my book Shhh! Kinakausap Ka ni Lord.
Its chapters will lead you to reflect on the way God speaks to you in your own life. If you prefer a book in English, grab Discover Your Inner Beauty Queen. I promise that even if you’re a guy, you will learn a lot of things that will help deepen your walk with the Lord. Order at www.kerygmabooks.com.