Gwen skips yearly Visita Iglesia to southern Cebu churches
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Despite the observance of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, Cebuanos are reminded to keep in mind that the province is still under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia told the public to channel their faith and prayers directly to God and for now, forego the Holy Week rituals such as Visita Iglesia and mass gatherings in observance to the stay at home and social distancing policies.
“Sama sa giingon ko, mao ni ang labing nakalahi, unique, nga Semana Santa. Wala na to atong naandan nga mga ritual,” Garcia said.
(Like what I said, this is the most different, unique Holy Week. Gone are those rituals that we are used to.)
“God is everywhere so mahimo ta nga moampo niya bisan og hain. Mosabot man gyud na siya kanunay. (We can pray to Him from anywhere. He will understand always.) We are asking everyone to stay home. It is a sacrifice in itself. Offer your home quarantine to God,” she added.
Garcia added that even she has cancelled her annual tradition of visiting churches in southern Cebu because of the crisis.
One town, one mystery
In the past when the COVID-19 pandemic was out of sight, Garcia said she would visit over 20 churches in southern Cebu for her Visita Iglesia.
In every town, Garcia said she would visit at least one church where and pray one mystery of the Holy Rosary with other town officials.
Garcia used to start her Visita Iglesia journey in Minglanilla town where the National Shrine of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is located then proceeds south to the churches in Naga City, San Fernando and Carcar City.
Heading southwest, Garcia would visit the churches in her family’s hometown in Barili and Dumanjug, then to Ronda, Alcantara, Moalboal, Badian, Alegria, Malabuyoc, Ginatilan, and Samboan before reaching the southern tip of Cebu: Santander.
From Santander, Garcia’s supposed Visita Iglesia routine would head southeast to the churches in Oslob, Boljoon, Alcoy, Dalaguete, Argao and ends in Sibonga.
“Usually by the end of Thursday, natuyok na nako ang southern part… Usahay akong mapangadyian, 22 hangtud 25 ka mga simbahan. Sa usa ka lungsod, sa lain nga kura paruko, mohangyo man nga pwede makahapit pod,” Garcia narrated.
(Usually, by the end of Thursday, I have circled the southern part. Sometimes, I pray in 22 to 25 churches. In one town, in another parish, they’d ask if we can drop by.)
“By the time moabot ko sa Sibonga, nakahuman na mi og bale lima ka resaryohan. Mao gyud na akong i-offer pirmi for the protection of Cebu,” she added.
(By the time we reach Sibonga, we would be able to finish five Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. That’s what I offer for the protection of Cebu.)
But due to the pandemic, Garcia said her only activity for this Holy Week will be the Easter Vigil at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral at 5:30 p.m. on Black Saturday, April 11.
Garcia, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, and Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino will be participating in the Easter Vigil. /bmjo
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