Friday, April 18, 2014

Visita Iglesia on a Good Friday: San Sebastian Parish

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Our last destination for our Visita Iglesia was a visit to the San Sebastian Parish. This parish is located at M.H. De Pilar street of Barangay Pinagbuhatan in Pasig City. It is one of the oldest parish in Pasig city celebrating more than 400 years.

It originated as the first chapel established by the Spaniards prior to the establishment of the present-day Pasig church. It comprises the entire barangay of Pinagbuhatan, being a parish under the Diocese of Pasig.

It's parochial erection was on May 31, 1990, with Fr. David Colong as its parish priest. San Sebastian Parish is adjacent to its parochial school, the Escuela Catolica de San Sebastian.

WE again saw the cross and images of saints all covered up with purple cloths. In fact, the entire altar was covered up with a huge purple cloth.

"The custom of veiling crosses and images .... has much to commend it in terms of religious psychology, because it helps us to concentrate on the great essentials of Christ's work of Redemption." 

Although this is true, the historical origin of this practice lies elsewhere. It probably derives from a custom, noted in Germany from the ninth century, of extending a large cloth before the altar from the beginning of Lent. 

This cloth, called the "Hungertuch" (hunger cloth), hid the altar entirely from the faithful during Lent and was not removed until during the reading of the Passion on Holy Wednesday at the words "the veil of the temple was rent in two." 

Some authors say there was a practical reason for this practice insofar as the often-illiterate faithful needed a way to know it was Lent. 

Others, however, maintain that it was a remnant of the ancient practice of public penance in which the penitents were ritually expelled from the church at the beginning of Lent. 

After the ritual of public penance fell into disuse — but the entire congregation symbolically entered the order of penitents by receiving ashes on Ash Wednesday— it was no longer possible to expel them from the church. Rather, the altar or "Holy of Holies" was shielded from view until they were reconciled to God at Easter. 

For analogous motives, later on in the Middle Ages, the images of crosses and saints were also covered from the start of Lent. 

The rule of limiting this veiling to Passiontide came later and does not appear until the publication of the Bishops' Ceremonial of the 17th century. 

After the Second Vatican Council there were moves to abolish all veiling of images, but the practice survived, although in a mitigated form.

This is me having my photo taken with the image of Mama Mary, the blessed virgin mother of Jesus Christ.

We left the parish saying "Viva San Sebastian!"

After we left the parish, we noticed some of the residents preparing for a procession later that night. There were several images of saints all lined up at that particular area of the barangay. I think a few of the more affluent residents acted as sponsors to the procession and they have their respective images of saints all dressed up for the occasion.

The barangay will convert itself into a vibrant place of festivities even during Lenten season. There is an almost mardi gras-like atmosphere when a parade or procession takes place on the streets. People tend to dress their best and decorate their float with the most flowers they could possibly use to make it colorful and appealing.


There was even an image of Jesus Christ nailed on a cross.

To reward ourselves for completing the strenuous task of going from one church to the next within one day, we decided to buy some halo-halo being sold at a nearby carinderia. The summer heat was tolerable since we mostly walked under the shades of the small neighborhoods of Pasig, but it was pure bliss the moment we tasted the cool refreshing mixture of bananas, jackfruit, beans, black mongos, sweet potatoes, jellos, ube and leche plan,

The halo-halo was the perfect sweet treat to end the day.

The Visita Iglesia was an experience worth repeating every year. Our country has several churches that it will take you almost a great deal of your lifetime to be able to visit seven of them for every year. The Philippines has about as many Catholic churches as Bali has temples.

While others start within their neighborhood, others prefer flying off to other cities to make it more special, and to become their vacation as well as they go through the other notable tourist spots of the country.

But wait, somebody told me that a few people are doing fourteen churches instead of just seven. Wow! Now that's what you call a real challenge.

In fact, there's this invitation to go around the following churches of Manila:

1. Assumption Church (Our Lady of the Assumption Parish)
 2. Malate Catholic Church (Our Lady of Remedies Parish)
3. Ermita Church (Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora de Guia Parish)
4. San Agustin Church  (Shrine of Our Lady of Correa / Immaculate Conception Parish)
 5. Manila Cathedral (Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica)
 6. Binondo Church (Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish)
7. Chinese Catholic Church (This I don't know the formal name)
8. Sta.Cruz Church (Church of Our Lady of the Pillar)
9. Quiapo Church (officially known as the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, canonically known as Saint John the Baptist Parish and colloquially known as Quiapo Church)
10. Holy Face Church (Holy Face of Jesus Chapel)
11. San Sebastian Church (Basilica Minore de San Sebastian)
12. San Beda Church ( Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat)
13. St. Jude Parish  (Saint Jude Thaddeus Archdiocesan Shrine)
14. San Miguel Church (National Shrine of Saint Michael and the Archangels) (aso called Villa de San Miguel Church and Malacañang Chruch due to its proximity to the Palace)

I will be sure to try this list soon even if not during Visita Iglesia.

Related Stories

About "" is the fastest growing and most awarded blog and social media community that has transcended beyond online media. It has successfully collaborated with all forms of media namely print, radio and television making it the most diverse multimedia organization. The numerous collaborations with hundreds of brands and organizations as online media partner and brand ambassador makes a truly successful advocate of everything about the Philippines, and even more since its support extends further to even international organizations including startups and SMEs that have made our country their second home.

Post a Comment

Ang Pambansang Blog ng Pilipinas Wazzup Pilipinas and the Umalohokans. Ang Pambansang Blog ng Pilipinas celebrating 10th year of online presence
Copyright © 2013 Wazzup Pilipinas News and Events
Design by FBTemplates | BTT