Aside from celebrating Easter, two other things we did as a family last Holy Week was Visita Iglesia and praying the Way of the Cross. It was our second time to do Visita and Stations of the Cross at the churches we visited. The first time was with c’s Ninang E back in 2012. We drove through the provinces of Rizal and Laguna and prayed in some of their beautiful and historical churches. It was inspiring to see how the faithful have devotedly built and maintained a place of worship for the Lord. This year we went on the same path, but we limited ourselves to three churches in Rizal. In that way we had more reflection time at the churches rather than on the road. Here were the churches we visited:
Our Lady of The Holy Rosary Parish of Cardona, Rizal
St. Jerome Parish Church of Morong, Rizal
St. Joseph Parish Church of Baras, Rizal
In preparation for this year’s trip Hubby and I dug into our memory banks for the churches we went to last time. Unfortunately, it was only St. Jerome’s in Morong that we both clearly remember. No surprise on that. Ooops… Ilaglag ba ang sarili? Hahaha! But yes, we’re quite a forgetful couple and seriously, St. Jerome’s is an unforgettable church for us. It is the oldest church in the province of Rizal and which we consider as the most beautiful. It has become our favorite for its majestic and serene beauty amid the stillness of its open grounds. Even when we got to the Philippine cinema’s favorite St. Joseph’s in Baras, St. Jerome’s is still our #1. And then St. Joseph’s became our #2. The two churches were wonderfully captured in photos by Mariano Sayno here and here. The parish in Cardona and all the other churches we’ve visited in 2012 are a beauty themselves but there’s something about old churches that appeal more to me and Hubby. In particuar, it signifies the unnerving faith that withstood the ravages of wars and the test of time.
For the Stations of the Cross, we used this devotional given by my Mama:
Praying the Way of the Cross with St. John Mary Vianney for the Sanctification of Priests by Most Rev. Mylo Hubert C. Vergara, DD, MA, SThD
We missed seeing Pope Francis up close last January when he has here in Manila. We wanted to but it did not happen. And then I remember Pope asked all of us to pray for him and the rest of the clergy. So I thought this devotional was perfect with our reflection of the Way of the Cross. It would also be more meaningful because the sacraments we receive are always officiated by priests. Moreover, it is them our priests, our pastors, who serve as primary guides in forming a closer relationship with the Lord.
Hubby and I took turns in leading the prayers. On the other hand, c also had an active part in what we did. We asked him to read most of the scripture readings. Like the one in the picture, the readings starting from the Third Station were short so it was within his attention span. We had to coach him alot though since he was unfamiliar with many words.
After the Visita Iglesia and Stations of the Cross, we had our late lunch at Pisong Kape. Then we headed off to our side trip – to see the iron giants of Rizal. It was a great and meaningful day by far. I have high hopes we, as a family, will do Visita Iglesia and Way of the Cross every year from now on. I am looking forward to visiting a whole lot more of our country’s historical churches. 🙂
Oh did I say pisong kape? And iron giants??? Ah yes, I did. But I’ll save that for a separate post. 😉 I’m ending this post with tidbits of our trip to the churches. I found alot of information in the web on the rich history and description of the parishes, but not so much about driving info and few trivial stuff that may be helpful to some.
- Our first stop should have actually been Sta. Ursula Parish Church in Binangonan. Unfortunately, we found no place to park nearby. The church was of course open to the faithful, but the gates for vehicles were closed on that Good Friday. We were already blocks away when we found a space to park. However, it was far from our comfort zone considering we’re not locals. Also, the roads in the vicinity were narrow for two-way traffic. The municipal market is just a few steps in front of the church. Side streets were even narrower so there’s the big possibility of being stuck with tricycles and foot traffic. We might have just gotten ourselves on the wrong roads and were unfamiliar to safe parking areas, I’m not sure. Probably. But I do remember being on similar tight roads around the other churches in our 2012 Visita Iglesia.
- Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Cardona is along the municipality’s main road parallel to Manila East Road. The church is in front of the Munisipyo. Parking areas are available in front of the Munisipyo and in the parish compound.
- Going to St. Jerome’s in Morong one will passby Morong’s Municipal Hall and Plaza. Turn left at Ynares Multi-purpose Court. Parking spaces on the street at the left side of the church and at a designated open parking area further ahead. At that area there is a plight of stairs leading up to the church grounds.
- Google Map knows where St. Joseph Parish Church of Baras is located. We only checked the app going to Baras and were pleasantly surprised it knows how to get us to St. Joseph’s. The church compound is big. There are pocket gardens, a mini plaza and good enough parking spaces available inside the compound.
- The parish churches of St. Jerome and St. Joseph have Stations of the Cross markers outside the church. We were able to pray at the stations without being a distraction to the people attending the activities inside the church. And that is another reason why St. Jerome and St. Joseph are our favorite churches to visit. 🙂