How Holy Week Is Celebrated
In Different Parts Of The World
In Lent, the Conference of Indonesian Bishops always encourages the faithful to carry out "Aksi Puasa Pembangunan", which literally means "Fasting Action for Development"
The Indonesian Church emphasizes that our repentance should also have some impact on social development. The money that we save from fasting and abstinence should not be saved for ourselves, but to be given as alms. The alms should be used to support local communities, especially those in need, including people from other religions.
Lent, lived this way, is a most significant time in witnessing to the great love of the Lord for the poor and needy. Pope Francis said that helping the poor and needy is one way of obtaining a "passport to paradise, that is, to be with our loving Father who sent His only Son that we may have eternal life" (Jn 3:16).
Lenten traditions in the Philippines have been handed down to us by our ancestors and we faithfully observe them to this day. Holy Thursday and Good Friday are official public holidays. We go to church to pray, attend processions or join the Way of the Cross. Some people visit a number of different churches as a kind of pilgrimage. This practice is called Visita Iglesia.
Apart from this, we observe re-enactments of Christ's passion presented in the streets or in the hall which we call Senakulo. Christ's passion and death are remembered as well through a prayer we do at home called Pabasa or Pasyon, which is the prayer of Jesus' passion and death. The night before Easter, we go to church for the Easter Vigil then in the early morning of Easter Sunday people go to Church for the Salubong, which means the "meeting of Jesus the Risen Christ with Mary his Mother," because it is traditionally believed that, before Jesus appeared to the disciples, he first showed himself to his mother.
There is no better time in the liturgical year than the season of Lent to reflect on our faith and how we live in our society.
In Uganda, this season comes with numerous activities lined up right from Ash Wednesday all the way to Good Friday.
In almost every parish, special prayer sessions are conducted every day with various groups organizing evening Mass, beginning with the recitation of the Holy Rosary. Confessions are heard every day after morning Mass and before the evening Mass.
In my Queen of Martyrs Catholic Shrine Parish, Namugongo, the Way of the Cross is done every Friday evening, with the Shrine Rector himself leading the prayer through all the stations. Many parishes are now doing the same all over the country.
Fasting is encouraged and the practice of not eating meat on Ash Wednesday and every Friday during the period of Lent is strictly observed.
Almsgiving is very much encouraged. Members of the Good Samaritan community collect items donated by the faithful and these items are given out free when the Good Samaritans visit prisons, elderly people, orphanages and the disadvantaged.
The Lenten season gets even more prayerful during Holy Week…notably on Good Friday. On this day, every Diocese organizes a public Way of the Cross and this is done in the morning on the streets of the city or town in that Diocese.
Lent is a season of total devotion. We look forward to it this year too. May God bless us during this season in the year 2020.
John Baptist Ssensuwa
The 40 days of Lent are marked with special traditional ceremonies in Vietnam, besides the regular observance of fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. Foremost of these practices is the Lenten devotion of meditation on the Passion of the Lord
While the Stations of the Cross are a beloved Lenten devotion for all Catholics, the Vietnamese have an additional practice that combines ancient chants with traditional prayer. Lenten meditation, also known as ngắm đứng (standing meditation) is a Catholic devotion containing many hymns that developed from 17th century Vietnam. The devotion is primarily a sung reflection and meditation on the Passion of Christ and the sorrows of His Blessed Mother.
The rhythm differs in each place, but the content is the same. In all places we do this meditation especially on Ash Wednesday, Friday evenings during Lent, and the Paschal Triduum. In many places still, people do not go to work but devote these days to prayer, in order to emphasize the celebration of Easter which is “the highlight of the liturgical year.”
The singing of the Passion of our Lord and the Sorrows of our Blessed Mother is an important part of our Lenten journey every year.
By Sr. Maria Chi Phuong, a.c.i.