Parish male volunteers participate in Lenten devotion
By Myrna Bermudo
“Sinasamba asin inoomaw mi Ika, Kagurangnan. Nin huli sa Mahal mong Krus, tinubos mo an kinaban.” (Via Crucis antiphon)
Parishioners of San Francisco Parish in Naga City kneel in unison as they recite the antiphon as an expression to revere the cross being carried on the shoulders of a male volunteer from the Barangay San Francisco during the Way of the Cross along the main streets.
The Via Crucis, a penitential walk along the streets of the barangay while meditating on the fifteen stations of the cross, is held on Fridays of Lent. Fifteen altars depicting the 15 stations are placed along the road. Fr. Wilfred Almoneda, parish priest, leads the meditation. He is joined by the altar servers, some lay leaders and those who were selected to act as the twelve apostles for the observance of the Lenten season.
Via Crucis is also called Stations of the Cross and Via Dolorosa. These names are used to signify either a series of pictures or tableaux representing certain scenes in the Passion of Christ , each corresponding to a particular incident.
“For the male volunteers, carrying the wooden cross means to participate and be united with the saving acts of our Savior , Jesus Christ, “ Fr. Almoneda said when asked about the Friday Lenten devotion in the parish.
“They also wear a vestment similar to the color of what the Nazarano wears. Ahead of the schedule of the Via Crucis, the barangay calls for volunteers from each of the barangays under the care of the parish: Tinago, Dayangdang and San Francisco. Male volunteers would enlist themselves to carry the wooden cross during the penitential walk. They take turns in carrying the wooden cross . If there are 15 volunteers, each one will carry the wooden cross for the 15 stations; if only three, each will have five stations. Faith is alive among the people, even among men. The parish has only to provide devotional and social action activities where the people can express their faith and devotion,” Fr. Almoneda added.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “The object of the Stations is to help the people to make in spirit, a pilgrimage to the chief scenes of Christ’s suffering and death. It is carried out by passing from Station to Station, with prayers and meditation on each station.”
“Situated in downtown Naga City, commonly called Centro, a place where business activity and distraction burst, the San Francisco Church - the people and the structure - redirects people’s minds back to God. Such a blessing to be a part of this parish, “ Majo Francisco, gushed when, for the first time, she participated in the Way of the Cross in the evening of March 17.
The parish “Via Crucis sa barangay” is scheduled on all Fridays of Lent at seven in the evening. While the Way of the Cross inside the parish church is held every Sunday at two in the afternoon.