PASTORAL MESSAGE FOR HOLY WEEK
My dear Clergy, Religious and the Faithful of the Archdiocese of Caceres,
Peace of Christ!
In a few days, we will enter into the solemn week of our Catholic celebrations: the Holy Week and the Holy Triduum.
Similar to last year, we are celebrating these important holy days in a rather strange and unexpected ways. Restricted movements, limited participation inside the Church, adherence to stricter health protocols, prudence and safety during religious activities, all these have become the ‘new normal’ in our Holy Week celebrations.
We thought that with the roll out of the much awaited vaccines things will revert to our usual day- to- day routine and activities. Unfortunately, that is not the case. We are far from going back to the ‘good old days.’ It seems, we will never be.
It is amazing though that in spite of all the restrictions and protocols, the Faith of our people remains strong, if not, stronger. As pastors we have first hand experiences of how our people long to enter and worship inside our Churches. They thirst for the Sacraments, especially for the Holy Eucharist. Even though there is a flood of live-streaming in so many Churches, still our faithful desire the physical attendance in worship and liturgical celebrations.
It is in this strange environment that once again we are called to remember the solemn Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The difficult situations brought about by the Covid pandemic challenge us to celebrate Holy Week adhering to health protocols, and above all, with greater devotion and stronger conviction that “nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.” (Cfr. Rom 8, 35)
Together as priests, religious and faithful, let us draw inner strength and firm hope from the loving sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary. “ No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.” (Jn 15,13)
Whatever be the form of our participation in the liturgical celebrations, be it at home through live-stream, or physical attendance in the Church, let us celebrate the memorial of our Lord’s Paschal Mystery with fervent devotion and active participation.
In our Paschal memorial, let us be united in prayer and sacrifice for our many poor people, and for struggling families to have a decent living.
May the blood of Jesus wash away the spike of Covid-19, widespread corruption and addictions that wreak havoc to our people and our beloved land.
In the spirit of our Blessed Mother Mary and the few who remained with her, with contrite hearts, let us follow the footsteps of the suffering Jesus unto Calvary.
Jesus’ Passion and Death on the Cross is not the definitive end.
He rose and lived again, defeated death. (cfr. Rom 6,9)
In dying, Jesus gave us NEW LIFE! “We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in the NEWNESS OF LIFE.”
(Rom 6, 4)
My blessing and prayers to all for a grace-filled celebration of the Paschal Mystery of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Joyful Solemnity of the Annunciation!
ROLANDO J. TRIA TIRONA, OCD, D.D
Archbishop of Caceres
March 25, 2021
Naga City, Cam Sur