Friday, April 14, 2017
The Via Crucis In Sibulan
Today, being Good Friday, we did what nearly everyone in Philippines does - walk in the Via Crucis procession. For those unfamiliar with this tradition, it is a commemoration of 14 "events" (called stations) which took place during Christ's passion on the day of His crucifixion:
1 Pilate condemns Jesus to die
2 Jesus accepts his cross
3 Jesus falls for the first time
4 Jesus meets his mother, Mary
5 Simon helps carry the cross
6 Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
7 Jesus falls for the second time
8 Jesus meets the three women of Jerusalem
9 Jesus falls for the third time
10 Jesus is stripped of his clothes
11 Jesus is nailed to the cross
12 Jesus dies on the cross
13 Jesus is taken down from the cross
14 Jesus is placed in the tomb
Every Catholic parish in Philippines will have its own Via Crucis today and we participated in the Stations of the Cross for San Antonio de Padua Parish.
The procession began at the Church at approximately 4:30 AM. We walked north along Western Nautical Highway - turning left at Calingacion Street. From there we turned right onto Divina Gracia Street until we came to the National Highway south of the Church. Turning right on to the highway, we walked down the highway until we reached San Antonio Street - taking San Antonio back to the Church, for a total distance of about 6 kilometers - approximately 4 3/4 miles.
The photos I'm posting here were taken by my neighbor, Vern as the Via Crucis passed our apartment building in Cangmating after the 12th Station. It was before sunrise when we started this morning and I knew it would be useless for me to carry my camera.
Being in the middle of the crowd, it is impossible for me to get a realistic idea of how many people walked in today's procession. My neighbor, who watched as the crowd walked down San Antonio Street, estimated the number of people to be close to 10,000.
The procession took about 2 hours to complete - we did have to stop at each of the 14 Stations, after all. It was between 5 and 6 AM as we walked down the long stretch of highway, stopping traffic along the way. I had very little sympathy for the cars and buses waiting for the thousands of people to make their way; Filipinos have been following this tradition for hundreds of years and anyone attempting to drive on Good Friday should know what to expect.