Reflection: The Joy of Easter in the Year of the Parish

In 2017, the Catholic Church in the Philippines celebrates Easter during the Year of the Parish. The Year of the Parish is the fifth year in the Philippine Church’s nine-year journey towards the fifth centenary of the coming of Christianity in our land. In the Diocese of Cubao, the Year of the Parish as Communion of Communities was launched on December 10, 2016 at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral with a mass celebrated by our Bishop, Most Rev. Honesto F. Ongtioco. The parishes in the Diocese followed suit with parochial launchings on December 15 and 16.


And now, several months into the celebration of the Year of the Parish, parish churches all throughout the country are celebrating the great season of Easter. The festivities of Easter are among the most anticipated events in our parishes. They are opportunities to witness “our pastors, the religious and lay leaders and all those who labor in the parish” work hand in hand to have a truly meaningful commemoration of the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord.


Here at our very own Parish of the Holy Sacrifice (PHS), our spirited observance of Holy Week which begins with Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord and ends with Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord is made possible through the tireless efforts of our parochial vicar and the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) that compose our Parish. Every year, “the spirit of collaboration and co-responsibility” permeates the work of our shepherd-priests and parishioners who ensure that the blessed days recalling Jesus’ ascent to Calvary and his glorious triumph over death are celebrated with utmost solemnity. The activities of the Holy Week help to illustrate how the Parish is truly a “communion of communities.”


On Palm Sunday, the parishioners participate in the procession commemorating the Lord’s entry into Jerusalem. Here at PHS, the parishioners, bringing palaspas, assemble very early in the morning, around 4:30 am at an appointed place and walk in procession towards the church in time for the celebration of the first mass of Passion Sunday at 6:00 am.


Then, there is the annual Lenten Recollection and Kumpisalang Parokya, made available not just to parishioners but everyone who wishes to spiritually prepare for the celebration of the Paschal mystery.


On Holy Wednesday, the parishioners take part in the Penitential Way of the Cross. The stations are located around the community. Those who participate move from one area to another while meditating on the Lord’s passion, crucifixion and resurrection.


The Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday begins the Paschal Triduum. The liturgy on Maundy Thursday is followed by the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the Altar of Repose or the traditional visita iglesia. At PHS, the different ministries and BECs hold vigil before the Blessed Sacrament in the Altar of Repose located at the Hardin ng Pamilya. On Good Friday, at 3:00 pm, “the hour of great mercy,” the parishioners return to church for the Veneration of the Cross. The Good Friday liturgy is followed by a procession where the parishioners join the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Sorrowful Mother, as she brings her son to his final resting place. The Easter Triduum reaches its highest point in the evening of Black Saturday. The Easter Vigil brings us the good news of the Lord’s coming back to life conquering sin and death. Then, at dawn on Easter Sunday, the Parish holds the traditional salubong which culminates with the first mass of Easter Sunday.


In all of these activities, the involvement of the BECs, whether as organizers or participants, is indispensable. We, at PHS, are fortunate to have BECs devoted to assisting our Parish Priest and lay leaders in keeping the faith and making sure that our worship of God in the Word and the Eucharist is always alive. We continue to pray that “the Holy Spirit enlighten, inspire and invigorate us to actively participate in the mission [that has been] entrusted to us in the parish” so that we may be brought “into a fuller and fruitful communion with [the Risen Lord] and with one another.”


Happy Easter to one and all!



Rex Lago Paras

Rex is the Chairperson of the Lectors and Commentators Group of the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice.

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