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Legarda Urges Preservation of Lenten Traditions

March 31, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda today encouraged Catholics to preserve Lenten traditions and likewise urged Filipinos, regardless of faith, to maintain religious customs.

 

Legarda, whose family observes a century-old tradition of doing the pabasa every Holy Wednesday, said that Lenten traditions are part of Filipino Catholics’ heritage and in fact, the preservation of these customs has continued to strengthen the faith of many.

 

“The Lenten Season, especially the Holy Week, is a time for contemplation. We observe Filipino Holy Week traditions as part of renewing our relationship with God. But it is also a reality that some of these traditions are already dying. We should exert greater effort to preserve these customs which are not only expressions of our faith, but also of our culture,” she said.

 

Legarda’s great-grandparents, Gregorio Bautista and Agapita Torres-Bautista, started the Bautista annual pabasa in the early 1900s in their house along Avenida Rizal in Manila.

 

The chanting and singing of the Pasyon did not stop even during the worst times of the Japanese occupation, when Legarda’s grandparents, Jose “Pepe” Bautista and Carmen Gella Bautista, hid two sacred images over which the pabasawas sung.

 

The two life-sized images of Christ—the Scourging at the Pillarand the Crowning with Thorns—were entrusted by the Bautistas to a couple who used to live in the place where the San Lazaro Hospital presently stands.

 

Today, the two images, which are believed to be already 200 years old, are located in the Bautista ancestral home in Malabon, where the pabasa every Holy Wednesday is still being observed.

 

“Like the story of how our family has preserved a century-old tradition, many families have also their own stories on how their Lenten customs began. These stories are important details of our heritage. I hope that Filipino Catholics of the present generation will continue to honor these traditions by prioritizing the observance of these practices every Holy Week,” said Legarda.

 

 

“I also encourage non-Catholic Filipinos to preserve their respective religious practices because these are part of our heritage and culture, which are very important aspects of our identity as individuals and as a people. Even if we have different religious traditions, we have a common reason for observing these customs, which is to strengthen our faith and spirituality. Through this, we can find unity amidst diversity,” Legarda concluded.