MANILA—An official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines-Public Affairs Committee (CBCP-PAC) reminded the faithful who will be visiting churches on Maundy Thursday for the Visita Iglesia to refrain from taking pictures while praying in order to preserve the solemnity of the religious activity.
Fr. Jerome Secillano, CBCP-PAC Executive Secretary noted that the public should pray first after that they can take all the pictures, selfies or groupies they want.
“Ang masama dyan ganito. Kung halimbawa nagdadasal ka, nagte-take pictures ka rin, nakaluhod ka pero pinipikturan mo. Tapos nagse-selfie ka. ‘Yun ang hindi dapat, dapat magdasal ka, you have to pray first. You pray first,” he said.
The priest of the Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro Parish in Sampaloc, Manila admitted that many people now want the world or the people close to them to know what they are doing at work or during leisure time by posting them on social media.
“Well I don’t see anything wrong with that, na mag-post ka…Kung mag post naman sila ng kanilang picture ng pagbi-Visita Iglesia, nakapag dasal naman siguro ng maayos yan, masinsinan naman yung pakikipag usap nila sa Diyos, so be it. Even if they post pictures,” he said.
The Manila priest added that Visita Iglesia or going to different churches is not an obligation.
“Hindi, it’s not an obligation na mag Bisita Iglesia. Alam mo kung bakit nagkakaroon yan ng parang, ay hindi ako nakapag Bisita Iglesia? Alam mo yung bandwagon effect, na akala natin kapag maraming gumagawa, required siya, at kapag hindi ka nakagawa, masama ‘yun. I mean, hindi ganun yun eh, so yung bandwagon effect, mahilig tayo sa ganyan eh. Porque’t maraming gumagawa nyan, nag Simbang Gabi, hindi ka nakapag Simbang Gabi, ay hindi ako nakapag Simbang Gabi, parang masama ka. Parang hindi ka in. Wala yun,” he explained.
Secillano also sees nothing wrong if the faithful will go out with friends since it would be good to have companions, but stressed that they should not forget to pray.
“Okay lang ‘yun na magsama sama ‘yung mga magbabarkada, pero magdasal kayo. Kasi hindi naman, ako, hindi naman, solo ka, nagpupunta ka dun. Maganda rin yung masaya, may mga kasama ka,” he added.
The Visita Iglesia is part of the Christians’ observation of the Holy Week where people visit different churches and pray the 14 Stations of the Cross with the stations divided amongst the churches.