You see, I've used to attend dawn rosary or dawn novena when special feasts come, but it's my first time to attend a way of the cross held at dawn.
Cebuanos have their unique way of showing the intensity of their devotion.
It's a little difficult on our part since we hit the sack last night some minutes before midnight. Let me tell you why. But first, let me introduce it with a backgrounder.
Here in the Philippines, particularly in the Archdiocese of Cebu (As of this writing, this archdiocese has not been replaced with the name "Malacañang," as recently reported in the national and local press) where the intensity of religious devotion is still strong, one highlight of the Holy Week is the visita iglesias (roughly translated from Spanish: visit to the churches). It is a pilgrimage to various churches which the pilgrims intend to pray the Stations of the Cross at each stop.
In keeping with this Philippine Christian tradition, Br. Dominggus (an Indonesian), Noble (a Pakistani) and I (a proud Filipino!) visited some nearby churches on bike.
Both of them were able to visit four churches, while I managed only to visit three. After biking more than six kilometers (my modest estimation), my legs were aching and I was already exhausted. And so, I decided to head straight back to the seminary while the two of them pedaled nonetheless to the next church.
Going back to Good Friday, we woke up at 4.30 in the morning. Actually, I was tempted not to go, but since it is Good Friday, I forced myself to rise up. In fact, I arrived at the Chapel ahead of them both. By 5 AM, I was able to make it at the DBFC chapel. It was filled already with people; hence, we did not have any choice but to stay outside and wait for the "procession" to begin.
The sleep-deprived Fr. Randy Figuracio, SDB presided. I failed to ask him what time he finished hearing confessions, but I heard that confessions last night were until 12 midnight.
After the procession, we had to wait for sometime since breakfast was not yet available. Danggit (dried small fish) and spicy tuna were served together with steamed rice. This breakfast set was all set to ruin my fasting, until I told myself that I needed to get rid of some fats, and therefore, I needed to fast at all cost. My stomach seemed to understand. Miraculously, it stopped complaining.
Our front has been filled with tons of dried leaves since Kuya Tolits has not been around for two days now.
After taking a quick breakfast, I asked Br. Dominggus if I could sweep the dried leaves instead of cleaning the lavatory. He did not only allow me, he even joined me. Some Knights of the Altar (KOA) members who were bumming around in the kiosk, upon seeing the two of us sweeping the leaves miserably seemed to have gotten the signal: they asked us for some broomstick. I did not let them finish their sentence and went excitedly to the garage in which broomsticks are kept. I returned with seven broomsticks, these were all occupied until 10:30. By the way, we started cleaning at 7:30.
unfinished cleaning, the lawn was beckoning again with dried leaves scattered all over.
In the afternoon, we had the Veneration of the Holy Cross. Fr. Fidel Orendain, SDB led the service. The other priests joined him, save for Fr. Mel. Noble and I were the main servers. I was also tasked by Fr. Wilbert to be the commentator. The rite was simple, yet it’s confusing. And for me not to confuse the people, I decided to arm myself with a guide.
Thankfully, no major faux pas happened. Except for the technical problems, everything went well.