April 11, 2017 – St. Peregrine Laziosi Diocesan Shrine ~ Seven buses loaded with pilgrims took part in the annual Visita Iglesia as part of the St. Peregrine Laziosi Parish’s Lenten observance and activities. This year’s Visita Iglesia happened April 10, 2017, Holy Monday and took the pilgrims to 7 churches in the Diocese of Iba in Zambales. On the itinerary were churches in the Parishes of Castillejos, San Narciso, San Marcelino, Cabangan, Botolan, San Felipe and Iba where the Cathedral of St. Augustine is situated.
The Seven Churches Visitation or Visita Iglesia is a pious Roman Catholic Lenten tradition to visit seven churches on the evening of Holy Thursday and probably originated in Rome as early pilgrims visited the seven basilicas as penance. In the Philippines, the general practise is to visit seven churches either on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday and recite the Stations of the Cross. The pious and able would double the number of churches to fourteen, while the infirm and elderly usually visit only one or a handful. Traditionally, all of the 14 stations of the cross were recited in every church, but the more recent form is to pray two stations per church.
Accompanied by the Parish Administrator, Rev Fr Leonard Ma. Guiang, OSM and Rev Fr Zacarias Ma. Tampus, OSM, the convoy of 7 buses departed for Zambales at 3 in the morning and arriving 4 hours later, the Holy Mass was celebrated at the first station. Pre-ordered packed lunches were provided to the pilgrims on the grounds of the Cathedral of Iba. At the conclusion of the Visita Iglesia, the pilgrims had a chance to sample the sweet mangoes that the province of Zambales is famous for.
It is hoped for that this year’s Visita Iglesia not only warmed the hearts of those who took part in it but also strengthened their faith in God through reflections on the Lord’s Passion and of the Way of the Cross.