As Holy Week draws near, so too does the time for Visita Iglesia.
Roman Catholics all over the Philippines will celebrate a time called Holy Week. During Holy Week, some engage in a practice of visiting several churches. Several theories on the origin of Visita Iglesia exist. However, the practice clearly came to as through the Spanish colonial era. To this day, many devout Catholics continue to practice it.
Are you a devout Catholic who has taken part in it? Maybe you’re someone who wants to deepen or renew your faith? Or maybe you’re someone who wants to experience it?
Whatever your motivation, here are some things you might need for your modern pilgrimage:
Whether you’re visiting 7 churches or 14, you need to stay hydrated. With climate change turning up the heat of summer, you need to find ways to stay cool and hydrated.
Because of this, consider bringing a water bottle with you. Besides being portable, it’s also more cost-effective than buying several bottles of water. Furthermore, you also minimize the trash you produce on your pilgrimage. After all, it’s important to keep the places you visit clean.
Following up on the point on staying cool, you’ll want to wear comfortable clothes. No matter how cool of a person you are, this weather will make you sweat. Bringing extra sets of clothes would also be wise. Ideally, bring clothes that you can stay cool in.
Don’t take this as an excuse to go to church in swimwear. Though it’s summer, you’ll still want to dress in a way that’s appropriate for church, not the beach. Don’t worry. There will be time for that. While communing with the Divine though, it’s best to practice modesty.
Umbrellas can serve two purposes. They can protect you from both the sun and rain. The weather can be fickle so it pays to be prepared. Whether it rains or it stays sunny though, an umbrella is useful either way.
While fasting this Lenten season is admirable, you should bring food with you in case of emergencies. You’ll want to keep your blood sugar steady if you want to complete your pilgrimage. Food stores and restaurants near churches might be packed with fellow pilgrims.
Prepare food beforehand and place them in food containers. Don’t forget to bring cutlery with you. Ideally, foldable. You can also bring metal straws for your drinks. Avoid bringing food containers and cutlery that’s disposable so you can minimize the amount of trash you produce.
Even if you bring a car, you might have to do some walking during your Visita Iglesia. Some churches don’t have parking spaces, forcing you to park somewhere else. That’s why it’s wise to bring a bag where you can keep your things with you.
Ideally, it should be a secure bag. Unfortunately, some people take advantage of the crowds and pickpocket or snatch from devotees. Minimize your likelihood of being a target by bringing a bag that doesn’t attract attention. Modesty does have its practical uses too.
Ideally, you should be off your mobile phone during this prayerful time. However, it’s also important to have a means of communication with your family and friends. Especially if you’re having your Visita Iglesia together. More so, if there’s suddenly an emergency.
That’s why we also recommend you bring a fully charged power bank on your pilgrimage, so you can use your phone when needed. Just don’t forget to keep it on silent when you’re inside a church. And do your best to avoid checking out social media too. It will spoil the experience.
With these things, you’re ready for your modern pilgrimage. From here, it’s just a matter of plotting your course and putting yourself in a prayerful state of mind. Stay cool and safe this solemn season.