Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 15, 2002
Sorrowful Mary meets risen Jesus
By ANITA TOLENTINO
Special to WCR
About 1,500 Filipino Catholics filled St. Theresa's Catholic Church Sunday, March 31 to attend Simbang Filipino (Filipino Easter Mass), which was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Nazareno Council 12904.
The paschal celebration began with Salubong, the meeting of sorrowful and grieving Mary and the risen Jesus Christ, which is an old Easter tradition in the Philippines. This particular tradition, although non-biblical was handed down to devoted Catholics by the Spaniards who spread Christianity and ruled the Philippines for more than 300 years.
According to Father Nestor Watin, pastor of Camrose, this practice evolved to give colour and flavour to the meaning of the resurrection of Jesus. At the church a group of women lead a procession carrying the Blessed Virgin statue covered with a black veil and on the other side of the church the Nazareno Columbian Squires carried the statue of the risen Jesus.
The two groups met at the front of the altar (the act of Salubong) where a character angel unveiled Mary thus exposing another white veil, which was underneath the black veil. The black veil signifies the sorrow and grief over Jesus' suffering and death and the white veil symbolizes the glorious resurrection of Jesus.
This dramatization normally happens early Easter morning in the Philippines but was re-enacted at St. Theresa's before the Easter Mass began. The highlight of this Salubong was the singing of Alleluia, Give Thanks to the Risen Lord by very young and small girls dressed like angels.
In his homily, Father Rene Realuyo of St. Theresa's Parish talked about some of the traditions that are observed and practised by the Filipinos but with little depth and meaningfulness.
"Devotional practices should have deeper meaning, than just going through gestures," he said. With humour, he cited some bad practices like chatting and visiting with one another during a procession, being too dramatic and dwelling too much on the sad experiences of life and also being insensitive to newcomers or new immigrants.
Realuyo said Filipinos should not lose their sense of warmth and hospitality which are a given in the Philippines.