Two years ago, I went on a solo visit of churches. This year, I opted to go round a similar route. However, instead of dropping by while the sun was still high in the sky, I decided that I wanted to start my annual pilgrimage to churches by hearing the celebration of the Mass of the Lord's Supper and witnessing the ceremonial feet washing. This turned out to be a great way to set the mood as I started my evening Visita Iglesia.
And just like in 2012, I visited five churches near my house instead of seven. Three of them are my favorite churches to go to because they seem so far away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. One of the five churches, I visited for the first time. The other one... It's becoming one of my go-to churches too.
Diocesan Shrine of Mary Help of Christians, Don Bosco Seminary
As a child, I have never felt intimidated going to this church... somehow, this church has a warm welcome to kids. It reminds me of Church Among the Palms, where I had spent my formative years in as a student of Christian School International. My dad used to bring me and my siblings to the Don Bosco campus during summer holidays when we were younger, other than to attend the Mass. We watched football training there. I watched my very first rock concert with friends (it was the Eraserheads concert back in freshman year high school, I think) there too.
Anyway, this church has always been one of the places I visit when I go church-hopping on my own because it has an atmosphere that allows me to stop, quiet down, and reflect... things that are quite impossible to do in churches near the highway.
In this year's Visita Iglesia, this is my first stop and where I listened to the Holy Mass celebrated by Salesian priests.
St Joseph the Worker Parish
The church that is shaped like a barn. This parish is found right beside the Old Canlubang Golf Course, so just imagine the rustic and peaceful feel of the church during the day. It's been a while since I last drop by this church in the evening but the charm was still very much visible, in person. Inside, the church-goers were all quiet because the Blessed Sacrament was already on the Altar of Repose.
St Lorenzo Ruiz Parish
Balibago, Santa Rosa
As evidence of how much planning (or or lack of) I really had for this year's Visita Iglesia, I found this church via Google Maps. I was surprised to see that this church's architecture is not as elaborate as the other churches I have seen. Strip a church building down to its basics and we get this: a humble structure that serves as a reminder (to me) that there are essentials and there are extras. This is the same experience I got when I visited the St Alphonsus Mary de Liguori Parish eight years ago.
Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish
Laguna Bel Air, Santa Rosa
The full moon was up by the time I arrived in this church. The church architecture reminds me of the Roman Catholic churches in UP Los Banos and UP Diliman... even of the one at the Ateneo de Manila University Loyola campus. The large cross served as a beacon for people looking for the nth church to visit. Along with me were other pilgrims who had waited until the weather cooled before venturing out.
St John Bosco Parish
Laguna Technopark, Santa Rosa
Laguna Technopark, Santa Rosa
I started and ended my annual Maundy Thursday pilgrimage, once again, at a church dedicated to St John Bosco. The Stations of the Cross were situated outside, under trees lit up by numerous lanterns. Just like the seminary in Canlubang, this church feels like a kid-friendly place... The Salesians are keeping true to its order's mission of catering to children, I guess.
Another pilgrimage completed. Unlike in 2012, when I ended up in a vulcanizing shop, this year's Visita Iglesia was pretty much uneventful. Looking forward to next year!