I’ve been doing Visita Iglesia yearly with my son but this is the first time that we did 14 churches…
Fortunately, I was somehow feeling well but to be safe, we did bring my wheelchair in case I have to use it…
And so last Maundy Thursday, April 21, at about 6:30am, off we start our Visita Iglesia journey… I was with my son Marc, my brother Ferdie and Mang Caloy, the owner of the van that we rented for this purpose…
Our first stop was “Holy Family Parish Church at BF Homes Almanza, which is just across our village…
Our next stop is St. Pio of Petrelcina Chapel located at 188 RER Compound, E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue (C-5) Road) Bagungbayan Libis QC. So, from Zapote Road Alabang, we took the South Luzon Expressway and using the C-5 road. At that time, travel was a breeze and we reached the place at around quarter to 8am.
I already heard so much about this chapel from my mother… she told me to hear mass there if I can able to do so. She said that after mass, at the right side of the altar is Padre Pio’s statue where devotees can fall in line and pray in front of him. I’ve read people say that they felt a real hand while they were holding Padre Pio’s statue. And that it also felt he was gently squeezing their hands too! You will also feel a certain positive aura when you look on his face..
It was just unfortunate that I wasn’t able to go to that area… but I know that there will always be a second visit and I hope it will be that soon!!!
(photo by Catholicpilgrim.blogspot.com)
and there’s also a line where people can avail of the oil… and this oil is being massaged to the body area where you need it.
There’s also an area inside the chapel, at the right wall, where plaques of testimonial are hang given by those whose prayers were answered, medical conditions that were already healed by St. Pio and many other circumstances…
For the Holy Week activity, the Station of the Cross was set in one of the parking areas. Crosses are also available right before the entrance as well as a copy of the Way of the cross..
It is also only in this chapel that I was able to see a “15th station”…
When I was planning our Visita Iglesia, I came across in one of my The Way of the Cross booklet about the 15th Station and it says…
“A “fifteenth station” is added, since the Passion of Christ is meaningless unless the Resurrection is kept in mind. Passion, Death and Resurrection is the new Passover, from the death of sin to the life of freedom in love. This “fifteenth station” should be done before the Resurrected Christ in tabernacle.”…
There is a small chapel at the back and I think it is called The St. Francis Chapel and it is here where I saw the sign of the 15th station… I just got this pic from the internet because I wasn’t able to take a shot inside.. from kathmadula.com so that you will have an idea how the place looks like…
Upon entering the area, I experienced goosebumps right away…my body was slightly shaking and tears were suddenly coming out from my eyes. I had to literally compose myself because I was afraid that I might faint right there and there. I am not exaggerating… I just want to share what I felt at the time. The place was so serene, so solemn as if you were being transported in another time and place. It is a place where you really can reflect and pray.
There was an intention box at the front . Unfortunately again, I had no paper with me that time and so I said my intentions personally to him.
An area at the back side of the chapel is a place where you can light candles. You just have to look for unlit candles. Prayers of St. Francis and St. Pio are hang on the wall for devotees to recite and pray. Love offering boxes are available there.
This chapel is really worth visiting and I definitely suggest you find the time to hear mass here or simply just visit the place. You will not regret spending your time in here.
Nearing 9am, we were off to Bel’ place, a close friend of mine for a stopover. She prepared breakfast for us… her daughter-in-law “Chef” Irene cooked a sumptuous pancit for all of us to devour.
After eating, Bel, her son Kylie (almost the same age with my son Marc), Irene and daughter Jesmine joined us on our third leg of the journey, which is the Monasterio of Santa Clara at Katipunan Road.
It’s been a while since I paid a visit to Sta. Clara. I think its been years already and it was one of those churches that I chose to pray my intentions at the time that I was diagnosed to have breast cancer. And so I really made sure that it is included in our itinerary.
Next stop… Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Joseph situated at Aurora Boulevard.
This church is also one of the few that is really close to my heart.
For our 5th Station of the Cross… Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Church located at Corner Legaspi and Camerino Sts. Project 4.
After joining us visiting the last three churches, the kids were brought back to their place but Bel still did the journey with us.
It was already past eleven and we are now plying the route going to Manila specifically Mendiola with St. Jude in mind.
The street was closed, with barbed wires all over and so we had to park right there at the entrance, just across Recto.
It is at this point that I had to use my “secret weapon” …a wheelchair… to possibly reach the place. It was kinda long road.
And before reaching St. Jude, we saw a church beside San Beda College, Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat, making it our 6th Station…
At the end of the road, we reached National Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus at 1420 J. P. Laurel St. San Miguel, Manila. It was actually my first visit at this church.
We’re half-way through now…and so for our 8th station…destination is of course the famous Quiapo Church also known as Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene . We took Claro M. Recto and upon reaching the bridge, turned right to look for a U-turn slot. It took almost an eternity finding one, they call it the rotonda, passing along the University of Sto. Thomas belt before reaching Plaza Miranda along Quezon Boulevard.
Next target was supposed to be the Binondo Church but we end up at Plaza Lacson where Sta. Cruz Church was so we made it our 9th station.
Paying parking fee at some destinations was inevitable but we got the shocked of our lives when we were asked for P40 for a less than 10-minute stay at the area!!! We got used to paying P20 or even P10 for that matter at the areas before that Sta. Cruz event…
Next stop… Binondo Church, also known as a Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz which was at Manila’s Chinatown at the western end of Ongpin.
our 10th station of the cross…
and right outside the church are the now becoming famous “lavander” fire trucks of the Binondo District…
It was almost past two and so we decided to have our lunch at the area. Ongpin road was teeming with people. There was even an area where your blood pressure can be taken, with drinking water, all for free. We even dropped-by at the well-known food store Eng Bee Tin for our hopia and other delicacies stuff. It was a first for me to do shopping there.
After getting our stomachs full, the most likely place to go after of course is Manila Cathedral at Intramuros and as expected was full of people.
When you are already in Intramuros, it is only logical that you get to visit the San Agustin Church but when my brother said that it will be a long walk from Cathedral Church, I opted to forego with it. I was getting tired already and I don’t think I can go through with it. And so off to our next station… at Villamor Air Base at Pasay City for the Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus.
It was kinda long drive passing Roxas Boulevard and somehow gave us that needed rest to gain some strength… and while coasting along did some shots
Since we’re taking the route of Roxas Boulevard, again it was logical for us to include Baclaran Church in our list but since we felt it will be hard for us to find a U-turn slot again, we opted to delete it in our list.
St. Therese is my favorite saint and the one closest to my heart.
The church even has a columbarium and if given the chance, I really want to be laid there someday…
My last visit was years ago and it really surprised me so much to see how improved the area is now… what with all those high-rising buildings and hotel within the vicinity.
Two down to go and we’re done with our Visita Iglesia . Taking South Luzon Expressway that afternoon was still a breeze… a very smooth drive.. ending up at Alabang Town Center for our 11th station, St. Jerome Emiliani Church.
It is also at this point that we took a break, have a bite and the needed refreshments…
Can you see me? That was me, in my silhouette form ha ha…
After the eating and the drinking, back to our place for our last stop, Our Lady of the Pillar Church at Pilar Village of course.
On a recap, we visited 14 churches, really a first for me…
1. Holy Family Parish Church - BF Homes Almanza
2. St. Pio of Pietrelcina Chapel - Libis QC
3. Monasterio de Santa Clara - Katipunan QC
4. St. Joseph - Aurora Blvd. Project 3 QC
5. Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Parish - Project 4 QC
6. Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat - Mendiola, Manila
7. St. Jude - Mendiola, Manila
8. Quiapo Church - Plaza Miranda along Quezon Blvd, Manila
9. Sta. Cruz Church - Plaza Lacson, Manila
10. Binondo Church - Chinatown and Ongpin
11. Manila Cathedral - Intramuros, Manila
12. Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus - Villamor Airbase, Pasay City
13. St. Jerome Emiliani Church - Alabang Town Center
14. Our Lady of the Pillar Church - Pilar Village, Las Pinas City
Note: Sorry if the pictures here are not that of good quality. My digicam wasn’t working that well at that time and so I had to resort to using my “cheap” celfone. Anyway, I am still thankful for these memories that I want to share them and my experiences with all of you…
It was a long day and quite tiring for me… and again I consider it another “Miracle Day” for me!!! I was given the opportunity to do my yearly thing of Visita Iglesia. I was not scheduled to do my 3rd chemo, which should have fallen on Holy Wednesday if my doctors were to follow the 3-week chemo cycle.
And I thank the Lord Almighty God for this blessing and I give back the glory to Him!!!