‘Lenten questions’ Catholic clergy must explain
A few days ago, while I was on my daily morning walk around our subdivision—a daily exercise I have been doing for practically half of my life except on Sunday—I met a group of fellow subdivision residents while they were on their “cruzada.” Nowadays this is a common yearly Catholic ritual in which the participants move daily from house to house, in a seeming procession, while carrying a large cross and image of the Virgin Mary, and reciting the Rosary. Each day they leave both images overnight in one house, then transfer them to another house the following day.
One of the regular participants happens to be a close neighbor of mine, so the next time I saw her as she was watering her plants, I lost no time to ask: “How long does the cruzada last?” She answered: “This year, we began on March 1, Ash Wednesday; we are doing it daily for 40 days, or until Easter Sunday.”
She readily confused me, knowing full well—and pointing out to her—that this year’s Easter Sunday falls on April 16 while the 40th day, counting from March 1, falls on April 9 which the Philippines celebrates as Araw ng Kagitingan. Realizing the naked truth in what I said, she remarked, likewise very deeply confused: “But our parish priest says that 40 days from Ash Wednesday is Easter Sunday! Isn’t the calendar wrong?”
Actually, the Church and the calendar are both correct. It is simply that in counting, the Church does not include Sunday, the Roman Catholic Sabbath Day or the seventh day of the week on which God rested after creating the universe. The Church perhaps considers the Sabbath Day to be so holy as to deserve a truly special treatment even in the reckoning of certain memorable events in the Church calendar. Of course, this is only my best personal opinion; the Church should know better.
That said, I am not sure if all priests realize this. But whether they do or not is not really the point I wish to drive here. The point is, the clergy is never known to explain things like these to the laity, in turn unnecessarily and endlessly confusing the latter. Methinks this leaves very much to be desired.
To cut this rather long story short, allow me to cite a few other examples, each one referring to the Stations of the Cross, one other popular ritual among Catholics come Lent: Will our bishops and parish priests please explain these to us?
In some churches there are 15 stations of the cross while in most others there are only 14? In some churches Jesus falls down three times as he carries the Cross, in others only once. And there are churches that display two different and separate sets or versions of the Stations of the Cross; one is much bigger and more conspicuous than the other. I believe all these need clarifications before the oftentimes ignorant though blindly following public.
Before some readers get me wrong, let me close by categorically stating that I am a Roman Catholic, although not of the “sarado” type that most others proudly say they are.
RUDY L. CORONEL, firstname.lastname@example.org