27 March 2024

Wagga's Filipino community to lead a walk through the Stations of the Cross during Easter Holy Week

| Chris Roe
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Filipino Community of Wagga’s Annabelle Borja and the Dean of St Michael’s Cathedral, Fr Sean Byrnes. Photo: Chris Roe.

For the first time, Wagga’s Filipino community will walk the Stations of the Cross at Wagga’s St Michael’s Cathedral to commemorate the passion and death of Jesus Christ at Easter.

Annabelle Borja is the president of the Filipino Community of Wagga and said it is an important tradition that she looked forward to sharing with the Wagga church.

“It’s one way for us to relive the kind of traditions and the way we celebrate Holy Week back in the Philippines,” she explained.

“We want to introduce some of these traditions to our fellow community and share with the non-Filipino community also how we commemorate the Passion, death and resurrection.”

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Contrary to popular belief, the week of Easter, not Christmas, is the most important holiday in the Christian calendar.

Holy Week is considered a time of reflection that spans from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, mirroring the final eight days of Jesus’ life.

The Stations of the Cross is usually performed on Good Friday as participants progress through 14 scenes leading up to the crucifixion and death of Jesus.

In the Philippines, worshippers dress in colourful costumes and actors will perform dramatic reenactments at the stations.

“With our Catholic faith, it’s more than just attending masses, there are activities like this through the whole of Holy Week where we really feel the faith,” Annabelle explained.

“It could be done in reenactment like this and we also have a tradition where we sing the narration of the Passion of Christ for 24 hours from Thursday until Friday.”

Catholic devotees in the Philippines wear costumes and re-enact the Passion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday during Holy Week.

Catholic devotees in the Philippines wear costumes and reenact the Passion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday during Holy Week. Photo: junpinzon.

The Dean of St Michael’s Cathedral, Fr Sean Byrnes, said that while the tradition was a familiar part of Lent, the performances and procession were less common.

“When Annabelle came to me with this idea of doing a Stations of the Cross where we actually act this out, I thought – that’s a profound thing to do that actually brings to life some of that drama and asks – who am I in this scene?” he said.

“It’s a way of actually putting yourself inside of a scene and asking questions and I think that’s a brilliant way to enter into the journey of the cross.”

He hoped that it would be a reflective experience for those participating.

“I hope that there is a sense of – this is how much Jesus loves me. And if that’s how much he loves me, then who am I, and who am I meant to be?”

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For this inaugural Filipino Stations of the Cross event, the congregation will make their way around the cathedral from front to back with performances and participation throughout.

“We would just love people to come down and join us,” said Annabelle.

“We have had the help of the Missionaries of Charity, St Michael’s Cathedral and Holy Trinity Parish who have lent us the cross.

“It’s hosted by the Filipino, but we have participation from Australians, from the Indian community and from many different people, so it is for everybody.”

The Stations of the Cross will begin at 6 pm tonight (Wednesday 27 March) at St Michael’s Cathedral on Church St.

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