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In Payatas, the Church helps widows and orphans pick up the pieces

The women are all business inside a tailoring shop a stone’s throw from Ina ng Lupang Pangako church in Payatas, Quezon City.  They work on fabrics and sewing machines to produce bags of all shapes and sizes—totes, “ecobags,” shoe bags, envelope bags, lunch bags, laundry bags. For six days of work a week, they take...


Amid tensions, Jerusalem celebrates the King of Peace

While the Crucified Christ and the Risen Lord are the most dominant images of Jesus during Holy Week and the Easter Season (which runs until May 28, Pentecost Sunday), another image is that of the King of Peace entering Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt. Christians remember it as the Palm Sunday to start Holy Week.  The...


It’s OK to lament, ‘My God, my God, why have you abandoned me!’

Minutes before he died on the cross, Jesus cried out in a loud voice: “Eli, Eli, la’ma sabach-tha’ni?”—“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me!” (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34). This lament, considered Jesus’ fourth last word before he died, is one of the Seven Last Words, compiled from the passion and death narratives of...


‘Pasyon’ and ‘Semana Santa’ when I was young

AVERNES, France—When I moved to France in 2005, I didn’t expect anything closely resembling the practices of the Semana Santa of my childhood in the Philippines. But without fail, every year in March or April, as though set off by an internal spiritual clock, I hear familiar strains of pasyon in my head.  Once, my...


Our Lady is our mother for always

Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, is a special nonworking holiday nationwide by virtue of Republic Act. No. 10966. The law calls Our Lady “the principal patroness of the Philippines,” but more than that, she is the “mother” of millions of Filipinos who look to her as the fount of love...


Tagle as papal contender? Here are the pros and cons

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the former archbishop of Manila, may be the strongest papal contender if Pope Francis resigns, like Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI did. But certain factors may affect his chances of getting elected in the next conclave. One factor is Tagle’s perceived closeness to Pope Francis, who appointed him in 2019 to head...