TAYTAY, Rizal, March 25, 2012—TheBasic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) of St. John the Baptist Parish in Taytay once again staged its annual Lenten Station of the Cross with a “human Cross” echoing Pope Benedict XVI’s Lenten message that urges “love of others and good works” in reference to Hebrews 10:24.The second time in a row, the parish BEC’s Lenten activity was launched last year as a reaction against the culture of death being espoused by the RH Bill pending in the lower and upper House of Congress.Prominently held in the front row of the human cross was the banner imprinted with “Tutulan ang RH Bill, Pag-ibig sa kapwa at mabubuting gawa” (Oppose RH Bill, Love others and do good works).
Penitents carried the sentimental “Jubilee Cross,” a big wooden cross used by the parishioners during the Church Jubilee year 2000 celebrations and the image of Divine Mercy and of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of the Philippines and the unborn children.
The fourteen Stations of the Cross reflected the moral and values issues confronting society today, encouraging understanding of the constant teachings of the Church on morality, human dignity and sanctity of life, family and marriage.
The prayerful response, in the first station for instance, asked for sharing of oneself to others as exemplified by the Lord’s sacrificial love of others. The 12th Station delved on life being at the very core of Christian faith, that no man or government must rip asunder while the 13th Station reiterated the Church’s undaunted stand in choosing life and rejecting the RH Bill.
At 3 p.m. a group of penitents gathered at the town’s Kalayaan Park and prayed the chaplet of Divine Mercy as a prelude to the Station of the Cross. BECs from barrios, sitios and subdivisions simultaneously started from first to eight Stations. They converged at 4 p.m. at the park timed for the ninth Station.
The participants, in solemn procession resounded the “Pananagutan” song as they continued with the Stations along the half-kilometer route in the main avenue toward the Church, bearing placards that cried out loud with the messages of each Station.
The salvific meaning of sacrifice is revealed at the Cross where our Lady stands venerated at the 11th Station being the Mother of Life, who cares for us like her Son from her womb to the tomb. The Divine Mercy is adored in the 14th Station as the Risen Christ, the Redeemer, who pours Himself out in selfless love.
The “human Cross” was formed in front of the church at around 5:20 p.m. in the 14th Station. When the Gospel reading pronounced that “Christ is risen” the “Jubilee Cross” was erected at the center of the “human Cross.”
A “dove,” an image of the Holy Spirit, was also formed to the left of the “Human Cross.” Paper slips written with penitents’ petitions and messages were burned as “holocaust” by Bro. Nelson Cruz, the Parish Pastoral Council Coordinator, as everyone sang “All to Jesus I Surrender.”
Bro. Nelson led the recital of the Apostle’s Creed. Penitents were greeted by the singing of “Lord I Lift Your Name on High” as they were welcome to the celebration of the Eucharist until 7 p.m.
The parish “human Cross” was distinctive in its four-hour of pro-Life, Evangelical and Catechetical initiative of the faithful in the public arena.
St. John the Baptist BECs’ Lenten activity now claims as the fourth biggest in the world with about 700 participants last year and this year.
Third place is held by “Oslo, Norway Red Cross” in May 2010 with 935 participants; Effingham, Illinois, USA “9/11 Anniversary” in September 2011 is second with 2,000 participants.
The distinction of the biggest human cross in history as declared by the Guinness World Records is held by Manila’s University of Sto. Tomas in March 2011, with its “Ash Wednesday Dominican Cross”, that had 24,000 participants. (Ding Fernandez)