Events

(April 2010) JEEP-knee: A Holy Week Journey in a Nutshell

by Paola Bianca Jamolin

In the Philippines, the jeepney, from the vehicular names jeep and jitney, is one of the most popular means of transportation. But on the afternoon of Maundy Thursday, in the case of the women and children of Bato, “jeepney” becomes “jeep-knee” as it was about being able to ride a jeep to Milagros town for free to be literally down on one’s knees and observe the Holy Week rituals of the Catholic Church. After their Lenten recollection, one of the women attendees suggested that they could go to Milagros together to go to Mass starting Maundy Thursday. However, most of the women and their families could not go because they say that they do not have extra money for the fare which was barely Php20 one-way. Though there was no budget for this, Sr. Maria Lourdes M. Arcenas, RSM, getting from the hard-earned income from the ukay-ukay venture or charity bazaar of ThinkActPeace Foundation (TAP), decided to hire a public utility jeepney in order for the women and their families to attend the Holy Eucharist and the traditional washing of the apostle’s feet in observance of the Holy Week. To observe such rituals was a first for almost all of the members of the group.

At around 4 o’clock in the afternoon of Maundy Thursday, the women who attended the Lenten recollection and their families assembled at Benson Peace Village (BPV) and boarded a jeepney to Milagros town proper. The jeepney would be appropriately called a “jeep-knee” for the passengers were sitting knee-to-knee, that is, the vehicle was fully packed with women and children who were very eager to attend Mass since most of them had not gone to Mass for a long time since the chapel in Bato was destroyed during a storm. After attending Mass, the jeepney with its passengers headed towards the Arcenas family home where they were served peanut butter sandwiches and cold mango juice just to satiate hunger for it was already dinner time and the people would still be going home to the sitio. Upon going back to Bato, the only words that the women were saying were that of deep gratitude—that they were able to attend the Mass and to pray during this time of the church year.

At around 7 o’clock in the morning of Good Friday, the same group of women and children gathered at the Saint Joseph Prayer House where the Stations of the Cross commenced. The fourteen stations dotted the area of Benson beach. The women and the teenage members of the group took turns in reading the Gospels, reflections and prayers for each station. At the last station, after the closing prayer, the group formed a circle and while holding hands, sung the Our Father in Masbateño and to end, the Prayer of Saint Francis, the BPV theme song.

After the Stations of the Cross, the women and children were served with hot champorado and bread. While they were having snacks, Sr. Lulu, RSM announced that she arranged another jeepney trip on the evening of Black Saturday, this time for the people to attend the Easter Vigil and the traditional Eucharist of the Light. Come Easter morning, the women and children will be coming once again to BPV to celebrate the Alleluia, the Feast of the Resurrection through a simple picnic by the beach. From the Lenten recollection to the observance of church activities, after journeying with Christ in His Passion, the women and children of Bato, and all of us, hopefully, can now truly celebrate Easter and live a new life with Christ.

In the Philippines, the jeepney, from the vehicular names jeep and jitney, is one of the most popular means of transportation. But on the afternoon of Maundy Thursday, in the case of the women and children of Bato, “jeepney” becomes “jeep-knee” as it was about being able to ride a jeep to Milagros town for free to be literally down on one’s knees and observe the Holy Week rituals of the catholic Church. After their Lenten recollection, one of the women attendees suggested that they could go to Milagros together to go to Mass starting Maundy Thursday. However, most of the women and their families could not go because they say that they do not have extra money for the fare which was barely Php20 one-way. Though there was no budget for this, Sr. Maria Lourdes M. Arcenas, RSM, getting from the hard-earned income from the ukay-ukay venture or charity bazaar of ThinkActPeace Foundation (TAP), decided to hire a public utility jeepney in order for the women and their families to attend the Holy Eucharist and the traditional washing of the apostle’s feet in observance of the Holy Week. To observe such rituals was a first for almost all of the members of the group.

                At around 4 o’clock in the afternoon of Maundy Thursday, the women who attended the Lenten recollection and their families assembled at Benson Peace Village (BPV) and boarded a jeepney to Milagros town proper. The jeepney would be appropriately called a “jeep-knee” for the passengers were sitting knee-to-knee, that is, the vehicle was fully packed with women and children who were very eager to attend Mass since most of them had not gone to Mass for a long time since the chapel in Bato was destroyed during a storm. After attending Mass, the jeepney with its passengers headed towards the Arcenas family home where they were served peanut butter sandwiches and cold mango juice just to satiate hunger for it was already dinner time and the people would still be going home to the sitio. Upon going back to Bato, the only words that the women were saying were that of deep gratitude—that they were able to attend the Mass and to pray during this time of the church year.

                At around 7 o’clock in the morning of Good Friday, the same group of women and children gathered at the Saint Joseph Prayer House where the Stations of the Cross commenced. The fourteen stations dotted the area of Benson beach. The women and the teenage members of the group took turns in reading the Gospels, reflections and prayers for each station. At the last station, after the closing prayer, the group formed a circle and while holding hands, sung the Our Father in Masbateño and to end, the Prayer of Saint Francis, the BPV theme song.

                After the Stations of the Cross, the women and children were served with hot champorado and bread. While they were having snacks, Sr. Lulu, RSM announced that she arranged another jeepney trip on the evening of Black Saturday, this time for the people to attend the Easter Vigil and the traditional Eucharist of the Light. Come Easter morning, the women and children will be coming once again to BPV to celebrate the Alleluia, the Feast of the Resurrection through a simple picnic by the beach. From the Lenten recollection to the observance of church activities, after journeying with Christ in His Passion, the women and children of Bato, and all of us, hopefully, can now truly celebrate Easter and live a new life with Christ.