For many people, the Holy Week means a lot of different things—from vacation to visiting churches. While I don’t observe the holidays in the traditional manner, I still opt to keep away from merry socials. This year though I did something different from past few year’s Visita Iglesia.
This year, I was only able to visit one church which I had not been to in more than 10 years! The church is The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes located in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan.
The trip had improved vastly since the time when me and my mom used to go here. Back then roads were very narrow and quite dusty, and you have no alternative public transport but those old, rusty, non-air-conditioned buses. Nowadays, the roads are wide, air-conditioned buses are easily available, San Jose del Monte is now a city, and development is found everywhere you look. One thing that barely changed though was the church—to this day it still remains unfinished.
The church is a replica of the Lourdes Grotto in France and its construction is funded exclusively by donations that’s why it’s taking such a painfully slow pace. In a way this church is like our own Sagrada Familia.
Aside from the church, the compound is famous for its spring waters that is said to be miraculous, and its life-size sculptures of the Stations of the Cross. It does involve quite some effort as these stations are located on top of hills.
Remember how the world seemed much bigger when you were little? That’s exactly how I felt with this trip. I used to feel like this church was so far, the church much bigger, and the Stations of the Cross much longer. Now that I’ve grown and expanded my definition of walking distance, everything seemed smaller and shorter. Still, that feeling of nostalgia you have after returning to a place you’ve not been to in more than a decade is just surreal.
I may not have had the distance or the number of churches of the Visita Iglesia I used to have, but I consider this trip quite meaningful. I hope you too had a meaningful Lenten season, however you chose to spend it.