The first big day of Holy Week is Palm Sunday, the day that we commemorate Jesus entering into Jerusalem. There are a few different ways in which a community can celebrate the beginning of Mass on Palm Sunday but they all begin with the blessing of palms.
As Catholics enter the church or gather around the back of the church everyone is given a palm (either before or after the blessing). As we gather and listen to one of two Gospels that we will hear at Mass that day we are not just remembering what happen almost 2,000 years ago but rather we are bringing the past into the present.
It is a special way of recalling past events with the help of signs, symbols, gestures, and our own imaginations. Many people use this special type of memory every year also as they celebrate Passover.
We believe that if only one person needed to be saved that God’s love for that one person would be so strong that He would have endured the cross for that one person. Have you sinned? Then you are responsible for Christ’s death on the Cross. The Good News is that Jesus came to save us and not to condemn us. While the reading of the Passion takes us all the way up to the death of Christ and his burial in the tomb, Holy Week has really just begun.
In anticipation of the influx of travelers this Holy Week, the Philippine Red Cross activated its Holy Week Safety Assistance operations last March 27.
PRC Chairman Richard J. Gordon said this is to ensure immediate response should any emergency arise while people travel to the provinces and visit churches in observance of the Holy Week.
“In observance of the Holy Week, we expect increased people mobility in places of worship, recreational areas, ports and terminals with traffic congestions on major roads and highways, we want to ensure the safety of the general public by setting set-up first aid stations, ambulance services and welfare desks in areas where people are likely to converge. We want to ensure that help will be readily available should any need arises,” he said.
Gordon said the PRC set up First Aid stations and Welfare Desks, as well as deploy volunteers and ambulances in public areas.
He added terminals and ports are very strategic areas as huge volumes of people go through these areas during the start of Holy Week, Gordon added. Such places are: Alimall bus terminal, and Batangas pier.
Gordon said, the Red Cross also mobilized ambulances and volunteers along with the First Aid stations and Welfare desks in gasoline stations, highways, major roads, churches, parks, and other major crowded areas to offer motorist assistance and emergency response readily on standby.
Meanwhile, PRC Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang advised everyone to keep safe and be wary of accidents.
Pang also instructed the Red Cross chapters to coordinate with local authorities for the duration of the operation which is from March 27 to April 6, 2015.
“Prepare First Aid kits with enough supplies and equipment in advance. Tasking shall be made to ensure systematic provision of assistance,” she also instructed.
In case of emergency, the Red Cross numbers are readily available for anyone to contact:
Emergency number: dial 143
Direct line: 524-5787
Trunk line: 527-0000 Loc 117