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Online church a hit ahead of Holy Week

Website caters for OFWs and those unable to get to a church during this holy time

Online church a hit ahead of Holy Week
The Visita Iglesia website
Julian Labores and Lourdes Abelardo, Manila
Philippines

April 15, 2011

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With just one week to go before Holy Week, the Catholic Church's online Visita Iglesia (church visit) for this year has already attracted more than 13,000 faithful. A counter on the CBCP's Visita Iglesia site showed at least 13,431 had visited it as of Friday morning. The site, launched April 1 to cater mainly to Filipinos abroad or those who cannot physically observe the tradition of visiting churches during the Holy Week, has more features from last year's Visita Iglesia site. Meanwhile, petitions and thanksgiving letters may now be sent to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help – popularly known as Baclaran Church – via electronic mail. Father Victorino Cueto, the Shrine rector, said this is to accommodate people who cannot go to Baclaran in Paranaque City, such as those in the provinces or abroad. “The emails we get usually come from Filipinos in other countries like the US and Korea, plus those in the provinces who cannot come here,” he said in an interview. Since they started this system four or five years ago, Father Cueto said, the average number of petitions that they receive weekly, both online and handwritten, ranges from 2,500 to 2,800, plus 1,200-1,500 letters of thanksgiving. He said they expect to receive more letters from the faithful, especially during Holy Week. “Usually there are more letters every first Wednesday of the month, Holy Week, and Ash Wednesday,” said Cueto. Asked what is the usual prayer of the petitioners, he said most of the letters are about wanting to pass an exam, to go abroad, be cured from sickness, to have a lifetime partner, gift of a child, or financial help. PM13985.1649
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