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Philippines

When history repeats itself

The last time Holy Week was canceled, the Philippines was fighting a different kind of war

When history repeats itself

Priests celebrate Palm Sunday in Sorsogon Diocese, south of Manila on April 5. (Photo courtesy of Father Treb Futol)

The last time the Philippines had no public celebration of Holy Week was during World War II.

On Dec 8, 1941, the Philippines was attacked by Japanese imperial forces a few hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. During the Japanese occupation, many churches in the archipelago became garrisons and military barracks.

Any form of public worship was banned because religious gatherings were treated as “occasions” to overthrow the Japanese imperial government. Japan considered all Asian lands and whatever was built on Asian soil property of the imperial government and the emperor himself.

But neither the Japanese occupation nor the war prevented the Filipino people from practicing their faith.

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