Friday, March 21, 2008

Lucban: Holy Week Destination for 2008

This lenten season, PinoyExplorer observed the holy week thru its simple mean and join the rest of the world commemorating the sacrifices, death and resurrection of the Lord. I have been to Visita Iglesia in the provinces of Quezon, Cavite and Batangas and joined the good friday procession in San Pablo, Laguna. With me are my in-laws, their relatives and family and together, we visit old and monumental churches in the south. But what strikes me most among the places I've visited this "Cuaresma" is the province of Lucban, Quezon. Here's why.

As we drive the Southern Tagalog region this holy week, I have witnessed the long stretch traffic when we reach barangay Tinamnan in Lucban. The heat of the sun is so intense that no one in our convoy wants to go out and try to find out the reason behind. Then I remember, it was two years ago when I accidentally seen this place during my coverage of Pahiyas fiesta, construction and improvement of the facility is underway then after two years here I am again to this newly found holy place and a Mecca in the making for all believers or non believers of the catholic faith. I am talking about the "Kamay ni Jesus" shrine and grotto.

Via Dolorosa Grotto, also known as Kamay ni Jesus is a religious shrine and grotto is located in Barangay Tinamnan, Lucban, Quezon approximately 118 kilometers and 3.5 hours drive south of Manila.

Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross) is now the newly found religious center in the Calabarzon and a regular venue for religious rites such as the yearly "Cenakulo", recitation of Seven Last Words, veneration of the cross and private devotions. When you are on the highway coming from the town proper of Lucban, you can see the 50-foot image of the arms stretch Risen Christ on top of the hill. It has a life-sized scultures of the 14 stations of the cross. As one goes up the hill, you can see waterfalls and it is really refreshing to the eyes. It has 292 steps on the left ascent and 278 steps on the right ascent and build on a concrete stairs.

So, if you want to recite the way of the cross this holy week and years to come, this is a perfect place. Before you reach the final station, one needs to struggle and exert a lot of effort along the way. This is really a way of the cross and a way of sufferings.

Along the three hectares complex you can also find the Angel's Hill, a venue for other religious functions. Facing it is the "Kamay ni Jesu"s shrine where Fr. Joey Faller performs his healing prayers. A sanctuary of Marian images can also be found in a nearby "Luklukan ni Maria" where it has an infirmary and hostel that can be accommodate more than a hundred devotees.

The grounds leading to the summit is called "Footprints at the Park". It is a reserve one-square meter spot for each donor as a record of their generosity for the improvement and development of the shrine.

Let's talk a bit of history

Fr. Joey Faller, the widely known healing priest had envisioned this place after he recovered from his 1994 car accident which had permanently damaged the ulnar nerve of his two fingers in his right hands.

In search of ways and means to realize this visions, Fr. Faller had met and healed Benito Brizuela, who suffered from stroke and became a half-body paralyzed Filipino-Chinese businessman. After his healing, Brizuela told Faller that he had a dream about the Lord telling him to help him to build the grotto.

On December 8, 2003 the construction of the shrine and grotto started and Brizuela
is among the first benefactors that led to fulfill Fr. Faller's vision. It was completed in the
following year and continuing development went on as more donors approach him to continue the project.

Today, Kamay ni Jesus became the religious itinerary in Southern Tagalog. I can estimates that it can draw more than 10,000 pilgrimage each week so roughly a 100,000 visitors is expected to peak this season.

Related links:
* Time to Reflect

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