Joining senakulo could keep youth drug-free?

Joining senakulo could keep youth drug-free?

The faithful re-enact Christ’s Passion at Mary Queen of Apostles Parish in Parañaque City. MICHAEL DALOGDOG

PALO, Leyte – Far from being just an opportunity for religious fanfare and theater, the senakulo, specifically being a part of the cast and crew of the annual Passion play could keep young people drug-free.

This is what two young people who are part of this city’s 43-year old Passion play attest to.

“A person who would rather choose to be penitente and later a Roman soldier will stay away from vices like illegal drugs because they have to maintain leading a good Christian life all throughout the year as a requirement,” explained Cornelio Mendiola Breccio, who plays a Roman soldier in the annual re-enactment of Christ’s passion and death.

Breccio, who had been a penitente (hooded penitent) for years, got “promoted” to a Roman solider’s role in 2012,

Jervin Palamos, who is also a penitente, noted: “I can reform in another way but I deem this kind of sacrifice as more meaningful one.”

According to the 28-year old single, who is a dupol (flat-hooded penitent), this is one way for young people to stay away from illegal drugs.

Palamos admitted he joined the cast as a form of sacrifice and a vow to “reform his ways” in keeping with Christ’s teachings.

The young man confessed he has acquaintances who are into drugs and to avoid falling into vice himself, he chose to become a penitente, who is required to live out a Christian life all year-round.

Both volunteers believe their yearly vow to take part in the senakulo is a fulfillment of their promise “to commit themselves to Christ.”

Physically and spiritually prepared

Mabel Moron-Sevilla, a prime mover of the community-led activity, said the characters and other members of the crew who helped stage the re-enactment of Christ’s Passion and death had been ready for the annual activity as early as Wednesday.

The characters were required to have a recollection and confession before assuming their roles this Holy Week.

More importantly, according to Sevilla, the characters and new actors, as well as the hooded penitentes (penitents), are required to lead a good Christian life all throughout the year and not just during Lent.

Completing the picture

The senakulo was an addition to the traditional 7 Last Words (Siete Palabras).

It was added in 1974 upon the suggestion of church volunteers, such as Sevilla, daughter of the late former Palo Mayor Savador Moron and one of the organizers of the Holy Week events in the Cathedral.

“This was thought of to complete the story reliving the Passion of Christ before he was nailed on the cross,” said Sevilla.

“The Good Friday observance should not start with Siete Palabras but with a story prior to the Siete Palabras,” she added.

According to Sevilla, the original script of the Passion play drafted by the late Msgr. Ben Sabillo when the senakulo was first introduced in the city is still used today so as not to deviate from what the Bible depicts.

Sevilla, now the artistic director and director of the Passion play, said the senakulo is purely a community effort without any sponsorship.


“Spending for our own costumes and the props are part of the sacrifice of each member of the cast,” she shared.

The hooded penitentes, who are barefoot from sun up to sun down on Good Fridays with their faces hidden under a hood, beg for alms, which are donated to the church and used to construct a make-shift Calvary Hill (Golgotha) for the senakulo.

After the 7 Last Words, a procession of the image of the remains of Christ, as well as other Biblical figures, was held around the town proper. CBCPNews