A small community of Filipinos in Minto observes the age-old tradition of 'senakulo' despite the pandemic.
Jimmy Lopez and his wife, Myrma, were up early this morning. It was a special day for the couple, who are both church devotees and organisers of the annual 'senakulo', the re-enactment of the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ as told according to the 14 stations of the cross.
So at 9am, Myrma was preparing sandwiches, to be given to the volunteers who would take part in the mini-play. Their friend and neighbour Emma Braceros made the costume outfits for Jesus Christ (portrayed by Ricardo Angeles), Mary (Cleo Baltazar), Mary Magdalene (Julie Teoforo), Veronica, Pontius Pilate (Larry Sotero), the soldier (Joel Queyqueo), daughter of Jerusalem (Rita Brokenhaus) and the Cyrinian (Abdul Tren). The group came to church a couple of hours earlier to practice their assigned roles.
The re-enactment was done in a grass clearing that allowed for all 14 stations to be set up temporarily. Residents of a Filipino housing cooperative, Sedgwick Co-op, based in the nearby suburb of Leumeah, as well as parishioners from the area attended the event. While the crowd was scarce, compared to the numbers in previous years, Jimmy and Myrma said they were happy that they were still able to observe the Lent despite the pandemic.
"It's part of our panata. Myrma is also the president of the Minto prayer group and this is something that we do as part of our community service," said Jimmy. "We love doing it. It's part of our culture and our tradition as Filipinos."
Their devotion and commitment is strong. They have been volunteering to do it since 1993, when they first moved to Australia.
"We've been doing this for almost 30 years," he said.