Devotees celebrate Easter Sunday on Mt. Tapochao

EASTER Sunday is a new day for a renewed faith, according to Rev. Fr. Romil Aperocho of the San Antonio Parish Church.

“The people of Saipan should be the people of resurrection,” said Fr. Romil Aperocho, who celebrated  Easter Sunday Mass on Mt. Tapochao. 

“Whatever suffering you have, it is not the end of your life. It is not the purpose of why you are here. Jesus, through His death, lifted us up to become the people of resurrection, the people of hope, the people with faith and love.” 

He added, “We celebrate Easter Sunday because Jesus was resurrected from the dead and that is the greatest feast — the greatest celebration for Catholics.”

According to Saipan Mayor David Apatang, more than a thousand people joined the annual trek to Mt. Tapochao on Good Friday. 

On Easter Sunday, San Antonio Parish Church coordinator Gary Orpiano said about 500 people returned to Tapochao for the  celebration. 

Father Romil said Good Friday was a good reminder of how Jesus saved the world. 

He said the annual trek to Mt. Tapochao is “our way of thanking Him for saving us and protecting us.”

More than 30 men carried the wooden cross to the top of the mountain, Friday morning. 

Father Romil said they also set up 14 stations of the cross on the way to Mt. Tapochao to serve as prayer guides for the devotees.

“This year we tried our best to make it more religious so that people would not be walking up to Mt. Tapochao for no reason,” he added.

Rep. Joe Itibus, one of the men who helped carry the cross, said he has been participating in the annual event for more than 30 years. “I do it as part of my obligations as a Catholic.”

On Easter Sunday, men carrying the resurrected image of Jesus and  women carrying an image of the Blessed Mother met on the road to Mt. Tapochao. 

“This is the beautiful expression of how it is to unite as one family, believing we can do things together,” Father Romil said. “If the devil works for division,  the Holy Spirit works for forgiveness and unity.”

 On Good Friday, as in past years, community organizations set up canopies to provide refreshments to the devotees. These organizations included the Saipan mayor’s office, the Lady Diann Torres Foundation, the American Red Cross, the United Filipino Organization, the Bayani Association and Tau Gamma Phi.

Mayor Apatang said many businesses donated  oranges, bananas and boxes of bottled water for the devotees.

At about 8 a.m., Friday,  as people started leaving the area, the mayor’s personnel began cleaning up the site.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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