I grew up in a Catholic family whose favorite bonding activity during Sundays is to visit churches. We take delight in traveling an hour or two (or sometimes more) just to hear the Sunday service. It’s a great experience for us to go to a church we’ve never been to. Not only do we get to see a new place, we also get to learn new things–history and design-wise. And with the number of churches in the Philippines, the country being a Christian country, our family has got a plenty of choices to choose from. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that Visita Iglesia during the Holy Week has become a tradition to our family, something that I was hoping then (and still) that I could still continue even by myself alone overseas.
During my first Holy Week in Dubai, I was in a church organization that allowed me to do Visita Iglesia. Since Maundy Thursday is not a non-working holiday, the visitations are usually done on a Friday. It’s a relief that there are seven churches all over the country, two of which are in Dubai. If you happen to be in the emirate and you’re planning to continue this annual tradition, here’s a quick guide to UAE’s seven churches. Click on the church’s name to get to their website.
Oud Metha Road, opposite Indian High School, Dubai
Holy week schedule and activities can be found over here.
Abdullah Bin Anees Street and 21st Street, Sharjah
Click here for the holy week program.
Ras Al Khaimah
Jebel Ali Village, Dubai
Follow this link for the holy week schedule.
147th Street, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi
Holy week schedule can be found here.
Between Karamah Street and Airport Road, close to the Immigration Department and Al Khubarat School, Abu Dhabi
Visita Iglesia in the UAE is pretty much of an effort since these churches are soooooo far from each other. If you’re from Dubai and just relying on the public transportation available, you can visit three churches at the least. Travel via the Dubai Metro’s green line and go down by the Oud Metha Metro Station to Saint Mary’s Church and Jebel Ali Station to St. Francis of Assisi Church. Take the city bus to Sharjah and hail a cab from the bus station to get to St. Michael’s Church. Still got time? Then, have a 2-hour bus trip to Abu Dhabi and get a cab to reach St. Joseph’s Cathedral.
If all else fails and you have an internet connection at home, head over this link to CBCP’s online visita iglesia.
In the end, it’s not if you visited all seven churches, prayed the Stations of the Cross or not. It’s how you put into life the values and points this season wants to tell everyone. May we all have a meaningful and blessed Lent.