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In the broadcast coverage this year will be testimonials of faith from multi-awarded movie director Marilou Diaz-Abaya and CNN Hero of the Year Efren Penaflorida
NOW ON ITS 15TH YEAR, the ?Siete Palabras? at the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City has become the key Lenten program on Philippine TV.

The program broadcasts the annual Good Friday sermons by the Dominican fathers of the Santo Domingo Convent on the Seven Last Words of Christ.

In an interview, Fr. Sonny Ramirez, OP, one of the pioneer homilists of the program, said ?Siete Palabras? is ?most inspiring? because it motivates rather than just entertains its audience.

Father Ramirez said the Lenten ritual sticks to its goal of bringing the truth of the Gospel to all, giving emphasis to reflection in commemorating Christ?s sacrifice. This is why a priest follows every Word with a sermon, he added.

The Seven Last Words are: ?Father forgive them, for they know not what they do,? (Luke 23:34); ?Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise,? (Luke 23:43); ?Woman, behold your son: behold your mother,? (John 19:26-27); ?My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?? (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34); ?I thirst,? (John 19:28); ?It is finished,? (John 19:30); and lastly, ?Father, into your hands I commit my spirit? (Luke 23:46).

Of course, the Dominicans, who belong to the Order of Preachers, have been delivering the sermons since time immemorial. But it was only in 1984 that their ?Siete Palabras? became a broadcast phenomenon when Father Ramirez made the Lenten ritual as a special edition of ?Sharing in the City,? his TV program on Channel 9. Banahaw Broadcast Inc. was the TV producer.

To make the Church program more TV-friendly, the production staff fanned out of the studio to capture real-life stories that embodied the essence of Lent. The broadcast tried to focus on ?the seven corporeal Acts of Mercy,? Ramirez said.

According to the Dominican preacher, who singlehandedly delivered the sermons, the situations presented on ?Siete Palabras? were actual life scenarios that inspired people and moved them to do what was good and necessary.

A decade later, ?Siete Palabras? was passed on to the Dominican Province of the Philippines. It was on this year when Father Ramirez started to deliver the last words on the pulpit of Santo Domingo Church on Good Friday, and Channel 9 made a coverage of the ritual.

In 1998, other Dominicans joined Father Ramirez in delivering the sermons on the last words. As time passed, the Santo Domingo Parish in Quezon City became the fixed venue of the ?Siete Palabras? produced by the Dominicans annually. In 1998, too, the total production for the event was transferred to the Philippine Dominican Province, which keeps the tradition alive up to now.

Nowadays, the Lenten program includes solemn musical presentations and interpretative dances to stimulate reflection.

?Siete Palabras? 2010

?Siete Palabras? will be aired again live from the Santo Domingo Church, QC on April 2, 12 noon-3 p.m. on GMA-7.

To be presented by the Dominican Province of the Philippines through its Provincial Media Board and Institute of Preaching, the three-hour Lenten special will highlight the recital of the Seven Last Words of Christ before His death, accompanied by reflections from Dominican priests.

The Dominican preachers for the event are former prior provincial Fr. Edmund Nantes; Aquinas University of Legazpi City Rector Fr. Ramonclaro Mendez; Colegio de San Juan de Letran de Calamba Rector Fr. Honorato Castigador; UST Fathers Joseto Bernadas Jr., Florentino Bolo Jr., Jose Antonio Aureada; and Fr. Enrico Gonzales of the Santo Domingo Convent.

Among the performers are soprano Thea Perez-Prosia, singer Noelle Cassandra, the Tining Choir of Letran, the UST Conservatory of Music orchestra, and UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe.

Featured in the broadcast coverage will be testimonials of faith from multi-awarded movie director Marilou Diaz-Abaya, Tahanang Walang Hagdan president Bro. Gonzalo

?Sonny? Goquiolay, and CNN Hero of the Year Efren Penaflorida.

?Siete Palabras? will also feature audio-visual presentations from the award-winning students of the Institute of Communications of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Manila.

Major sponsors of the event are Our Lady of Manaoag Convent, Aquinas University of Legaspi, University of Santo

Tomas, RSL Lights & Sounds, Haloa Toothbrush, Maxi Atletika, Pet Society, Manila Bulletin, and Crossover 105.1 FM. Other sponsors are the Katialis soap and ointment, Caleruega Philippines, Angelicum College-QC, and Letran-Manila.