Holy Week Retreats

Pins of Light has been offering a three-day Lenten retreat every single year since 2008. During Holy Week, believers and seekers from around the world gather virtually to reflect on the mysteries of Lent and to share about their lives with this online faith community, as well as to pray for one another.

The visits to the web site peak every year during Holy Week because of these self-paced, self-scheduled online opportunities for prayer and reflection. Probably due to the lockdown, the 2020 online retreat—”PRAYING BETWEEN THE LINES”—broke all previous records, registering over 300,000 hits during Holy Week.

In addition to the online Lenten retreats, Pins of Light has also been occasionally offering online Advent recollections.

Why conduct these retreats every year? Fr. J claims it is good for his soul.

H O L Y   W E E K   R E T R E A T S



Online Lent Recollection 2008
The Garden | The Hill | The Tomb

Every place is God’s dwelling place.
But because of the mysteries of Holy Week,
there are three places that offer us special opportunities
to encounter the Lord during the season of Lent: 
the GARDEN (Holy Thursday), the HILL (Good Friday),
and the TOMB (Black Saturday). 


Online Lent Recollection 2009
Silence of Gethsemane | Silence of Calvary | Silence of the Empty Tomb

Ours is a God of Silence,
but He keeps different kinds of silences.
During Lent, more than ever, He falls silent.
His deepest silences are experienced
in the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus.

The silences of Lent are different from one another. 
The Silence of Gethsemane, the Silence of Calvary,
and the Silence of the Empty Tomb–
each one has a different quality and a different meaning. 
Maybe if we learn to understand God’s silences in Lent,
we will better understand His silences–and language–
in our own lives.


Online Lent Recollection 2010

God in the dungeons?! 

Dungeons are not exactly the first place we go to
when we want to look for God. 
We expect to find Him in churches
and the other “holier” places of our lives. 
But that’s exactly what Lent does not teach us about God. 
In the mysteries of Lent,
God enters precisely the “dungeons of our lives”—
the deepest, darkest experiences of human pain and suffering—
because He wants us to find Him there.


Online Lent Recollection 2011
Judas | Pilate | Peter

We’ve all been through Lenten retreats before,
and they’ve naturally all focused on the good guys. 
But what if for a change, this time we talk
about the “bad guys” instead? 
We just might learn a few things from them. 
If we—just this once—put ourselves in their shoes,
we just might discover some things
about the Lord and about ourselves.


Online Lent Recollection 2012
Martha | Simon | Thomas

For this online retreat, we will be relying on three guides: 
Martha for Holy Thursday,
Simon of Cyrene for Good Friday,
and Thomas the Apostle for Black Saturday–
selected because they were once in their lives 
bystanders and fence-sitters.
This retreat this year has been designed for people like them. 
Perhaps you’re one of them:  
too busy to be involved,
too unsure to be committed. 
If you open your eyes and hearts, 
you might just learn from our three guides.


Online Lent Recollection 2013

Questions are more important than we think. 
During his public ministry, our Lord was asked numerous questions. 
His life was nothing short of controversial. 
His work and his very person raised many questions. 
But every question that he was asked 
served like a door that opened the way
to getting to know Him more.

Some people chose to walk through that door; 
many chose to shut it or walk away. 
But the truth is, questions can lead to deeper faith. 
As our Lord said when he spoke of prayer:
“Ask and you shall receive.” (Luke 11:10)  
Speaking of questions, we say: 
“Ask and you shall believe.”

WFCT poster

Online Lent Recollection 2014

Washing feet and cleansing temples:
Two significant actions performed by our Lord
before His Passion and Death. 
What can they mean for us
as we enter into the mysteries of Holy Week? 
Do they have something more to teach us 
about ourselves, our lives, our Lord?


Online Lent Recollection 2015
Silence of Stones | Absence of Angels | Presence of Peace

It’s not easy finding God, but in times of disquiet. 
When our hearts are most restless and most in need of Him,
they are also most open.
In what should be a season of deepest disquiet,
when the Father seems most silent and absent in His life,
our Lord Jesus shows us how to discover
God’s subversive presence
in the most unexpected places in our lives.


Online Lent Recollection 2016
The Upper Room | the City | Hell

What better way to observe the Jubilee Year of Mercy
this Holy Week than to join our online Lenten retreat?

This Holy Week, three special doors lead to God’s mercy.
They are found in the Upper Room, the City of Jerusalem, and Hell.

Each of these doors will open on Holy Thursday,
Good Friday, and Black Saturday.
Learn about these virtual doors of mercy.
Find the key to each of them,
and make the choice to walk through them.

We hope that just like the estimated 10,000 holy doors 
in churches all over the world, 
our three virtual doors will also lead
those who enter them more deeply
into the mercy of God.

Online Holy Week Retreat 2017

We live in times of disenchantment.
How can we pray in a world
that is skeptical and almost completely without hope?
We turn our eyes to Jesus
and learn from the Master
during a most disenchanted time of his life.

Online Holy Week Retreat 2018

This retreat offers us a door to enter more deeply
into the mystery of Holy Week by praying between the lines.
When we read Scripture, we are invited to read not only its words,
but also the silences between the lines.
When we pray over Scripture,
we also need to “pray between the lines.”

Online Holy Week Retreat 2019

We’ve heard this story so many times before,
but every year we come still bearing questions.
What are our questions for Jesus?
Asking questions is risky business:
they may lead us somewhere else,
somewhere we don’t expect to go.
Are you ready for this conversation?

Online Holy Week Retreat 2020

The Word of God is found
in the words of Scripture.
But we can discover it also in its 

When we read Scripture,
we are invited to pay attention
not only to what it says,
but also to what it 
doesn’t say.

In short, we need to read
(and pray) between the lines.

Online Holy Week Retreat 2021
Letting Good | Letting Evil | Letting God

Creation happened when God let original goodness emerge.
How does this disposition of “letting” unfold in the Passion story?
And what response are we called to as a result of
the example that our Lord set for us?

For 2021 the retreat was conducted live through three Zoom sessions from Holy Thursday to Holy Saturday.

Poster design by Jem Gemzontan

Online Holy Week Retreat 2022

There is something quite subversive about Lent:
Lent teaches us that God is not confined to so-called sacred spaces
On the contrary, He is found where we don’t expect Him,
where we ourselves don’t like visiting.
If we truly seek the Lord, we should not be afraid
to venture to the bruised and broken spaces of our lives.
Holy Week shows us that it is exactly what He has done.

Poster design by Jem Gemzontan

Online Holy Week Retreat 2023

If there is anything that Lent teaches us,
it is the mystery that God hides in the most unlikely places.
And He seems to prefer to dwell in what we mostly regard
as the “wrong places” for Him.
In Jesus’ passion and death, we realize
that there is no such thing
as a place too lowly or too unholy for God.
And our duty is to seek Him even in the wrong places.

Online Holy Week Retreat 2024

Sometimes you feel like too many things are going wrong,
and too many people are doing wrong.
The world and your faith feel like they’re falling apart.
You can’t see any light at the end of your tunnel;
Easter is nowhere on the horizon.
How can our Lord’s suffering, death, and resurrection
help us find a way to resuscitate our hope
and to resurrect Easter in our lives?

Poster design by Jem Gemzontan

28 replies on “Holy Week Retreats”

Hi po Father, I would like to ask for your video or presentation of Fugitives of Lent back in 2011. Thank you!

Fr Johnny your recollections are wonderfully different – I always look forward to those and your Sunday homilies – you provide insights that go deep and incite introspection.
When is your next retreat in Manila?

Am blessed to have joined the 2017 online triduum retreat. With my left knee not in good condition, the online retreat enabled me to reflect on the kindness of of our God, that despite my sinfulness He gave us His Only Beloved Son so thT we can be saved from eternal damnation. The reflections will guide me as I go on in this life’s journey not by the speed of what is happening around me but by the prompting a of the Holy Spirit… Thank you Fr. And all those who made this online retreat possible.

I shout with joy to God for His wonderful deeds. He provides me time to contemplate of the things around; their existence and importance, and how I could them according to His will. Moreover, I am glad that despite my sinfulness He has no reservation to give His life for me. I do not have….but He gives resources to whom I would approach…as means of building bridges for meaningful communication. Amen.

Father J, i follow pinsoflight in facebook and read the homilies each week. i have been doing the online retreat for a few years now. i would love to join your ateneo retreat for parents and alumni (my daughter was an ateneo scholar) but we live in the province. i was going through the previous years retreats but it looks like the links were broken. is there another way i can access them. i am one of those who have been transformed by your retreats and my faith has never been stronger. thank uou very much. continue to be a blessing to other people as you have been in mine.

God bless you more for blessing us with these retreats! I am currently undergoing the Advent online recollection, and am hoping that the past retreats could be posted in pdf format perhaps? Thanks so much!

Good Day,

I would only ask if there will be a an annual Lenten Online Recollection this coming Holy Week 2017?

I am willing to join and be a part of this sacred journey.

Thanks and God bless us all.

Are there trancripts of previous recollections? If so where can we find them! I am interested in even the past recollections. Thank you so much! Will await reply!

Are any of Fr. Johnny’s online retreats still available in an archive somewhere? It’s a shame to only go through them once a year. There may be more moments in our lives when we need a retreat. 🙂

I was able to attend your last Holy Week retreat. I was also able to get both your books. Thank you. Thank you too for this archive of recollections and homilies. I am in China for a week of work and it gets lonely but I am having an extended recollextion with your writings. God is keeping me company. May God bless you always.

Hi Fr J, hope you can still come up with the advent recollection. eager to join you in prayers during this time. thank you!

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