Holy Week rituals tweaked to prevent COVID-19 spread
Catholic Church officials have recommended changes in the observance of Holy Week rituals to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, but these changes should not sidetrack people from the “real meaning” of Lent, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo reminded the faithful on Thursday.
“Let us go to the core meaning of our rites rather than be confused by changed external practices,” Pabillo said. Church officials have recommended that instead of marking a cross on the foreheads of the faithful using ashes on Feb. 26, Ash Wednesday, the ashes could be sprinkled on the crown of the head with the prescribed prayers.
“The ashes to be imposed on the crown signify our repentance from sin, which has marred the grace of Baptism. This is not an innovation but in accord with the ancient practice of the Church,” explained Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles in a circular addressed to the bishops and diocesan administrators.
The CBCP is also discouraging people from kissing or touching the cross on Good Friday. Instead, the faithful are requested to genuflect or make a profound bow as they venerate the cross, Valles said.
“Our charity is expressed in our concern for the well-being of our brothers and sisters, thus our utmost care and efforts toward the prevention of the spread of COVID-19,” he added.
Several dioceses have earlier released a circular letter listing precautionary measures to be observed amid the threat of the virus, including refraining from holding hands and kissing during the “Our Father” and Sign of Peace portions, respectively.
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