Filipino Catholics brave COVID-19 threat to celebrate Palm Sunday | Inquirer News
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Filipino Catholics brave COVID-19 threat to celebrate Palm Sunday

/ 05:26 PM March 28, 2021
Rev. Fr. Jose Dela Cruz blesses palm fronds on Palm Sunday at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Paranaque City, on March 28, 2021. Palm Sunday signals the start of Holy Week, Christianity’s holiest period that is marked by prayer, penitence and reflection on the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus. 📷:Niño Jesus Orbeta/Philippine Daily Inquirer

Rev. Fr. Jose Dela Cruz blesses palm fronds on Palm Sunday at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Paranaque City, on March 28, 2021. Palm Sunday signals the start of Holy Week, Christianity’s holiest period that is marked by prayer, penitence and reflection on the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus. Niño Jesus Orbeta/Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA — Dozens of Catholics in the Philippines braved the threat of coronavirus on Sunday to attend a mass outside the Baclaran Church in Manila to celebrate Palm Sunday, marking the beginning of the Holy Week.

Wearing face masks and observing physical distancing to protect themselves from COVID-19, they waved their palm fronds as the priest sprinkled holy water on them.

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“I hope and pray this pandemic will end. I hope our (living) conditions will get better, especially since there are a growing number of people going hungry,” Stephane Silva said after attending mass.

Religious gatherings will be banned from Monday until Easter to comply with stricter quarantine restrictions the Philippine government reimposed in the capital and nearby provinces to slow the sharp rise in COVID-19 infections.

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About 80% of people in the Philippines are Catholic.

Lighted candles are placed on the empty pews of the St. Peter Parish: Shrine of Leaders, Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City during the livestream online Palm Sunday mass. The government has declared another round of enhance community quarantine this Holy week from March 29 to April 4 amid the surge of Covid19 cases in the NCR and nearby provinces. 📷:Niño Jesus Orbeta/Philippine Daily Inquirer

Lighted candles are placed on the empty pews of the St. Peter Parish: Shrine of Leaders, Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City during the livestream online Palm Sunday mass. The government has declared another round of enhance community quarantine this Holy week from March 29 to April 4 amid the surge of Covid19 cases in the NCR and nearby provinces. Niño Jesus Orbeta/Philippine Daily Inquirer

At the St. Peter Parish in Quezon City, candles were attached to empty pews to represent parishioners taking part in Palm Sunday celebrations outside the church or online.

The Philippines is battling a renewed surge in infections, including those of the new and more transmissible variants, prompting the government to tighten existing curbs in the capital and nearby provinces.

Coronavirus cases and deaths in the Philippines totalled 721,892 and 13,170, the second highest in Southeast Asia, with infections reported in the past nine days accounting for a tenth of the total.

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