Lenten rites to go online again | Inquirer News

Lenten rites to go online again

By: - Reporter / @MegINQ
/ 05:00 AM March 29, 2021

DÉJÀVU Members of the Blas family, each holding a coconut frond, listen to online Mass on Palm Sunday in their home at Barangay 826 in Paco, Manila. For the second year in a row, Catholic churches are shuttered during Holy Week as the metropolis goes into a weeklong lockdown starting Monday. —MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

MANILA, Philippines — While churches remained open on Palm Sunday to allow the Catholic faithful to observe the first day of Holy Week, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) reminded the public that Masses and other religious activities would be restricted to online livestreaming due to the more stringent quarantine restrictions imposed on Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

In a text message to the Inquirer, Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP permanent committee on public affairs, said Holy Week celebrations in Metro Manila and the provinces of Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan and Laguna be done online “just like last year.”


During Holy Week last year, the CBCP made an appeal to churchgoers to stay in their homes and hear Masses and other traditions online.


This year, Secillano told the faithful that the enhanced community quarantine required them to observe the same practice to help reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

On Saturday, Malacañang announced that Metro Manila and the four nearby provinces would be placed on lockdown until April 4, which meant religious gatherings were banned.

Same 2020 guidelines

Last month, the Vatican reiterated its guidelines in the celebration of Holy Week amid the COVID-19 pandemic that were originally released in 2020.

The Vatican said the washing of the feet, a ritual that is usually done in churches on Maundy Thursday, was to be omitted, while Masses may be celebrated “in a suitable place, without the presence of the people.”

But despite reminders from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases that religious gatherings are permitted only at 10 percent capacity in areas under general community quarantine, churchgoers were seen flocking to churches on Sunday to have their palm fronds blessed.

The CBCP, however, had no comment on the matter.


In his homily at the Manila Cathedral on Palm Sunday, Bishop Broderick Pabillo of the Manila Archdiocese reminded the faithful that while they were confined in their homes, the health crisis “cannot prevent us from getting in touch with the Lord in a deeper way and in worshipping Him these days.”

Pabillo urged them to think of ways to get closer to the Lord even as their movements were restricted under quarantine instead of focusing on the sorrows they were experiencing.

“On your own, take time to read the readings before the Mass as a preparation and after the Mass as a deepening … Take the homily just as a supplement to the rich nourishment that our holy celebrations offer us as found in the readings and in prayers,” Pabillo said.

Romulo Valles, president of the CBCP, also appealed to Church leaders to “exert extra effort” in making sure that public health standards and hygiene measures were strictly observed in all church activities this Holy Week.

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“Let us continue to remind our people of the urgency and importance of observing strictly these hygiene protocols every time and everywhere during this pandemic,” Valles said.

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TAGS: coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, Lent 2021, online Masses

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