Cebu gov mulls easing curbs in churches for Holy Week | Inquirer News
While under alert level 2

Cebu governor mulls easing curbs in churches during Holy Week

/ 04:35 AM March 07, 2022
Saints Peter and Paul Parish. Church in Bantayan in Cebu, FOR STORY: Cebu governor mulls easing curbs in churches during Holy Week

LENTEN DESTINATION | Saints Peter and Paul Parish Church in Bantayan town on Bantayan Island in northern Cebu is a favorite destination for pilgrims and tourists during the Holy Week. —DALE G. ISRAEL

CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — As COVID-19 cases in Cebu province continue to decrease, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia planned to ease the restrictions in religious and traditional gatherings during the Holy Week.

The governor said she would meet with officials of the Archdiocese of Cebu in the next few days to discuss the guidelines for these activities which she described as not only religious but imbibed in the Cebuano culture.

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“I do not wish to preempt the archdiocese but if you would ask me, I hope that the stringent restrictions that we had during the height of the pandemic certainly should no longer apply during these times,” Garcia said in an interview on March 2.

“I speak not because I wish to meddle with the affairs of the Church. But I speak from the viewpoint of a governor who has always valued our custom, our tradition, our heritage, and the activities that are part of the observance of Holy Week,” she added.

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During the 40-day period of Lent that began on Ash Wednesday, Catholics commemorate the central mystery of the faith: the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It culminates on Holy Week, which starts this year on April 10 (Palm Sunday) and ends on April 16 (Black Saturday).

Among the activities that were canceled since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 were the solemn processions depicting the passion and death of Jesus, Visita Iglesia or church visitations, stations of the cross, and the “sugat” of the meeting of the risen Lord and the Blessed Virgin Mary on Easter Sunday.

In Cebu, many people troop to Bantayan Island in northern Cebu on Holy Week to watch or take part in the processions of the life-size images of Christ’s passion and death on Good Friday.

Although practiced in all churches, the town of Minglanilla in southern Cebu also holds the annual “Sugat Kabanhawan Festival” in observance of Easter Sunday. The festival features dancing contingents.

Localized guidelines

“In spite of some doomsday scenarios of those who wish to hold on to their authority and relevance at the two pandemics that is going on—the COVID-19 pandemic and the fear pandemic—people can see for themselves that cases are going down, the symptoms are getting milder, and so I believe in light of all of these we too must be able to adapt our guidelines, especially in so far as the coming Holy Week activities are concerned,” Garcia said.

Cebu province is currently under alert level 2 that only allows public utility vehicles to accommodate 70 percent of their capacity. But Garcia has already allowed full seating capacity for all public utility vehicles, such as buses, jeepneys and taxis.

As of March 4, Cebu province has 540 active cases of COVID-19, according to the Department of Health. Since the start of the pandemic, Cebu has a total of 46,002 cases with 42,689 recoveries and 2,773 deaths.

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TAGS: Cebu Holy Week 2022, COVID-19, Gwendolyn Garcia
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