‘No kiss, no touch,’ DOH reminds icon adorers | Inquirer News
Close  
As ‘Visita Iglesia’ returns

‘No kiss, no touch,’ DOH reminds icon adorers

/ 05:38 AM April 14, 2022
Penance at Lent: What can people give up?

FILE PHOTO: 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

MANILA, Philippines — You may visit as many churches as you want this Holy Week, but avoid touching and kissing religious images for your own safety and that of others.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire has reminded Catholics to keep their hands — and lips — off sacred images when visiting churches and other places of worship to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Let us refrain from kissing and touching religious images and statues in churches, and make it a habit to always sanitize our hands,” she told an online briefing on Tuesday.

For good measure, they must also keep their well-fitted face masks on when attending Masses, joining processions or reading a novena, Vergeire said.

FEATURED STORIES

After reopening to full capacity under alert level 1, Catholic churches expect big crowds to turn up for the liturgical services on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday in celebration of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection.

This year, the Catholic Church has also allowed “Visita Iglesia,” or the tour of seven churches, as well as the procession of religious images or crosses, this time on “motorized vehicles,” not “carrozas”— traditions that were disrupted by strict quarantine restrictions in the past two years.

Under the lowest category of the government’s alert level system, fully vaccinated adults are allowed to join indoor and outdoor religious activities.

On April 1, the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, more known as Quiapo Church, finally resumed the traditional “pahalik” of the Black Nazarene. But devotees are allowed only to touch and not literally kiss the sacred icon.

“We know that this is an integral part of the devotion to the Nazareno as formed by history and tradition, and we merely respond to this call to resume since COVID cases have already declined and we are allowed to resume these activities,” Fr. Earl Valdez, parochial vicar of Quiapo Church, told the Inquirer.

As part of safety measures, hands are disinfected before touching the image and the area of pahalik is also disinfected every three to four hours. The crowd is enjoined to maintain physical distancing at all times.

COVID-19 infections have continued to dip, with the Department of Health logging 1,906 new cases last week, 29 percent lower than the previous week’s 2,679 cases. But health authorities are not lowering their guard because of the emergence of subvariants in other countries.

ADVERTISEMENT

RELATED STORIES

For 3rd year, no Lenten rites in Pampanga capital

Visita Iglesia, processions resume this Holy Week

16 Davao City churches open for Holy Week

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: covid-19 protocols, DoH, Holy Week 2022, Holy Week health precautions
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

News that matters

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.