MANILA (UPDATE) – The Catholic Church will revert to laying ashes on the foreheads of the faithful this Ash Wednesday, March 2, an official with the Conference of Catholic Bishops of the Philippines (CBCP) said Monday.
Prof. Jerome Secillano, Executive Secretary of CBCP’s Public Affairs Committee, said that if the sprinkling of dry ash on the crown or top of the head, which was adopted in 2020 and 2021 amid the COVID pandemic -19, will remain an option, the traditional imposition of wet ashes with the sign of the cross on the forehead is already authorized this year.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, one of the most solemn times in the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations, as it recalls the passion and death of Jesus Christ.
The 40-day season is marked by prayer, fasting and abstinence in preparation for the great feast of Easter, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Speaking on ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo, Secillano said churches in areas under COVID-19 Alert Level 1 will also be open to parishioners at 100% capacity, as permitted by the inter-working group. -agencies.
“Kinakailangan by naman ang simbahan enforce health protocol. Use face mask, not only by yan. Yung disinfect mga upuan, ginagawa by rin yan. Yung paghuhugas ng kamay, ginagawa rin yan,” he said.
“And then yung ibang practices contact, katulad ng hawakan ng kamay, ‘yung pag-dip ng kamay sa holy water, wala po muna yun,” he added.
“Actually pagpunas-punas in imahen, paghalik-halik in imahen, definitely Hindi by rin natin gagawın yun. And a pa kasi yung threatens the coronavirus.
(The church will continue to implement health protocols. So wearing face masks, sanitizing seats, and washing hands will remain. And then other practices that involve contact, like holding hands and dipping hands in holy water is not allowed. Of course, touching and kissing religious statues is absolutely not allowed. Because the threat of coronavirus is still present.)
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an interview with TeleRadyo on Monday evening that everyone who visits churches should be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“And churches also have a responsibility to provide adequate ventilation. Keep your doors open. At yung mga bentilador, yung tutok, palabas,” she said.
(Fans should face outward.)
Metro Manila and 38 other regions across the country are moving into the loosest of five levels of COVID-19 starting Tuesday, March 1, more than two years since the government began imposing restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The country has seen a further drop in new infections in the past few days after the omicron variant sparked a surge from late December to January.
About 80 percent of the Filipino population are Roman Catholics.