Some restrictions still in place for Holy Week 2021
CEBU CITY, Philippines – As national and local governments relaxed several quarantine restrictions, the Archdiocese of Cebu has started to ease some protocols in line with this year’s observance of Holy Week.
The Archdiocese, through its Commission on Worship, issued last March 2, 2021, the Guidelines for Lent, Holy Week, and Paschal Triduum Celebrations 2021 in time of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The country will be celebrating Holy Week, a highlight in the liturgical calendar, beginning this March 28 and until April 4.
But while the Archdiocese is set to welcome back devotees who can physically participate in some events, albeit in a limited capacity, it has retained several policies implemented during the height of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020.
These included prohibiting vigils on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, prayer meetings, Pasyon or Pabasa inside chapels or homes, and crowd-drawing devotional processions such as Via Crucis on Fridays of Lent and within the days of the Holy Week, Pasos either on Holy Tuesday or Holy Wednesday, Visita Iglesia on Holy Thursday, Santo Entierro and La Soledad processions on Good Friday, and Sugat at dawn of Easter Sunday.
“In consideration to the Via Crucis in the parish, it may be observed outdoor by individuals, individual/immediate families but strictly not by big groups. Stationary Via Crucis inside the church where the faithful only stays in their seats may be considered,” portions of the memorandum stated.
The Archdiocese also said the celebration of the Chrism Mass, slated at 9 a.m. this March 23, at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral will remain a closed-door event.
“This year’s Chrism Mass is an exclusive celebration and (will be) participated only by a limited number of lay faithful, that is, the parish pastoral council members lay liturgical ministers, and the household of the Cathedral,” they added.
The kissing of the Book of the Gospels during the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday is also discouraged.
On the other hand, the Archdiocese urged devotees to attend physical events in line with the Holy Week celebration, especially after the government has allowed face-to-face Masses to resume.
“Today, church attendance is allowed but on a limited scale so as to implement social distancing… We continue to follow the safety Protocols of the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases), and the Guidelines we issued on the Resumption of Liturgical celebrations in Time of COVID-19,” the church said.
“Everybody is encouraged to attend physically the Holy Week celebrations but if they are impeded by any reasons, they are encouraged to follow the celebrations through online live-streaming,” they added.
The Archdiocese also urged parishes to closely coordinate with local government officials in the event that they will be holding public events in line with Holy Week.
The entire island of Cebu has been placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the most relaxed form of community quarantine, since September 2020. / rcg
Read the full guidelines here.
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