What to expect in this year’s Holy Week in Cebu
CEBU CITY, Philippines—The entire island of Cebu remained under the most lenient classification of community quarantine this April.
With this, devotees are allowed to go to churches, albeit in limited capacity, in observance of this year’s Holy Week, the last week of the Lenten season.
However, not wanting to compromise public safety and health, the Archdiocese of Cebu decided to reimpose some restrictions that were first introduced during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
The Archdiocese’s general rule for this year’s celebration of Holy Week is to confine all activities inside churches only to avoid drawing large crowds.
This meant that 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 are prohibited.
Below are some additional guidelines the Archdiocese’s Commission on Worship has issued.
Holy Thursday (Mass of the Lord’s Supper)
1. Kissing of the Book of the Gospels is discouraged
2. A simplified form of the washing of the feet may be done during this celebration. The number of the persons whose feet are to be washed need not be 12. There can be less than 12 but not more than 12. It is recommended to have one or two ministers only.
3. The Priest is discouraged to kiss the foot of the minister/s after drying it with a towel.
Good Friday (Friday of the Passion of the Lord)
1. The Presider alone will do the kissing in veneration of the Cross. The faithful will be asked to make a common gesture of adoration of the cross together. The showing and adoration of the cross is carried out using the first form.
2. A special intention for the COVID-19 victims, doctors and nurses, health workers, the frontliners and those who have died may be added to the Prayer of the Faithful.
Easter Vigil (The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night)
1. This is to be celebrated only in the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral and parish churches not earlier than 6 p.m., depending on the curfew implemented in the region or place.
2. The Blessing of the Fire and Preparation of the Candle or Lucernarium may be done outside the church. If this is not possible, it can be celebrated within the building of the Church.
3. The Baptismal liturgy during this time can be done either to adults or children, but the number of candidates must be minimal.
4. The blessing of water and the ‘Renewal of Baptismal Promises’ are retained. The Renewal of Baptismal Promises is observed in the usual manner with greater emphasis.
In the meantime, the Roman Catholic Church urged faithfuls to give time and attend Holy Week events inside their nearby parish churches.
“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.
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