Ash crosses now allowed on Ash Wednesday

By: Jane Bautista - Philippine Daily Inquirer | February 28,2022 - 09:03 AM
Woman gets ashes on her head for Ash Wednesday in 2021.

Roman Catholic faithful receive ash from the palms used in last year’s Palm Sunday at St. Joseph’s Shrine in Quezon City on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, which marks the beginning of Lent– the first of 40 days of fasting, prayer, and charitable acts observed by Christians. The IATF eases restrictions on religious gatherings and allowed 50 percent capacity on its venue to maintain physical distancing to curb the spread of the coronavirus. (File photo by GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Two years after breaking tradition due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Filipino Catholics will now be allowed to receive ash crosses on Ash Wednesday, following the guidelines released by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

Sprinkling of ashes on the crown will still be an available option for the faithful, according to the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Liturgy.

“We have been reminded last year that this option is an opportunity to catechize our people on both the penitential and baptismal characters of the Lenten season,” it said.

For Palm Sunday on April 10, Catholics who will join the celebration via online streaming will receive the blessing of their palms through the Scriptural reading and the prayer of blessing.

Social distancing

“There is no need for holy water for the blessing of their palm branches,” the CBCP said.

The route of processions on streets and roads will be limited to maintain social distancing.

The CBCP said it was not recommending the use of “carosas” or “andas” because it would not ensure social distancing among those who will carry these.

The Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Black Saturday for this year falls on April 14, 15 and 16, while Easter Sunday is on April 17.

A special intention for the victims of COVID-19, doctors, nurses, health workers, and those who have died can be included in the prayers of the faithful, the CBCP said.

The Easter Vigil, meanwhile, will be celebrated only in Cathedral and parish churches.

“Special permission is to be given by the Ordinary of the place for those, which will becelebrated in chapels and oratories,” it said.

“In place of the ‘Salubong,’ a motorcade of the statue of the ‘Risen Lord’ may be brought around the parish,” the CBCP said, adding that there must be strict coordination with barangay officials to ensure the implementation of social distancing.

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