Just like last year, devout Filipinos will again observe Holy Week inside their homes as the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Sunday announced that beginning on March 29, all religious activities to mark the passion and death of Jesus Christ will be done online.
“It’s a lockdown. People are not allowed to go out. Cases are in the upswing. Therefore, Holy Week celebrations in the bubble (NCR and four provinces) will be done online just like last year,” said Fr. Jerome Secillano, CBCP Permanent Committee on Public Affairs executive secretary, said in a text message to The Manila Times.
Secillano said the Church leadership will fully cooperate with the government.
Metro Manila and the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan and Rizal will be under the strictest lockdown from March 29 to April 4, Holy Monday until Easter Sunday, to stem the exponential spread of Covid-19 in the country.
“The Church will heed the call of the government. Of particular importance here is the safety of everyone. There is no reason for the Church not to cooperate especially since this Covid-19 situation has already gone to the extreme,” the Church official said.
The Church earlier said that it will do away with the washing of the feet, a tradition performed by priests on Maundy Thursday.
Holy Week is a major religious event in the Philippines, the bastion of Christianity in Asia. In the past, it was common to see flagellants walking on streets, and the nailing of some devout Catholics to the cross, an event that drew foreign tourists.
CBCP president Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles appealed for more fervent prayers from the faithful amid the alarming surge in Covid-19 cases in the country, particularly in Metro Manila.
“Let us pray in particular for the people in the archdiocese and dioceses in the NCR and neighboring provinces. Let us ask the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the fatherly protection of St. Joseph,” Valles said.
WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL