Second Lent under pandemic ends today

Millions of Christians in Covid-19 quarantined areas will mark Black Saturday today, the second time the final day of Lent will be observed in the shadow of the pandemic.

Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) Permanent Committee on Public Affairs, said on Friday that because of the lockdown in Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, all church activities would be held online.

LENTEN RITUAL 2.0 Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, priests and altar servers of the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila hold the Lenten tradition of the ‘Via Crusis’ or The Way of the Cross that presents the 14 stations of Jesus Christ’s passion and death on Good Friday, April 2, 2021. The ritual was also livestreamed from the Manila Cathedral’s Facebook page for Catholics who are at home because of the pandemic. PHOTO BY ENRIQUE AGCAOILI

“It’s a lockdown. People are not allowed to go out. Cases are in the upswing. Therefore, Holy Week celebrations in the bubble will be done online just like last year,” said Secillano.

Traditionally, the Catholic Church does not hold Masses on Black Saturday, to allow Christians to reflect on the passion and death of Christ in anticipation of his resurrection.

Fasting is not required, and the only Mass to be held will be after an Easter Vigil at sundown on Saturday.

Black Saturday is the third and last day of the Easter Triduum, which started on the evening of Maundy Thursday, and also marked the end of the 40-day Lent.

The Triduum begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday, which continues until Good Friday. It is followed by the celebration of the Passion of the Lord on Black Saturday.

It reaches its high point in the Paschal or Easter Vigil, and concludes with the evening prayer on Easter Sunday, the celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Friday it was one with the Christian community in observing the Lenten season amid the pandemic.

“There is no greater love than the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for all of humanity commemorated during the Lenten season. Let us reflect on His act of supreme sacrifice as
we face the challenges of the pandemic. As a nation, we are called to reflect on His selfless acts, emulate, and follow His ways,” said DILG Officer in Charge Undersecretary Bernardo
Florece Jr.

Florece urged the faithful to stay at home and refrain from participating in any form of mass gathering in order to stop the spread of Covid-19.

“These are just a few of the sacrifices asked of us while observing the Holy Week. This is a small sacrifice for the safety of the majority,” he said in Filipino.

He also requested everyone to pray for peace in the country, the thousands who have perished because of the Covid-19, frontliners that were battling the surge of the virus and the eventual triumph of Filipinos against the disease.

“Through these obstacles and ordeals stand the resilient Filipino faith and devotion that withstand all adversities. Let this Lenten season be a reminder of our undying faith and our capacity to put this into action,” he said.