The faithful, instead of going to churches for the traditional blessing of palm fronds, would have to go virtual this year.
Boy Santos/File
Church sees different, more meaningful Holy Week
Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - April 5, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — With the limited movement of people due to the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon, the Catholic Church eyes to celebrate a different yet meaningful Holy Week starting today, Palm Sunday. 

The faithful, instead of going to churches for the traditional blessing of palm fronds, would have to go virtual this year.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, said the COVID-19 pandemic has definitely disrupted some Church activities but has not altered the faith of the Filipino people. ?He said the Holy Week will be pursued this year even without the traditional way of observing the Palm Sunday, the singing of the Pasyon, the Senakulo, Chrism Mass, the washing of the feet, the Visita Iglesia and the way of the cross.  

The customary observation of the Good Friday Veneration of the Cross, the procession of the Santo Entierro, the solemn Easter Vigil mass and the Salubong will also not be done in its traditional manner this year. 

“Due to the virus, we are challenged this year to live this most Holy Week without the traditional external trappings. There is still Holy Week but we celebrate it differently and hopefully more deeply,” Pabillo said.   

While there is no singing of the Pasyon or watching of the senakulo, he said the faithful could do some reflections on the life of Jesus Christ by reading the Gospels from beginning to end. ?Pabillo said the celebration of Chrism mass would be done on the latter weeks when the enhanced community quarantine is already lifted to ensure that the blessing of the sacred oil will be observed.  

The blessing of the sacred oil is an important activity of the Catholic Church during Holy Week as it is the same oil used for baptism, confirmation and ordination and for sick people.  

“The essence of the Last Supper mass on Holy Thursday evening is the institution of both the sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Priesthood. This will be celebrated in the cathedral and in the parish churches, but without the people,” Pabillo revealed. 

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