The archdiocese said that the churches will be off-limits to the congregation on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Black Saturday.
STAR/Miguel de Guzman, file
Church off-limits Thursday to Saturday
Rowena D. Capistrano, Lorraine L. Ecarma (The Freeman) - April 5, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The celebration of the Eucharist and the liturgy with a large number of congregation will be suspended in Cebu this Holy Week, the archdiocese announced.

This means that the Holy Week observance will be made via “Missa Sine Populo” or Mass in the absence of the congregation and celebrated only by the priest/s together with a few ministers.

All these celebrations, the archdiocese said in a circular, are carried out inside the church or in a suitable place but away from large crowds of faithful.

The archdiocese said that the churches will be off-limits to the congregation on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Black Saturday.

The Palm Sunday, which commemorates Jesus Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, will be celebrated using the “second form” only, that is, the “solemn entrance.” The priest will stand at his chair in the sanctuary and celebrate the commemoration of the Lord’s entry.

The ministers who will represent the faithful will then hold their palm branches while the prayer of blessing is said. The use of holy water is not needed since both prayer and Scripture provide the blessing, the circular said.

According to the circular, the liturgical celebrations will only be attended by the priest, assisted by a minimal number of ministers: eight altar servers, two lectors, a cantor of the Psalm, and five ministers of the music ministry.

The sacrament of penance, including confessions and general absolution, is discouraged except for grave reasons.

The Chrism Mass this year, which was supposedly scheduled for March 31, has been postponed as well.

Popular piety, devotions

In addition, the following devotional processions will not be observed: Via Crusis 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, Sugat at dawn of Easter Sunday.

The restrictions als covers the home visitations done by the äpostles.”

Vigils with the public are not observed anymore on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

On Holy Thursday, the kissing of the Evangeliary or the Book of the Gospels is discouraged.  Likewise, the explanatory rites of the washing of the feet may be omitted or simplified by reducing the number of ministers whose feet are to be washed.

On Good Friday, the archdiocese said that the liturgy of the Passion of the Lord will be celebrated in the usual manner and trhe passion narrative proclaimed well and solemenly.

Invoking our lady’s help

Meanwhile, amid the COVID-19 crisis being faced by our nation, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia enjoined all Cebuanos to stream the Palm Sunday mass and unite during the veneration of the Island of Cebu to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of the province of Cebu.

“Sa misa nga i-selebrar sa atong archbishop, Archbishop Jose Palma, ato usab i-consecrate ang whole Island of Cebu to Our Lady of Guadalupe,” she said.

“Moadto ko sa cathedral upon invitation of Archbishop Palma, kay aron pagkahuman sa kalawat, anaha nato i-consecrate ang Sugbo sa atong mahal nga Birhen,” she added.

An emotional Garcia further said she hopes for Cebu to unite in this time of crisis through prayer and veneration for protection against COVID-19.

“Niining panahon nga kita nag-atubangbug dakong hagit, magkuyog kitang tanan mga Sugboanon. Sugbo, kuyogi ako nga kita mangaliyupo sa mahal nga Birhen, Our Lady of Guadalupe, nga proteksyonan niya ang Sugbo,” she said.   KQD (FREEMAN)

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