BISHOPS PROTEST TOTAL LOCKDOWN OF CHURCHES
PANDEMIC DÉJÀ VU: Covid-19 surge impedes Holy Week rites anew

0
1542

Holy Week rites this year will remain restricted as the government banned religious gatherings in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) following a recent surge in Covid-19 cases.

The country’s pandemic task force issued on March 20 its 104th resolution, which specified religious gatherings as prohibited mass-gathering activities from March 22 to April 4—dates the National Capital Region (NCR) and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, collectively named “NCR-Plus,” will remain under GCQ.

This year, Holy Week will be observed from March 28 to April 3.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque on Sunday said only “essential travel” would be allowed within NCR-Plus until April 4.

“Bawal na pong lumabas ng Metro Manila simula [March 22] for Holy Week, kinakailangan essential travel lang po,” he told reporters after being asked if NCR residents were allowed to travel to provinces during Holy Week.

Local government units in NCR, including Manila and Muntinlupa, have also suspended all Holy Week activities.

The restrictions prompted the Santisimo Rosario Parish to hold its Masses exclusively online.

“Regarding Holy Week activities, we will post updates soon,” it said in an advisory.

IMPORTANT ADVISORY!!!You may see/read the IATF Resolution 104 (March 20, 2021) at comment section.

Posted by Santísimo Rosario Parish – UST on Sunday, March 21, 2021

Among rituals and customs observed during Holy Week are penitensya, Visita Iglesia, pabasa, prusisyon and caridad.

Violation of religious freedom?

Caloocan Bishop Pablo David questioned the reinstated restrictions on religious gatherings, saying Churches had been compliant with minimum health protocols amid the pandemic.

“IN SPITE OF OUR ADHERENCE TO STRICT PROTOCOL YOU LOCK DOWN OUR CHURCHES DURING THE HOLIEST TIME OF THE YEAR AND ALLOW 70 PERCENT CAPACITY IN FITNESS CENTERS AND 50 PERCENT IN ESTABLISHMENTS FOR PERSONAL CARE SERVICES, INCLUDING SPAS?!!!  ALL RIGHT. MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOULS!” he wrote in a Facebook post.

IN SPITE OF OUR ADHERENCE TO STRICT PROTOCOL YOU LOCK DOWN OUR CHURCHES DURING THE HOLIEST TIME OF THE YEAR AND ALLOW 70…

Posted by Pablo Virgilio David on Sunday, March 21, 2021

“I was hoping they would at least allow 20- to 30-percent physical attendance in our Churches following strict protocol. But no, they would not even allow us to celebrate Easter on April 4. It came as an instant order and with not even a modicum of dialogue! If this is not a return to… a total lockdown situation, why forbid our religious gatherings? Isn’t this a violation of religious freedom?” he added.

Holy Week in 2020

During the early days of the pandemic in 2020, the Vatican decreed that Easter could not be canceled or postponed because it was “the heart of the entire liturgical year and not simply one feast among others.”

Adhering to the Vatican’s directive, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) instructed dioceses to livestream Holy Week rites, emphasizing Domus Ecclesiae or the “Church of the family.”

Priests went around the streets of their parishes on Palm Sunday to bless palm fronds of the faithful in front of their homes. No Holy Water was used during the blessing, as a precaution.

Chrism Mass was held on Maundy Thursday but only the clergy were allowed inside cathedral churches, observing physical distance, hygiene and sanitation.

For the rite of the “Washing of the Feet,” the CBCP had suggested that it be omitted, or the number of people whose feet would be washed be reduced.

The Visita Iglesia was replaced by the procession of the Blessed Sacrament while the faithful waited at their houses with lighted candles.

Catholics were instructed to follow reflections on the Passion of the Lord on television or the internet before the Veneration of the Cross on Good Friday.

Easter Vigil had a reduced number of readings as allowed by the Roman Missal. The Blessed Sacrament was carried by the presider around the parish, instead of the traditional long procession of the Santo Entierro or the image of the interred Christ.

The faithful were urged to bring a statue of the Blessed Mother at their doors or windows during the Salubong rites at dawn on Easter Sunday.

The Department of Health announced on Monday that the UK and South African Covid-19 variants have had been detected in all cities in Metro Manila.

NCR has 38,268 active Covid-19 cases as of March 21. 

LEAVE A REPLY

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.