How to celebrate Ash Wednesday amid the pandemic

CNN – Published Feb 14, 2021 7:05:54 PM

Metro Manila – The Catholic church has modified the celebration of Ash Wednesday this year amid the ongoing pandemic.

The Congregation for the Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments has recently recommended that priests should sprinkle the ashes on the forehead without speaking a word.

“The priest then cleanses his hands, puts on a face mask and distributes the ashes to those who come to him or, if appropriate, he goes to those who are standing in their places. The priest takes the ashes and sprinkles them on the head of each one without saying anything,” read the note dated Jan. 12.

However, the government only allows 30% capacity in church activities and other religious activities.

With this, some churches have encouraged the Catholic faithful to observe the tradition in the comfort of their homes.

“For those who will not be able to go to church for the celebration of Ash Wednesday, we are providing the liturgical celebrations for the burning of palms or any dried leaves to ashes and the liturgy of Ash Wednesday for families at home,” said Manila Apostolic Administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo in a circular.

Meanwhile, the diocese of Cubao and the archdiocese of Cebu shared online the prayer guide for the celebration of Ash Wednesday in homes.

The Cubao diocese also said that small quantities of blessed ashes can be distributed at homes or obtained from churches.

In the absence of ashes, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said that old palm branches or any dried branches of leaves of plants or trees can be burned.

The ash could be placed by families on their foreheads.

The Ash Wednesday, which will fall on Feb. 17, marks the start of the Lenten season.


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