In 2020, the Catholic Church has decided to forgo some religious activities for the Holy Week as the resurgence in COVID-19 cases in the country exposes the faithful to greater risk of infection.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is cancelling processions, Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP’s public affairs committee, confirmed.
Secillano said they are aware that processions attract crowds, so in order to spare more Filipinos from contracting the virus, the CBCP felt compelled to cancel the religious activity in all parts of the country. Secillano said that churches will also strictly observe the allowed 30-percent seating capacity for religious gatherings.
The priest expressed optimism that this year’s observance of Holy Week would still be better than last year’s when the lockdown prevented people from physically attending masses or even visiting the church.
Fr. Douglas Badong, parochial vicar of Quiapo Church, said that they do not see any problem with government-imposed restrictions that would limit Holy Week activities for as long as physical attendance to masses is allowed.
“We understand their (government’s) request. It won’t make less of the Holy Week observance since they’re allowing people to participate in activities inside the church, so we will continue to do it. We also want to help keep our faithful safe in their exercise of the faith during Holy Week and, of course, with strict compliance to the health protocols,” Badong said in Filipino.
Quiapo Church continues the strict implementation of social distancing and the wearing of face masks and face shields in its premises.
Churchgoers are also barred from entering the church if they have fever and if they violate government-imposed protocols in any way.
With additional reports: Robertzon Ramirez, The Philippine Star
Photo Sources: sunstar.com.ph, vaticannews.va, cbcpnews.net