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COVID-19 WATCH

Holy Week rites close to public

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Strength in solitude Pope Francis prays in S. Marcello al Corso church, where there is a miraculous crucifix that in 1552 was carried in a procession around Rome to stop the great plague. The Vatican said that its traditional Easter week celebrations would be held this year without worshippers due to the coronavirus. “Because of the current global public health emergency, all the liturgical celebrations of Holy Week will take place without the physical presence of the faithful,” the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household said in a statement. VATICAN MEDIA/Agence France-Presse

Catholic prelates in Metro Manila, ground zero of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic in the country, have suspended Holy Week activities scheduled next month in response to the declaration of the government putting entire Luzon in an enhanced community quarantine to stop the spread of the disease.

In a Pastoral Statement of the Bishops of Metro Manila issued Monday, the heads of the archdiocese, dioceses, and Military Vicariate in the country have agreed to cancel the Holy Week activities such as Palm Sunday, Visita Iglesia, Siete Palabras, Good Friday procession and Easter Sunday “salubong.”

“Since the dates for the Metro Manila Community Quarantine will coincide with the last three Sundays of Lent and Holy Week, it would mean that the liturgical celebrations during this days, including Palm Sunday, the rest of the Holy Week and Easter Sunday will not be open to the public,” it said.

The faithful are encouraged to stay home and follow the said activities on television, radio or online.

Pray Rosary

“The faithful are called upon to pray the Rosary as it is a good prayer to meditate on the mysteries of the life of the Lord that we intensely celebrate in the universal Church during the Holy Week,” it said.

The observance of Holy Week this year is from 5 April, Palm Sunday, until 12 April, Easter Sunday.

At the same time, clergy members and local government units are urged to give donations for the poor people and workers that are affected.

“The month-long community quarantine will affect the poor and the daily wage earners heavily. Let our parishes and church institutions, in close coordination with their local government units, be creative in going out of their way to help the people in their basic needs. We appeal for donations to help the poor and the sick,” it added.

The prelates also reiterated their call for the churches to ring their bells at 12 noon and 8 p.m. to call the faithful to pray the Oratio Imperata together with the praying of the Angelus at noon and the family rosary in the evening.

Vigilance urged

“Our present situation is fluid. For the moment these are our common actions in our dioceses. Other developments and subsequent instructions may come in the future. Let us be vigilant. We offer to the Lord the difficulties and uncertainties that confront us in the spirit of Lent, which is the spirit of fervent prayer, penance, and generosity. We assured of Easter. Life will overcome death. This virus will pass us by,” the Church leaders added.

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