TRADITIONAL Lenten activities, including the celebrations of the Eucharist and liturgy attended by a large congregation, have been suspended. This was in support of the circular letter on the updated pastoral guidelines on the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic issued earlier by the Archdiocese of Cebu.
The new circular, released on March 25, 2020, covers the liturgical and devotional celebrations during Holy Week, from April 5 to 11.
Signed by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, the circular stated that celebrations during Holy Week will observe the Missa Sine Populo or Masses in the absence of congregation and will be celebrated only by the priests together with a limited number of ministers.
This year’s Chrism Mass, which was scheduled on March 31, has also been moved to a date yet to be determined.
Also suspended are the devotional processions, such as Pasos on either Holy Tuesday or Holy Wednesday, Visita Iglesia on Holy Thursday, the Via Crucis on Fridays of Lent and within the days of the Holy Week, and Santo Entierro and La Soledad on Good Friday.
On Holy Thursday, the altar of repose will no longer be prepared since public vigil is also not allowed. The kissing of the Evangeliary or the Book of the Gospels is discouraged, the circular stated.
The traditional “Sugat,” a reenactment of the pre-dawn meeting of the images of the Risen Christ and Mother Mary, will also not be observed, as well as the 3 a.m. Mass on Easter Sunday.
Aside from the liturgical and devotional celebrations on Holy Week, the circular also issued a call to the faithful to help those who have been affected by Covid-19.
For this purpose, the Archdiocese of Cebu has set up the Archbishop Teofilo Camomot Buhat sa Kalu-oy Program “to provide basic material relief to families and communities at risk during the time of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Palma appealed to his brother-priests, religious sisters and brothers and the lay faithful to contribute generously “for this special contribution to our community.”
“We shall exhaust all our means and capabilities to support and collaborate with the different private sectors and with the lead government agencies especially with the Department of Health and with the Local Governments of both City and the Province of Cebu in solving this pandemic,” Palma stated in the circular. (JCT)