CBCP suggests sprinkling of ashes on head on Ash Wednesday
MANILA, Philippines – The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) issued additional liturgical guidelines and precautions in a circular to reduce the risk of transmission of the 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV), especially during Holy Week.
In Circular No. 20-06 released on Thursday, February 20, CBCP recommended sprinkling or dropping small portions of blessed ash on the crown of the head during the Imposition of Ashes on Ash Wednesday.
“This is not an innovation but in accord with the ancient practice of Church,” CBCP said in the circular. “In Baptism, we have been anointed on the crown of the head. The ashes to be imposed on the crown signify our repentance from sin, which has marred the grace of Baptism.”
The CBCP also strongly recommended against kissing or touching the cross during the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord on Good Friday. They requested the public to genuflect or make a profound bow instead.
“As we begin the season of Lent, we are reminded of the constant call for renewal in our Christian life by self-control,” the CBCP added, saying that the guidelines were crafted upon consultation with Rev. Fr. Genaro O. Diwa, executive secretary of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Liturgy.
On January 29, the CBCP earlier issued an “oratio imperata” or obligatory prayer against the 2019-nCoV. All its parishes were called on to pray the oratio in “all weekday and Sunday masses, after the Holy Communion, kneeling down” beginning Sunday, February 2.
As of noon on Friday, February 21, a total of 3 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the Philippines. This includes one death and two recoveries. A total of 597 possible cases are currently under investigation. – Rappler.com