MANILA — The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Friday said it will not issue common guidelines for the observance of Ash Wednesday this year.
CBCP President and Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said the CBCP is leaving it to the judgement of individual bishops.
“We will not be issuing common guidelines as CBCP this year. We will leave that to the judgment of individual bishops. We are merely issuing a special thanksgiving prayer that will be prayed from Feb. 11, World Day of the Sick, until Ash Wednesday, Feb. 22,” David said.
On Jan. 30, the CBCP's 125th Plenary Assembly approved the praying of the “Litany of Gratitude After the COVID pandemic” in all weekday and Sunday Masses from Feb. 11 until Ash Wednedsay, Feb. 22.
The litany replaced the Oratio Imperata Against COVID-19, which the CBCP issued in 2020 during the height of the pandemic.
Over the last few years, the religious body had issued guidelines to Catholic churches as precautions against the coronavirus.
These included the giving of small plastic sachets containing ashes to the faithful, the wearing of face masks, and refraining from holding hands, as church gatherings were limited by the government in 2020 and 2021.
But in 2022, priests were allowed to revert to the imposition of ashes on the forehead of the faithful during Ash Wednesday while sprinkling of ashes on the crown remained an option, according to recommendations issued by the Episcopal Commission on Liturgy.
This, after a drop in COVID-19 cases was observed in the country last year.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period of repentance for Catholics.
The final week of Lent, known as the Holy Week, is considered one of the most important weeks for Catholics, where they recall the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.
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