Note on Ash Wednesday: Distribution of ashes in time of pandemic
The time of the Pandemic has affected all aspects of our life and even our liturgical celebrations. Since the start of the pandemic we have issued directives and guidelines to help all our pastors and Christian communities in the proper celebration of the liturgy. Our Liturgical celebrations especially the Lenten season, Paschal Triduum and Easter Season of 2020 have been modified to keep the essentials and at the same time to help our faithful experience with solemnity and fruitfulness the Paschal mystery of the Lord.
Again, as we approach the celebrations of the Lenten season and the threat of the spread of Covid-19, we still need to consider and plan our liturgical celebrations according to the recommendations of our health experts and at the same time provide our faithful with solemn and meaningful celebrations according to the requirements of the liturgical principles of the Church.
The recent modifications on Ash Wednesday from the Congregation on Divine Worship confirm the liturgical recommendations we issued for Ash Wednesday 2020. We would like to add that the ashes that will be used for this year’s Ash Wednesday can be from dried branches of leaves of plants or tress. Many parishes will find it difficult to secure old palm branches blessed in the celebration of Palm Sunday of 2020; our celebration last year was in the absence of our people because of the strict lockdown and only few palm branches were blessed on the occasion.
Liturgical guidelines will still be issued as we see the developments of the pandemic and the roll-over of the vaccines in the coming weeks and months.
We continue to pray for the healing of many and the end of the pandemic. We thank God for the gift the vaccines. We pray for the wisdom and compassion for our government leaders in the just and equitable distribution of the vaccines.
Most Rev. Victor Bendico, D.D.
Chairman, CBCP Episcopal Commission on Liturgy
Bishop of Baguio
14 January 2021
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