On Palm Sunday, priests urged to bless in the streets

On Palm Sunday, priests urged to bless in the streets

By CBCP News

March 21, 2020

Manila, Philippines

On Palm Sunday, priests can go around the streets to bless the palms carried by the faithful who wait in their homes, the Catholic hierarchy said.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) published guidelines on Friday for bishops and priests on the celebration of the Holy Week during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a circular, the CBCP stated that the faithful who will be following the celebration online or on TV may hold their palm branches while the priest passes along and recites the prayer of blessing of palms.

“In this case, those who follow the celebration on TV, there is no need for Holy Water to bless the Palm branches,” the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said.

After the Mass, the CBCP recommended that priests can go around the streets of the parish to bless the palms of the faithful who wait in front of their homes, “without using holy water”.

The CBCP warned that the blessing with holy water “might cause commotion”.

“The priest makes the sign of the cross as he passes through the streets,” part of the circular reads, as “the Lector reads the Passion Narrative along the way”.

The CBCP also suggested to parishes to use sound system to make people aware that the priest is passing by.

“All of these must be done with only two to three ministers to accompany the priests. This is to avoid gathering of people,” the CBCP suggested.

This year’s Palm Sunday falls on April 5, which is a commemoration of Jesus Christ’s humble and triumphant entry to Jerusalem, only to be crucified later by the very people who welcomed him.

Popular tradition include processions with palm branches and the blessing of palms.

Several bishops across the country have already suspended public Masses and other religious activities.

Archbishop Romulo Valles, CBCP President, stressed that “social distancing” is a “necessity” in this time of pandemic to stem the transmission of the virus.

He said that the CBCP guidelines aims “to keep a balance” of the centrality of the Paschal Triduum and the demands of the measure to prevent the spread of the disease.