HomeNewsPhilippine Catholic parishes, dioceses prepare for Ash Wednesday observance

Philippine Catholic parishes, dioceses prepare for Ash Wednesday observance

Ash Wednesday marks the start of the Lenten Season, which is a 40-day period of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving in the Catholic Church

Catholic dioceses and parishes in the Philippines are getting ready for the observance of Ash Wednesday, the official start of the Lenten season, this week.

In Manila’s Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, everything has been prepared, from the ashes that will be used to the rituals that will be performed.

“We are ready,” said Father Douglas Badong, parochial vicar of the church in Manila’s Quiapo district.




The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has earlier reminded priests to follow health protocols in the observance of Ash Wednesday on February 17.

Father Badong said priests have been told to sprinkle ashes on the head of the faithful to avoid contact during the time of the pandemic.

Ashes are usually imposed on the forehead of the faithful during Ash Wednesday but this has changed since last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In Quiapo, the faithful need not fall in line to receive the ashes. Priests and lay ministers will approach the faithful to sprinkle the ashes.

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Father Badong said the church in Quiapo is ready to accommodate more people after authorities eased health restrictions in the capital.

Starting February 15, churches in Manila will be allowed to open up to 50 percent of their capacity for worshippers.

Aside from sprinkling ashes on the head of the faithful, Church leaders have also thought of using cotton balls in applying ashes on the forehead.

Filipino Catholics attend Mass in Manila during the observance of Ash Wednesday. On March 13, the Manila Archdiocese announced that public Mass celebrations will be suspended March 14 – 20. (Photo by Basilio Sepe)

In his “Notes on the Ash Wednesday Celebration,” Bishop Victor Bendico of the Episcopal Commission on the Liturgy said the minister, with the aid of a cotton ball dipped into the vessel of the blessed ashes, “traces the cross on the forehead of the faithful.”

“The minister uses a different cotton ball for each of the faithful,” he added.

Bishop Bendico said the faithful will also be allowed to bring ashes to their family members who cannot go to church on February 17.

“It is recommended that the faithful, who could come to church to participate in our Ash Wednesday celebration, be given a small plastic sachet containing blessed ashes that they, in turn, can impose to their family members,” said the bishop.

Those who cannot go to church can also join the celebration of the Mass of Ash Wednesday on television or online.

“They, then, receive the ashes from family members, who were able to go to church for the celebration and will bring home ashes for them,” said Bishop Bendico.

Ash Wednesday marks the start of the Lenten Season, which is a 40-day period of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving in the Catholic Church.

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