The coronavirus pandemic has affected not only the lives of Filipinos but even their traditional religious practices. On February 17, Ash Wednesday, priests sprinkled ashes on the crown of the head of the faithful instead of marking it on the forehead.
Despite health restrictions due to the pandemic, Filipino devotees flocked to churches across the country to observe the start of the Lenten season. Some parishes distributed ashes to people for those who cannot go to church.
“Because of the pandemic, people have learned to recognize and value again the things that truly matter in life, such as the presence of God, quality time with family, personal health care, respect to the environment and compassion to others,” said Father Hans Magdurulang of the San Felipe Neri church in Mandaluyong City.
The coronavirus infections in the Philippines has already surpassed 550,000, the second highest number in Southeast Asia after Indonesia, with a nationwide death toll of more than 11,500.