Priests in the Diocese of Legazpi in the Philippines will be using liquid soap during the “Washing of the Feet” ritual on Holy Thursday.
Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi said using liquid soap will minimize a priest’s contact with the “apostle’s feet” during the pandemic.
“We have been using hard soap (in the past), but this time we’ll use liquid soap to minimize contact with the person’s foot,” said the prelate.
A circular letter released earlier noted that the ceremonial “Washing of the Feet” on Holy Thursday will be done by a priest using “water with liquid soap and providing small towels to each chosen representative.”
“After which, [the priest] has to wash his own hands with alcohol,” read the bishop’s letter to the faithful.
He also “highly encouraged” that representatives will come from frontline workers, such as doctors, nurses, hospital personnel, policemen, and village workers “to highlight a new kind of service especially in this time of pandemic.”
Monsignor Hernando Coronel, rector of Quiapo Church in Manila, said the “Washing of the Feet” in his church will “simplified.”
“Only water and towel, no kissing. Precautions on health observed,” he said, adding that he will wash the feet of only three individuals instead of 12.
“I will wash the feet on Holy Thursday of three senior priests given the first round of vaccination,” said the priest.
Instructions from the Vatican and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines allow a number less than 12 to represent the apostles.
“I am making a statement on praying for speedy vaccination rollout especially for priority sectors,” said Father Coronel.
In the Archdiocese of Manila, the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission said the Washing of the Feet may be “omitted or simplified with a reduced number of people whose feet will be washed.”
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