Catholic devotees who attended the mass on Ash Wednesday at the St. John the Evangelist Cathedral here received the blessed ash sprinkled on their head instead of the traditional marking of a cross on the forehead amid the threat of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid 19).
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) issued a circular on Feb. 20, which recommends the sprinkling of ash as a preventive measure of the Catholic Church against the pandemic Covid 19.
"This is not an innovation but in accord with the ancient Church," the circular said.
In his homily on Wednesday, Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan Rev. Fr. Gesar Tristan de Vera said Catholics observe the Lent season as a reminder for self control and generosity.
"Fasting and abstinence are connected to alms giving or giving to those who are in great need. Hopefully this Lenten season, we will imitate Jesus who gave everything for us," he said.
Ash Wednesday marks the 40 day intense prayer, fasting, and abstinence of the Catholics as they prepare for Easter.
Meanwhile, the CBCP has also urged the public to refrain from kissing or touching the cross for veneration during Good Friday on April 10 amid Covid 19.
"Instead the faithful are requested to genuflect or make a profound bow as they venerate the Cross," it said.
SOURCE : PHILIPPINES NEWS AGENCY