Predominantly Catholic Philippines will start the observance of Lent on Wednesday with masses, fasting and the sprinkling of ash on the foreheads of the faithful.
On Ash Wednesday, Catholics 14 to 17 years old should abstain from eating meat while those 18 to 59 must both abstain from meat and fast, meaning they should eat just one full meal that day, said Father Reginald Malicdem, rector of the Manila Cathedral.
"Hindi lang po pagsasakrispisyo ang Kwaresma, damihan din naatin pagagwa natin ng mabuti, pagdamay at pagtulong sa ating kapwa," Malicdem said at the end of his morning livestream mass.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, masses will be limited and crosses will not be annointed on foreheads to minimize contact. If you're planning to attend physically, here are some churches offering masses, and how the tradition will be carried out during the pandemic.
MORE ON RELIGION:
For Quiapo Church, a total of 11 masses will be held during Ash Wednesday. Here is the schedule:
- 5 a.m.
- 6:15 a.m.
- 7:30 a.m.
- 8:45 a.m.
- 10 a.m.
- 12:15 p.m.
- 3 p.m.
- 4:15 p.m.
- 5:30 p.m.
- 6:45 p.m.
- 8 p.m.
The Manila Cathedral meanwhile has three mass schedules lined up for Ash Wednesday:
- 7:30 p.m.
- 12:10 p.m.
- 5:30 p.m.
Masses will also be livestreamed for those who choose to stay at home.
How will ashes be distributed?
According to The Vatican's guide to the distribution of ashes, the priest may distribute the ashes to everyone present during the mass, and not necesarily to every person as accustomed during pre-pandemic times.
Instead of mixing the ashes with oil and annointing every person with a cross on the forehead, the ashes may be sprinkled on the head of each individual.
"The priest then cleanses his hands, puts on a face mask and distributes the ashes to those who come to him or, if appropriate, he goes to those who are standing in their places. The Priest takes the ashes and sprinkles them on the head of each one without saying anything," the Vatican's note said.