Can Filipino Catholics Now Receive Ash Crosses on Ash Wednesday?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ash Wednesday tradition of Filipino Catholics has been halted in accordance with the country’s safety guidelines. In 2020 and 2021, it can be recalled that priests sprinkled dry ash on top of the head of churgoers.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) reportedly announced that faithfuls will now be allowed to receive ash crosses again. Although, the sprinkling of ashes will still be an available option.

This is based on the guidelines issued by the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Liturgy on February 22 which was made public on Saturday.

Signed by chairperson Bishop Victor Bendico, the statement reads:

“The formula for the imposition of ashes ‘Repent, and believe in the Gospel,’ or ‘Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return’ is said only once applying it to all in general. We will revert to the imposition of ashes on the forehead of the faithful.”

“We have been reminded last year that this option is an ‘opportunity to catechize our people on both the penitential and baptismal characters of the Lenten season…”

The CBCP also assured that they will continue to strictly implement health protocols in the observance of Lent.

“We abide by the stringent policy of the government on social distancing and the use of face masks during church services. We continue to sanitize our churches every after liturgical celebrations and provide alcohol for the sanitation of our faithful.”

Ash Wednesday falls on March 2 this year.

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