In preparation for Ash Wednesday on Feb. 17, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila (RCAM) advised the Filipino faithful to burn their own palms and smear ashes among themselves.
In a circular to the clergy and religious, RCAM apostolic administrator Manila Bishop Broderick Pabillo announced the “Family Celebration of Ash Wednesday at Home”, prepared by the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission.
“For those who will not be able to go to church for the celebration of Ash Wednesday, we are providing the liturgical celebrations of burning of palms or any dried leaves to ashes and the liturgy of the Ash Wednesday for families at home,” he said.
The Congregation for Divine Worship explained that the celebration is streamlined to comply with Covid19 health measures.
This year, the priest will only say “Repent and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return” once, but it will be applicable to all present. In pre-pandemic times, the priest would say the words to each penitent before daubing their foreheads with ash.
The priest will then cleanse his hands, wear a face mask and distribute ashes to those who approach him or else, go to those standing in place. The ashes will then be sprinkled on the recipient’s forehead.
Last year, ashes were also sprinkled over the head instead of the traditional cross smear on the forehead, in compliance with health protocols.
Photo: UCA News