Nourish your faith this Holy Week, but do it at home

Published March 21, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

E CARTOON Jan 12, 2020
Two weeks from today, it will be Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week traditionally celebrated with  big crowds of the faithful  waving  palm leaves  – coconut  fronds  in  the Philippines – in commemoration of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

There will  be  no such crowds this year, not here  in the Philippines  and not in the Vatican itself, in all of Italy, in Spain,   and the rest of Europe. As early as last March 7, Pope  Francis  announced  that he will no longer be appearing  from  the window of his study overlooking  St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, in order to discourage  crowds from gathering.

Churches all over the world have  since  followed  his example. Churches  remain  open  but  the people are asked not to gather in them  as much as possible in the face of the  coronavirus.  Europe  has become the epicenter of the pandemic, according  to the World Health Organization, after it  appeared to have  been  abated in China.  Italy has the most cases  in Europe,  followed by Spain,  France, Germany,  and now new cases have been  reported in the rest of Europe, in Australia, in North and South America, and in Asia,

The United States,  the world’s   top national economy, said   last week that  all its 50 states now have Covid-19 cases,  as West Virginia reported its first  one.  The  US reported  over  13,000 cases with over 200 deaths as of Wednesday   and its Centers for Disease Control  banned  gatherings of more  than  ten people and urged people to avoid going to public places like parks, gyms, and restaurants.

These are basically the same  instructions issued  by President Duterte for the  people of the Philippines, starting  with the lockdown or quarantine for  Metro Manila on March 15,  followed  the next day  by all of Luzon, and finally a  state  of calamity  for the entire country.

The  reason  for all these  restrictions is that Covid-19 virus  is known to spread  from  person  to person through droplets in the breath of an infected person. The contagion  will  stop  when  the virus can no longer  transfer  to  a  new  victim. This Is the reason   people must  avoid physical  contact  and  maintain   “social distancing.”

It  is hoped that  with the presidential  orders  closing most government offices and business enterprises, and stopping  all public transportation, people will  stay  home and thus avoid that  physical  contact that  makes it possible for the virus to find a new host.

The Christian world  will celebrate  Holy Week  this year, for it is at  the center of  the  faith, but  the Church  is one with the governments around the world in the efforts  to  stop the spread  of  the coronavirus.  The Pope set the tone when  he  stopped  his direct  messages  from  his window   to the people massed in St.  Peter’s Square and   began issuing his messages  on television instead.

For this  coming Holy Week, the Church led by  Pope Francis has  therefore issued the message  to the faithful  everywhere:     Nourish your  spiritual  life  with  Masses  and prayer, but do  it at home.