Rising COVID-19 cases compels Muntinlupa LGU to suspend Holy Week activities

Published March 19, 2021, 3:26 PM

by Jonathan Hicap

Concerned by the increasing number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, the local government of Muntinlupa City has ordered the suspension of all activities related to the celebration of Holy Week except for the Holy Mass.

Palm Sunday celebration at Ina ng Awa Parish in NBP Reservation, Poblacion, Muntinlupa (CBCP News/Johann Mangussad/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Mayor Jaime Fresnedi has issued Executive Order No. 8 on March 18 barring Holy Week activities from March 29, Palm Sunday to April 4, Easter Sunday.

The mayor said, “It is imperative to impose restrictions on the movement of people as a result of the recent surge in the number of COVID-19 infections in Metropolitan Manila, as well as a consequence of the shared border between the City of Muntinlupa and the City of San Pedro, Province of Laguna, the Cities of Bacoor and Dasmariñas, Province of Cavite, wherein the latter territories have a less restrictive Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) classification than the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) in Metropolitan Manila.”

According to Fresnedi, “all activities in relation to the observance of Holy Week, involving a gathering, an assembly, or a congregation shall be suspended.”

The Holy Mass will be allowed but only up to 30 percent capacity of the church. The immediate vicinity of the church will be allowed to be occupied by people but health protocols will be implemented.

In the order, the suspended activities related to the Holy Week celebration are:

  • Blessing of palm fronds during Palm Sunday Mass held and carried by the faithful whose number exceed the capacity allowed by current regulations. In no circumstance shall the Parish Priest, or similarly-situated person in authority, ease the rule on social distancing, whether held within the walls of the parish church, the chapel, and adjacent patio, courtyard or parking area;
  • Pabasa, whether held on parish grounds or in the privacy of homes or compounds;
  • Senakulo, or any similarly-situated re-enactment of Passion and Death of Jesus Christ;
  • Washing of the Feet during the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday, which shall be ceremonial and shall not involve participants;
  • Visita Iglesia;
  • Stations of the Cross, which shall be held virtually;
  • Alay Lakad, the traditional physical march or walk of devotees leading to the Santo Sepulcro in Barangay Landayan. City of San Pedro;
  • Penitencia, or the act of self-flagellation;
  • Prusisyon, or the act of transporting an image or images of veneration from the parish church and return, followed by devotees, and this prohibition includes motorcades;
  • Salubong, or the Easter meeting between the Risen Christ and Mary, His Mother.

The said order also stated, “In no circumstance shall the Parish Priest or the person in authority discontinue all disinfection activities. Vigilance in maintaining sanitized surroundings shall be observed.”

Churches are also mandated to use the StaySafe application for contact tracing when they allow people to enter their premises.