Mass attendance at the National Shrine of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, popularly known as the Antipolo Cathedral, in Antipolo City has increased since the Lenten season started on Ash Wednesday last week.
Fr. Reynante Tolentino, shrine rector of the Antipolo Cathedral, told Manila Bulletin that the morning Mass for the first Tuesday of Lent was attended by more or less 300 churchgoers inside the cathedral.
There were also others who did not enter the church and instead stayed at the grounds of the church.
During the first Sunday of Lent, March 6, the cathedral held Masses at 50 percent capacity inside and at almost 70 percent capacity at the churchyard, as mandated by the Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
During weekdays, Masses are held at 6 a.m., 8 a.m, 12 noon, 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., while Sunday Masses are at 6 a.m., 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m., and 8 p.m.
Tolentino also announced that the traditional penitential walk, popularly known as “Alay Lakad” -- the practice of millions of pilgrims trekking from Quiapo Church in Manila to the Antipolo Cathedral during Holy Thursday towards Good Friday -- will be cancelled again this year as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Masses, confessions and other church activities at the cathedral during Lent, however, will push through, according to Fr. Tolentino.
Since February, the cathedral has been holding daily praying of the Holy Rosary for peace in Ukraine and the whole world from Monday to Sunday at 7 a.m.
Prior to the pandemic, around three to four million pilgrims used to troop to the cathedral to attend Masses on Good Friday alone.
Busloads of pilgrims coming from various places in Metro Manila and nearby provinces go to Antipolo to attend Masses at the cathedral during Maytime pilgrimage season from May to July. (Nel Andrade)