Thursday, 20 February 2020 08:54

Sprinkling of Ashes is not Innovation but Ancient practice--CBCP

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has Recommended the sprinkling of Blessed Ashes instead of Marking Foreheads for Ash Wednesday. This initiative was made through an additional liturgical guidelines to reduce the threat brought about by the transmission of the COVID-19.

File Photo: Archdiocese of Manila – Office of Communications/RCAM-AOC)

In a circular released on Thursday, February 20, the CBCP has strongly recommended that ashes be sprinkled on the crown of the head instead of marking the forehead as a way of reducing the risk of spreading the virus.

“On Ash Wednesday, during the Imposition of Ashes, ashes can be imposed on the faithful by dropping or sprinkling a small portion of blessed ash on the crown of the head of the faithful with the prescribed formula,” CBCP president and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles said in the circular.

The sprinkling of ashes on the head, according to Archbishop Valles, is not an “innovation but in accord with the ancient practice of the Church.” It signifies one’s repentance from sin, “which has marred the grace of Baptism.”

Archbishop Valles also recommended the faithful to refrain from kissing or touching the cross during the veneration on Good Friday. Instead, he asked them to genuflect or to take a bow.

“On Good Friday, during the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord, at the part of the Veneration of the Cross, we strongly recommend also that the faithful refrain from kissing or touching the cross for veneration. Instead, the faithful are requested to genuflect or make a profound bow as they venerate the Cross,” the Archbishop said.

Moreover, more than the ritual, the faithful are reminded about the importance of acts of charity. “As we begin the season of Lent, we are reminded of the constant call for renewal in our Christian life by self-control (fasting and abstinence), generosity and charity (almsgiving) and prayer. Our charity is also expressed in our concern for the well-being of our brothers and sisters, thus our utmost care and efforts towards the prevention of the spread of COVID-19,” Archbishop Valles said.

Earlier, CBCP released guidelines on the prevention of the outbreak of COVID-19 where the faithful are discouraged from holding hands when praying or singing the Our Father and shaking hands during the sign of peace. They also released “Oratio Imperata” to be prayed after Holy Communion.

The Archdiocese of Manila also released on the same day a circular on the Instructions for Liturgical Celebrations on Ash Wednesday following CBCP’s guidelines.

These recommendations are in compliance with the World Health Organizations (WHO) precautions to reduce the risk of spreading the deadly virus and upon the consultation with the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Liturgy Executive Secretary, Rev. Fr. Genaro O. Diwa.

Ash Wednesday falls on February 26, 2020, which marks the beginning of Lent in the Catholic Church. The 40-day season encourages the faithful to do fasting, abstinence, generosity, and charity. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC)



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