MANILA, Philippines – The Catholic Church, according to the guidelines it released on Saturday, has allowed the marking of crosses on foreheads of the faithful for this year’s Ash Wednesday on March 2.
The symbolic practice has been temporarily halted amid the coronavirus pandemic, and has been replaced since then by the sprinkling of ashes on the head to lessen contact.
However, this option remains acceptable as said in the guidelines, as it also represents the penitential and baptismal characters of the Lenten season.
“In Baptism, we have been anointed on the crown of the head. The ashes to be smeared on the crown signify our repentance from sin, which has marred the grace of Baptism,” the statement said.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Liturgy (CBCP-ECL) also included in the guidelines that the formula for the imposition of ashes “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” is said only once, “applying it to all in general”.
As another option for old palm branches blessed during Palm Sunday last year, the Episcopal Commission also allows dried leaves of plants or trees to be burned for the occasion.
In line with the anticipated large crowd, the Episcopal Commission reminded churches that they should have enough ministers and ashes, and that health protocols will be complied with.
Source: Philippine News Agency