Alternative ways to celebrate Holy Week amid the pandemic, according to CBCP

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 26)— With COVID-19 cases in the country still rising, the Catholic faithful are encouraged to find safer, alternative ways to celebrate the upcoming Holy Week.

Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines Public Affairs, on Friday said the group welcomes the latest government resolution allowing once-a-day church gatherings at 10% capacity.

But due to attendance limit and the lingering virus threat, he urged churchgoers and officials alike to come up with different ways to hold the annual religious traditions.

Here are some tips for Filipino Catholics to safely celebrate the Lenten season:

Virtual Visita Iglesia

In an interview with CNN Philippines' Newsroom Ngayon, Secillano said the faithful can still observe the traditional Visita Iglesia and visit seven different churches virtually.

Last year, the CBCP also launched on its website a 360-degree interactive tour of different churches.

Station of the Cross at home

Practicing the Station of the Cross at home is also an option, Secillano noted.

"Hindi naman kinakailangang nagpapalipat-lipat sila ng station," he pointed out. "Ang mahalaga dito, 'yung prayers at tsaka 'yung intentions natin."

[Translation: They are not required to switch stations. Our prayers and intentions are more important.]

Simple sacrifices

Another Filipino tradition for the Holy Week is the "penitensya" or penance.

Secillano said a way to practice this is to make some sacrifices like quitting a vice, among others.

Charitable acts

The church official underscored the importance of helping fellow Filipinos, especially those struggling amid the pandemic.

Online masses until Easter Sunday

Secillano reiterated that masses will be streamed on digital channels and social media pages of different churches until Easter Sunday.

He also reminded the different dioceses as well as those who can physically attend masses to follow minimum health protocols and government regulations.