Despite the government allowing churches and other religious gatherings in areas under a general community quarantine (GCQ) to operate at 50 percent capacity, it doesn’t look like we’re going to commemorate Holy Week 2021 the way we used to pre-pandemic.
As of this writing, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) led by Manila Apostolic Administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo is still discussing details on how this year’s Holy Week will pan out, what with COVID-19 remaining a public health threat.
“We only have a problem with the ‘Visita Iglesia’ because it’s the people moving around, but we can find a way that they would not need to enter or linger at the church before moving on to the next church,” he said. (Read: 3 Mobile Apps to Help You Observe a Meaningful Lent)
If you prefer to err on the safe side, you can still make Holy Week a meaningful season, through these three Lenten-inspired activities that don’t require you to step out of your home.
Lent at Home: Go on a Virtual Visita Iglesia
Gather the family for two beloved Holy Week traditions: Stations of the Cross and Visita Iglesia. This solemn Virtual Visita Iglesia has you reciting the 14 Stations of the Cross while touring churches all over the Philippines.
Another Virtual Visita Iglesia, this one courtesy of SambuhayTV, takes you to the different churches under the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia, Ilocos Sur. And this Virtual Visita Iglesia by pamana.ph offers a 360-degree view of each church while reciting the Stations of the Cross.
Lent at Home: Hold a Washing of the Feet Ceremony With the Family
The event, which appears in John 13:1-17, finds Jesus getting up from the Last Supper and washing the feet of His disciples then drying them with a cloth wrapped around his waist. The ultimate act of humility that cleanses Christians of their sins is observed in churches during Maundy Thursday. Pope Francis has famously washed and kissed the feet of inmates, migrants, and even Muslims in this moving ceremony. (Read: Pope Francis stuns crowd as he kneels, kisses South Sudanese leaders’ feet)
To organize your own Washing of the Feet at home, explain to family members, particularly to the kids, the meaning behind this act, so they understand and appreciate it. Then, take turns washing each other’s feet. Let siblings wash each other’s or their parents’ or even grandparents’ feet, then let Dad wash Mom’s feet and vice versa. Keep the mood solemn and serious and ask each other what they felt after the activity.
Lent at Home: Prepare Holy Week Dishes Together
In a season of fasting and abstinence, meals must be simple, not excessive, but still taste satisfying. Get the family to help put together a Palm Sundae, Crown of Thorns Crackers, and other Lenten-inspired dishes, or try any of the 30 Pinoy recipes popular during Holy Week. It’s a great way to bond, learn how to cook, and give gratitude to the blessing of food!