As Catholics around the world observe the season of Lent and anticipate its culmination on Holy Week (March 28 to April 4), the Philippine government has announced that all religious gatherings in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal will not be allowed for the next two weeks.
On Sunday, March 21, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) announced that Metro Manila and the four other provinces will be on a ‘heightened’ general community quarantine (GCQ) from March 22 to April 4. (Read: Here are the GCQ Restrictions for NCR, Rizal, Laguna, etc.)
This means religious gatherings — including observances for Holy Week — will be prohibited. Baptisms, weddings, and funerals in these areas, however, will be still be allowed but only with a maximum of 10 people.
Holy Week 2021
Earlier in February, the Vatican issued a new set of guidelines for the observance of Holy Week 2021. The amendments were made in light of the ongoing threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Many countries still have strict lockdown conditions in force, rendering it impossible for the faithful to be present in the church,” the Vatican said. “While in others, a more normal pattern of worship is being resumed.” (Read: 4 Ways to Observe Holy Week While on Lockdown)
To address these differences in COVID-19 restrictions around the world, the Vatican is urging all Catholic bishops to develop local protocols for this year’s Holy Week from March 28 to April 4. Specifically, local bishops must distribute prayer aids among families, facilitate media coverage of the Holy Week liturgies, and encourage the faithful who are unable to go to the church to “follow the diocesan celebrations as a sign of unity.”
For the complete guidelines for the observance of Holy Week 2021, click here.