MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – On Ash Wednesday, millions of Catholic Filipinos will flock to their churches to receive holy ash on their foreheads —a ritual that kicks off the observance of the annual Lenten season.
But as part of the Catholic Church’s precautionary measures in connection with the coronavirus threat, some changes will be implemented this year.
In Caloocan, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David has suggested that instead of marking a cross, dry ash will be sprinkled on people’s foreheads. However, for the protection of priests and other clergy, only church attendees wearing N95 facial masks will be given the sprinkled ash.
Elsewhere, the marking with ash will be totally scrapped in favor of using thermal scanners on people’s foreheads to check for temperature that could be a sign of infection with COVID 19. Those with temperature will be immediately referred to the Department of Health for investigation and possible quarantine. Ambulances will be on standby outside the churches.
A spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines told The Adobo Chronicles that the measures are but part of the Catholic’s commitment to do its share in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
As the bible says, the shepherd will protect his sheep at all cost.