Well-wishes as Filipino Catholics observe Ash Wednesday under loose restrictions

March 2, 2022 - 7:48 PM
Ash Wednesday
People wearing face masks as protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) gather outside the church to receive an ash cross on their forehead, after an Ash Wednesday mass, at Baclaran Church, in Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines, March 2, 2022. (Reuters/Lisa Marie David)

Filipino Roman Catholics expressed as gratitude on social media as the community began the celebration of the 40-day Lenten Season with Ash Wednesday.

The Catholic faithful on March 2 visited churches to physically observe the occasion which includes receiving ash crosses on their foreheads.

This was the first time in almost two years that they received the ashes on their forehead instead of having them sprinked on the top of their heads as part of anti-COVID measures.

It is also the second day since COVID-19 Alert Level 1, also called the “new normal,” was imposed on Metro Manila and other areas.

This means no restrictions on venue capacities but people have to comply with minimum health protocols such as mask-wearing, regular handwashing and observing good ventilation practices.

Meanwhile, the keyword “Ash Wednesday” trended on local Twitter as Catholics observed the occasion.

“A blessed Ash Wednesday,” TikTok content creator Fr. Fiel Pareja said with a holding hands emoji.

“Blessed Ash Wednesday! Love, light, and courage to everyone fighting their own battles today,” sociologist Ash Presto wrote with emojis of folding hands and revolving hearts.

“Let us hand over all the fears and concerns that are in our hearts to God. Wishing you the very best on this Ash Wednesday,” another Filipino tweeted.

“Ash Wednesday. A reminder that everything will turn into ash someday… even our worries and pain,” a different Twitter user shared.

Sportscaster Gretchen Ho shared a picture of the Church of the Gesù in Ateneo where she attended mass.

Ash Wednesday is one of the most important days in the liturgical calendar as it opens Lent, a season of fasting, reflection and prayer for Catholics.

This is observed by placing crosses on the forehead made of ash.

The ash symbolizes the dust from which God made man. It also symbolizes grief to note that the receiver has sinned.

Readings from the second century said that the wearing of ashes is a sign of penance.

The ashes used in the church are made from blessed palm branches taken from the past year’s Palm Sunday mass.