CEBU Archbishop Jose Palma urged the faithful to devote the Holy Week, “a week so solemn compared to the rest,” to intense prayer and devotion to faith.
In a mass held for the Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion on Sunday, March 28, 2021, at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Palma called on the faithful to give time to reflect on the real essence of Holy Week.
“I hope that we give time to be united in reflecting in His solemn words,” he said.
Palma said the commemoration of the Holy Week presents various paradoxes such as the paradox of glory and suffering as he related this to the current coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic the world is facing.
With God’s grace, Palma said, the church looks forward to overcoming all the challenges as it remembers all of those who fought against and lost to Covid-19.
He also mentioned the situation in Myanmar, whose people, he said, are anxious and afraid for their safety because of the civil war.
“As we enter the Holy Week, we, too, may be holy and focus our gaze on the Crucified Christ, who is our hope, strength and consolation,” he said.
The prelate asked the faithful to be understanding of the changes applied in this year’s Holy Week celebration amid the health crisis.
“Normally, at the end of mass we have the Visita Iglesia. But because of the spike in Covid-19 cases, we ask of you, please understand that there will be no Visita Iglesia,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
“Nasiguro ko unta gusto nato, pero gilikayan nato ang pagpundok sa daghang mga tawo (We are just trying to prevent any mass gathering),” he added.
Palma invited the faithful to witness virtual reflections for the Seven Last Words of Jesus on Good Friday, April 2.
He also thanked local government units in Cebu for allowing parishes under the Archdiocese of Cebu to celebrate religious activities even though only 50 percent church capacity is allowed. (WBS)