The global coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic may have affected the world’s way of life but for the Filipino faithful, the public health emergency will not hinder them from practicing their faith as the Philippines observes the Holy Week.

Despite the cancelation of traditional Lenten activities like the Palm Sunday Mass, Visita Iglesia, Maundy Thursday Washing of the Feet, “Pasyon”, Good Friday Procession, and the Easter Sunday mass, Filipino devotees have opted to pray in their homes and observe these rites in accordance with the guidelines set by the Catholic Bishops Council of the Philippines (CBCP).

UNSHAKEN FAITH. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has launched an online platform where the faithful can convey their online prayer requests. Through the internet and digital technology, the faithful can enrich their spiritual lives through streaming of Masses and other Lenten activities online amid the enhanced community quarantine against the coronavirus disease 2019. (Screenshot from CBCP News website)

Among them is 17-year-old Eddie Rodriguez, a resident of Pandi, Bulacan.

“With the outbreak of Covid-19, a lot of (Holy Week activities) were ordered canceled by the Church and with this, I and my family just opted to pray in our houses using family prayer guides issued by the CBCP along with the (daily) Oratio Imperata and private reading of the ‘Pasyon’,” he said in Filipino.

Meanwhile, Keanu Francois Aquino, 18, also from Pandi, Bulacan, said he and his family decided to take a modern approach on the traditional “Via Crucis” (Way of the Cross) by making Powerpoint presentations of all 14 Stations with accompanying prayers.

Through this, Aquino said they can go about with the tradition without leaving home.

He is also listening to Mass via television or social media in compliance with the government’s social distancing measures.

For 22-year-old Aubrey Cabrera of Pasig City, she said that while the enhanced community quarantine may hinder some Holy Week traditions, it is not an excuse for Filipinos to forget their duties as Christians.

“Alternatives include, but not limited to, attending masses online, making use of holy week-related readings from the internet, and praying sincerely at home. After all, what’s important for this week is that we commemorate Jesus’ journey and sacrifices for us and reflect on our lives,” she added.

For Josel Pambid, 28 Makati City, he said he will be spending Holy Week waiting for online masses and praying with his family due to the enhanced community quarantine.

“And once this (enhanced community quarantine and Covid-19 outbreak is over), we will go out and do our ‘Visita Iglesia’,” he added.

For 48-year-old Mike Frialde of Taguig City, he said he will just contemplate on Jesus, read the Bible, and watch religious films and pray a lot during this Holy Week.

For 41-year-old Kristina Maralit of Quezon City, people must communicate with God on a more personal and spiritual level not just during the Holy Week.

“I don’t wait for Holy Week to express my faith, in my own way. Prayers — those coming from my heart — are my direct lines to God and I can say a prayer anytime, anywhere. Kahit walang seremonya. Kahit wala sa loob ng simbahan (even without ceremony and not inside a church),” she added.

Maralit added that she will also take advantage of this period to reflect.

“I like writing my thoughts down in a journal and then find a Bible passage related to what I’m feeling/thinking at the moment,” she added. (Priam Nepomuceno with reports from Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)