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For the first time, pilgrims and Catholic devotees can no longer visit Mt. Calvary in Sta. Lourdes this year, the most popular Lenten destination in Puerto Princesa City where pilgrims do the Station of the Cross and other penitential rites.
In adherence to the guidelines of the national government, the Sons and Daughters of Mother Mary, the organization that manages and maintains the pilgrim site, is no longer holding any of the usual activities conducted every Lenten season such as the Way of the Cross, the Senakulo, Holy Masses and the joyous Easter celebration.
According to Virgie Gapuz of the said organization, they are cooperating with the authorities and following all measures for the safety of the public against COVID-19, even an online Mass will not be celebrated this year in Mt. Calvary since the association is supporting the Facebook live Masses happening at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral.
Gapuz discouraged the public not to try visiting the Mt. Calvary this holy week, even though the site is open for some who still wish to say prayers as to continue the “panata” or commitment, but only if they will be allowed by the authorities.
“Pag makalusot ka sa checkpoint siguro private devotion lang,” Gapuz said.
Meanwhile, Bishop Socrates Mesiona of the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa told Palawan Daily News that aside from the scheduled live streaming of Masses at the Cathedral, two processions are scheduled on Maundy Thursday and Black Friday, but these are not traditional processions as there is a limit as to the number of people to join.
The Thursday procession is with the Blessed Sacrament and on Good Friday, the Nazarene is the one set to go out of the cathedral.
“I-ikot lang yung blessed sacrament, isasakay sa pick up and then da-daan sa mga chapel, wala namang prosisyong mangyayari,” Mesiona said. The Vicariate also announced some guidelines for those who will watch their Holy Masses at home by lighting a candle and putting a Bible near their phone or monitor as the Mass progresses.
“Sumasabay din sa pandemya ng coronavirus itong panahon ng kuwaresma, magandang tingnan natin ito in the eyes of faith, tulad ng nangyari kay Kristo, sa pagsubok sa buhay nya, yung suffering nya na it will end on Easter Sunday, yung triumph nya. The message is, there is hope sa gitna ng dinanas natin, wag tayo mawalan ng pag-asa, manalangin tayo sa diyos at malalampasan din natin ito,” Bishop Mesiona said when asked for his message on this year’s Lent.