By ZENIT Staff

Catholic priests in the Philippines marked Palm Sunday by going around the streets to bless palm fronds as most areas are under lockdown or strict quarantine due to the threat of the coronavirus, reported CBCP News.

The move was part of the precaution imposed by church authorities to stem the spread of the virus by avoiding mass gatherings.

Public Masses have been suspended across the country since last month as cases of Covid-19 continues to creep upwards in the country.

In many parishes, photos surfaced online showing priests sprinkling holy water or making the sign of the cross to bless the palm fronds of Catholics waiting outside their homes.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of Manila, said liturgical activities this year will be a lot different “but Holy Week must continue”.

He said that Catholics in many parts of the world may miss the “externalities” of the celebrations but “this may be a good chance for us to go into the essence of what we are doing”.

“There is always a bright side in what is happening even in this Covid-19 pandemic,” Pabillo said in his homily during a streamed Mass from the Manila Cathedral.

The bishop encouraged the Catholics to use their time at home to undergo deep reflection and prayer as they unite in the suffering of Jesus.

According to him, the last three weeks have been difficult especially for the country’s poor population.

“Can we also love Him that much in return by offering our sufferings to Him and for our brothers and sisters?” appealed Pabillo.

As of April 4, the total number of Covid-19 cases has jumped to 3,094 with 144 deaths and 57 recoveries.

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