LOOK: How the Luzon-wide lockdown changed certain Holy Week traditions

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 10) – With the strict implementation of the Luzon-wide lockdown, Filipino Catholics commemorated Holy Week in not so traditional ways.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) supported the government’s order to help halt the spread of COVID-19 and urged the faithful to observe the most sacred days of the year through online masses.

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But the CBCP’s call did not stop some Catholics from showing their devotion and downplaying the risk of infection, as they went ahead and celebrated in their own way the passion, sacrifice, and death of Jesus Christ on the cross.

On Palm Sunday, April 5, devotees flocked to the locked gates of Quiapo Church to observe the traditional start of the Holy Week.

Every Palm Sunday, churchgoers bring palm fronds to symbolize the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. But with most houses of worship closed, some got a little creative.

A Las Pinas parish for example held a procession inside a village, so that palms held out by residents can be blessed while near the safety of their homes.

Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, held the first-ever Palm Sunday Mass without a congregation in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican City.

On Maundy Thursday, only a handful ventured out to observe the Visita Iglesia, a practice where devotees try to visit different churches and pray parts of the Stations of the Cross.

At the Manila Cathedral, CNN Philippines spotted a couple celebrating their wedding anniversary.

The tradition of the Washing of the Feet on Maundy Thursday, commemorating the Last Supper of Jesus and the institution of the Holy Eucharist, was not observed this year.

The Alay Lakad, where devotees walk barefoot to the Antipolo Cathedral, also did not push through, after the Rizal provincial government ordered a total lockdown on its borders last April 6.

On Good Friday, the most solemn day of the Holy Week, some devotees again tried to show their devotion by praying near the Quiapo Church, but they were dissuaded by uniformed personnel.

Some devotees instead prayed near the Quinta Market, a few meters away from Quiapo Church.

Others held their own procession of the Black Nazarene along Carriedo Street in Manila, with the image placed atop a tricycle.

Some churchgoers were seen praying and lighting candles outside the St. Peter Parish in Commonwealth Avenue.

The quarantine restrictions did not stop some Pasay City residents from holding their Good Friday tradition, a mini procession along Tramo Street.

Popular Holy Week pilgrimage sites like the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan and the National Shrine of Saint Padre Pio in Santo Tomas, Batangas, remained closed on Good Friday.

Another fixture every Good Friday is the crucifixion of carpenter Ruben Enaje in Barangay San Pedro Cutud in San Fernando, Pampanga. But the lockdown ended his 33-year streak of reenacting the sacrifice.

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Despite the limitations brought about by the Luzon-wide lockdown, Filipino Catholics were reminded by Pope Francis that they can commemorate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross by acknowledging God’s boundless love to His people.

“In the risen Jesus, life conquered death. This Paschal faith nourishes our hope. I would like to share it with you this evening. It is the hope of a better time, in which we can be better, finally freed from evil and from this pandemic. It is a hope: hope does not disappoint; it is not an illusion, it is a hope,” said the Pope in his video message last April 4.