ASH WEDNESDAY. A lay minister applies ash on the forehead of a mass attendee at the Manila Cathedral on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 26, 2020). The Manila Cathedral is one of the churches that stuck to the traditional marking of the cross on the faithful's foreheads amid the threat of the Covid-19. (PNA photo by Ferdinand Patinio)

MANILA – Several churches in Manila opted to follow the traditional marking of the cross on the forehead of the faithful during the celebration of Ash Wednesday.

Priests and lay ministers at the Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church, and the Quiapo Church chose to mark the forehead of the people instead of the recommendation of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to sprinkle the ash on the crown of the head of mass goers.

The two methods of applying ash on the faithful have drawn mixed reactions from the public.

Cecilia Montes, 46, said she prefers the traditional way of commemorating the occasion.

Mas gusto ko pahid, 'yung traditionally ang gusto. Mas naramdaman mo ‘yung essence ng (I prefer it being manually applied. I am for the traditional way. This way, I will feel the essence of) Ash Wednesday,” she said.

Brandon Pura, 29, from Quezon City, also shared Montes' view.

Gusto ko din ‘yung paglagay ng Krus sa noo. Yun na kasi ang nakasanayan, tradisyon na sa ating mga Katoliko (I want the cross being applied on the forehead. This is what we are accustomed to. It's the tradition of the Catholics),” he added.

On the other hand, Mario Reyes, 35, from Binondo, Manila, supported the suggestion of the CBCP.

Suportahan ko yung pag-sprinkle ng abo. Mas safe (especially) sa panahon ng (coronavirus disease 2019). Hindi na daw ito bago, sabi ni Father (I support the sprinkling of the ash. It is safe especially now that we have the Covid-19. Father said there is nothing new about this),” he said.

The CBCP's suggestion to sprinkle ash is part of precautionary measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.

“On Ash Wednesday, during the Imposition of Ashes, ashes can be imposed on the faithful by dropping or sprinkling a small portion of blessed ash on the crown of the head of the faithful with the prescribed formula,” according to Circular No. 20-06 issued by CBCP president Archbishop Romulo Valles on February 20.

The three churches are under the Manila archdiocese.

The Archdiocese of Manila earlier said its priests have the option to follow the tradition of implement the CBCP's recommendation.

Ash Wednesday marks the start of the 40-day season of Lent which commemorates the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (PNA)