During Lenten Season, Catholics enter into a period of fasting, almsgiving, and praying in preparation for the Holy Week where Christ's passion, death, and resurrection are remembered and celebrated. Easter Sunday—besides its grandiose traditional activities and elaborate liturgy—is the most important feast day in the Christian calendar, celebrated by Roman Catholics as well as other Christian denominations. It is a season of reflecting on one's own beliefs, morals, and piety. It strengthens each and every Christian's conviction that Christ is alive. However, 2020 has been a crazy year since its first days and topping the list is the COVID-19 pandemic that has put the world at a standstill.
Public Liturgical Celebrations, Suspended Until Mid-April
On 12 March, the Diocese of Rome issued a decree closing all its churches to prevent the further spreading of the disease in Italy where thousands of cases have already been reported, including fatalities. But less than 24 hours later, vicar general of Rome Cardinal Angelo De Donatis released in his letter that the Vatican is retracting its earlier statement. Pope Francis, he said, has urged him to not completely close the doors of the churches as doing so would make "people feel even more isolated". The pope then encouraged parishes to discern the best ways they could help their communities, perhaps through social media, or conducting community-based initiatives like leaving churches for missions open.
"Be very close to the people of God, make each one feel loved and accompanied, help everyone to perceive that the Church does not close its doors to anyone, but is concerned to make no little one who risks life be forgotten," the supreme pontiff wrote.
Adhering to the regulations from the government, churches have suspended its public gatherings and resorted to social media, television, and radio. Pope Francis was then photographed for the first time giving the Angelic blessing on a deserted St. Peter's Square, which has evoked an eerie feeling among Catholics around the world.
Furthermore, several other countries and even other religions have followed suit by suspending their gatherings until mid-April—mostly on the 12th on which Easter Sunday falls. Metro Manila was not spared as the community quarantine was made effective last 15 March (14 March in Rome, same day when the Pope was first photographed giving blessing on empty St. Peter's Square) and would continue up to 12 April or until further notice.
UPDATE: The enhanced community quarantine in the Philippines was recently expanded to cover most parts of the country and further extended until 30 April