The Archdiocese of Manila has announced that it would resume the practice of placing ash on people’s foreheads on Ash Wednesday.

In a circular dated Feb. 14 but made public on Monday, the Manila archdiocese said it would “revert to the imposition of ashes on the forehead of the faithful” after the practice had been suspended due to pandemic restrictions.

“Let us discourage self-imposition of ashes. We receive the ashes because the call to repentance is addressed to us by Christ through the Church and it is also through the ministry of the Church that we are reconciled with God and each other,” it said.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines allowed the resumption of the practice of placing ashes on people’s foreheads for the first time amid the Covid-19 pandemic in February 2022, after two years of modified Ash Wednesday rites.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent for Roman Catholics and Christians around the world.

It comes from the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting, and the ashes symbolize the dust from which humans were made by God.

During Lent, the faithful are expected to pray, fast and give alms for 40 days, leading to the celebration of the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ during Holy Week and Easter. John Ezekiel J. Hirro