MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — A bishop in the Philippine capital has ordered an investigation into reports that several Massgoers developed rashes after having their foreheads marked with ash on Ash Wednesday.
Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan said a thorough investigation will be carried out, and even suggested the ashes used at San Roque Cathedral might have been purposely contaminated.
“Rest assured that we will not leave a single stone unturned in order to find out what caused this unfortunate incident,” the prelate said to ucanews.com.
Bishop David said several Massgoers reported feeling a burning sensation on their foreheads immediately after being marked. When the people washed the ashes off, rashes and blisters appeared on their skin.
The ashes in question were not used after reports were received.
Doctors who examined the rashes said a chemical substance caused the skin burns. The ashes were still being tested in a laboratory Feb. 16.
Bishop David said his office was still investigating whether staff had done something with the ashes, although they maintained they followed tradition in preparing them for distribution.
“The fact that only some and not all the Massgoers seem to have been adversely affected by the ashes could only mean that only some specific containers contained the toxic substance, and not all of them,” the prelate said.
He has already ordered a review of close-circuit television footage to look for possible “sabotage.”
Help keep Catholic media free, support CatholicPhilly.com
You may have noticed “pay walls” greeting you when you visit the websites of newspapers and magazines, both large and small. These mechanisms allow you to read a few articles for free before you’ve got to pay an annual fee if you want to see more.
You won’t find a pay wall on CatholicPhilly.com because we’re more than a news organization. We’re informing, inspiring and forming readers in the Catholic faith every day through the news, features and commentaries that we post on this site and share across social media.
It costs money to provide high-quality coverage of the local Catholic communities we primarily serve, while also distributing national and world news of interest to Catholics, plus the orthodox teachings of the Catholic faith.
Help us in this mission by making a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: