Number of Holy Masses to increase if churches reopen in GCQ

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Catholic churches in the Philippines said Monday it would increase the number of Holy Masses to crowding should they be allowed to reopen during GCQ.

Apostolic administrator of Manila Bishop Broderick Pabillo appealed to the government to allow religious services to resume in general community quarantine or GCQ areas as worship or masses are “essential” to strengthen the Filipino’s resilience during COVID-19 crisis.

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“Kailangan ito para mapatatag ang ating mental, psychological, spiritual resilience ngayon panahon na ito,” he told ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.

(We need this to strengthen our mental, mental, psychological, spiritual resilience during this time.)

“Ang nakakalungkot ayon sa kanilang guidelines, mabubuksan na ang restaurants, salon pero ang simbahan di pa binubuksan. Tinuturing ang simbahan na kasama sa sinehan o mga concerts. Hindi ganyan ang serbisiyo ng simbahan.”

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(Sadly, according to their guidelines, the restaurants and salons would reopen, but the church remains closed. The church is considered a cinema or concert. That is not how the church serves.)

Pabillo also said the Catholic Church submitted guidelines to government’s Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) recommended the following:

  •  for churches to reopen at half-capacity
  •  implementation of physical distancing during religious services
  •  more Mass services to avoid gathering of crowds
  •  for priests to wear face masks

The Catholic church official also said individual confirmations would be allowed. Christenings may also be held during weekdays instead of only Sundays.

“If there are many to be baptized, the children to be baptized can be organized by smaller batches. Let the parishes allow baptisms to be celebrated during set times on weekdays to decongest baptisms on Sunday,” Pabillo said.

The elderly, however, are advised to attend Holy Mass online.

Also read: Work, religious gatherings still not allowed in GCQ areas-Palace

Weddings accepted if churches would reopen in GCQ

The Archdiocese of Manila also announced last week that they would start accepting weddings once the ECQ ends in Metro Manila.

Lavish weddings, however, are still prohibited in all of the churches under its jurisdiction in NCR.

“We allow only simple weddings this year, with only the bride and the groom with one set of sponsors and the immediate family. Wala na munang mga abay [no groomsmen and bridesmaid for now],” Pabillo said.

Meanwhile, Pabillo said they would not accept mortuary services from clients with “many days of wakes” as he emphasized that “these days, the shorter the wake, the better.”

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