“We shall cancel all our public liturgical celebrations which will take effect from March 15 to March 21.”
This was the pronouncement from the office of The Roman Catholic Bishop of Paranaque in accordance to the order of President Rodrigo Duterte last night in light of the Covid-19 situation.
According to Most Rev. Jesse E. Mercado of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paranaque, the announcement last night “definitely has implications to our religious practices, faith observances, and other parish activities.”
The order applies to cities under the Diocese which means this applies to Las Pinas and Muntinlupa as well.
In a letter from Most. Rev. Mercado (thank you Reivi!), he announced that parish priests, both diocesan and religious, are still encouraged to celebrate mass albeit privately — “alone or with only one server”.
Regular mass goers will now have to find other ways to receive the Holy Eucharist.
Mercado ordered priests to do livestreaming of the masses so churchgoers will still have a way to attend mass.
“Those who watch such broadcast may make ‘spiritual communion’ in order for them to be spiritually united to Christ in the Eucharist,” mentioned the Bishop.
For those seeking wake and funeral masses, the bereaved family may submit the name of their dearly departed to the parish office and these will be included in the mentioned private masses.
“Priests should make themselves available for individual confession and pastoral care of the sick but still follow the necessary health precautions issued by the DOH and the CPBP,” noted Mercado.
Churches will still be open during this time, he added, saying that adoration chapels will be closed during the duration of the community quarantine.
Baptisms, confirmations and house blessings will also be cancelled until further notice.
For weddings, this will be under the discretion of the couple but that guests should be under 50.
“All other public church gatherings such as Way of the Cross, Kumpisalang Bayan, Pilgrimage, BEC or area masses, recollecctions, seminars, and the like are cancelled for the period of the community quarantine,” cleared the letter.
All items in the letter are subject to further evaluation in the coming weeks.
The Bishop then called on everyone not to panic.
“Let us be calm with our faith and confidence in God who is infinitely merciful to us. Pra, therefore, without ceasing. Pray for our country. Pray for those afflicted with COVID-19. Pray that all of us may be guided and encouraged to depend more on God in drawing our hope and strength in this difficult and trying situation of our time,” appealed