Masses in Cebu churches to continue but Catholics can pray at home on Sundays
CEBU CITY –– Masses in the Archdiocese of Cebu will continue amid the threats of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
But Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma gave the faithful the option on whether or not to go to church and attend Masses, particularly on Sundays.
“For now, we do not prohibit big gatherings but preventive and precautionary measures are to be observed at all times,” he said in a circular released on Saturday, March 14.
“The faithful can sanctify the Lord’s Day (Sunday) by praying in their homes, reading the Holy Scriptures and watching TV Masses,” he added.
Those who are sick, the prelate said, must stay at home for their safety and the good of the family members.
To get rid of the deadly virus that has no known cure, Palma ordered all priests to provide alcohol or hand sanitizers at the doors of parishes, churches, chapels, oratories.
Frequently touched fixtures and items such as pews, benches, doorknobs, and microphones should be routinely cleaned with disinfectants.
Holy water fonts or stoups should be temporarily emptied.
Palma said priests and Eucharistic ministers must also wash their hands thoroughly and apply alcohol or sanitizer before and after distributing holy communion.
People, he said, must receive the sacred host by their hands only.
“Give communion silently to minimize the possible spread of saliva,” Palma said.
Physical contact during celebrations of liturgy and observances of popular devotions were also restricted.
The faithful were discouraged from kissing and touching sacred images; holding hands during the praying of the Lord’s Prayer, and shaking hands when giving the sign of peace during the celebration of Holy Masses.
During confessions, there must be protective cloth in between the priests and the penitent.
Palma urged the people to continue praying the Oratio Imperata or mandatory prayer to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“Acknowledging our need for divine intervention during this state of public emergency, we continue to pray the Oratio Imperata,” he said.
“Storming the heavens with our prayers impels us also to undertake our much greater moral responsibility to take care of ourselves, our loved ones and those who are weak in health, so that the compassion of God our Father may bring comfort and courage amidst these threats to our physical well-being,” he added./lzb
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