San Carlos diocese cancels baptisms, other sacraments amid COVID-19 pandemic
CEBU CITY –– Baptism, confirmation, and house blessing may have to wait for a while in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.
These are just among the sacraments that have been canceled by the Diocese of San Carlos in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos issued a circular on March 14, which had been posted on the Diocesan Social Communication Office’s Facebook page.
In the circular, the bishop has dispensed the faithful in the Diocese of San Carlos from the Sunday and the Holy Days of Obligation until the prohibition from mass gatherings had been lifted by the local authority.
“There will be no public celebration of the Holy Mass and no public activities, such as the Way of the Cross, Kumpisalang Bayan, Pilgrimage, BEC or area masses, recollection, seminars, and the like in all the churches in the Diocese for this duration effective March 14, 2020,” he said.
Also canceled were other sacraments and sacramental celebrations in the parish, such as baptism, confirmation, or house blessings.
“Let us do this with the spirit of sacrifice for the good of all,” said Alminaza in his circular.
He, however, encouraged the faithful to follow the celebration of the Mass aired on television or radio stations.
“Those who watch broadcast masses may make ‘spiritual communion’ in order for them to be spiritually united to Christ in the Eucharist. A sample prayer will be provided,” he said.
For wake and funeral masses, the bishop said the bereaved family may submit to the parish office the name of their departed loved ones to be included in the private masses of their parish priest, or whenever possible mass for the dead may be celebrated only for the bereaved family at their home.
Weddings may be celebrated under the discretion of the couple, but the number of guests should not be more than 50 and proper distancing and sanitation should be strictly observed.
Alminaza said the faithful could visit the Adoration chapel and the main church during this period provided they follow the necessary precautions given by the Department of Health (DOH).
Parish offices will go on with their regular schedule provided that they follow the DOH guidelines.
The bishop reminded the parish priests that they were encouraged to celebrate private Mass alone or with only one server. Parochial vicars may concelebrate.
“These masses are not open to the public but may be aired over the radio or recorded for sharing through social media,” he added.
Bishop also told the priests to make themselves available for individual confession and pastoral care of the sick, but should always follow the guidelines set by the DOH and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.
“All families are encouraged to pray the rosary and to reflect on the Scriptural readings for the day in their homes every night. And in a special way, remember in gratitude all medical practitioners such as doctors, nurses, scientists and medical assistants, who act as front liners in assisting COVID-19 patients,” he said.
Church bells would ring at 6 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m. during which the faithful are to pray the Angelus and the Oratio Imperata.
Alminaza also enjoined the faithful to avoid panic buying, hoarding of groceries and medicines, selling them at higher prices and spreading fake news.
“In this time of crisis, we are challenged to draw our strength from our faith in the Lord and to keep our focus on what is truly essential!” he added./lzb
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