Catholic faithfuls told to stay home, hear mass through radio, TV and online
KORONADAL CITY — The Diocese of Marbel here has exempted the faithful from attending holy masses and other holy obligations beginning Sunday, March 15, until further notice to avert the spread of COVID-19.
Bishop Cerilo Casicas issued a directive telling parishioners to stay at home and hear mass through radio, TV or internet, citing the COVID-19 Code Red Sub-level 2 alert issued by the Department of Health (DOH).
“The faithful are encouraged to remain at home and to hear masses and other spiritual activities through radio, television, and internet,” the prelate said.
Casicas urged priests to continue to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and Holy Week liturgical celebrations even in the absence of a congregation.
Should the faithful choose to go to churches or chapel, the bishop reminded them to observe the recommended social distancing and hygiene protocols.
Casicas appealed to parishoners who had fever, cough or had difficulty breathing and those with travel history to areas with confirmed Covid-19 cases to go on home quarantine.
During Sunday morning’s masses at the Christ the King Cathedral, the crowd was unusually thin as many opted to stay home due to the COVID-19 scare.
“It is now the time to respond together as a Church with greater seriousness to the potential havoc that a more widespread transmission of this virus can cause on our people,” Casicas said.
He believed that with communal efforts, the public could help the government control the further spread of the highly contagious and potentially deadly disease.
“We are morally obliged to cooperate and support all the precautionary measures that our health officials and government leaders offer us to keep our people safe and healthy,” Casicas stressed.
Amidst the COVID-19 threat, Casicas encouraged the faithful to be open to the vulnerable, especially the poor, and share their resources with them.
The Diocese of Marbel covers the entire provinces of South Cotabato and Sarangani and parts of Sultan Kudarat and the cities of General Santos and Koronadal.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2, which outbreak started in China’s Wuhan City in Hube province in late 2019.
Patients with COVID-19 could recover since for most people, its symptoms were mild like fever and cough. But the illness could also be worse or serious for others such as pneumonia especially for older adults and those with existing health problems.
The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a pandemic as it has infected more than 150,000 people and killed over 5,000 all over the world. The Philippines has far confirmed 111 people with COVID-19, including eight deaths.
President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a state of public health emergency throughout the country and placed the entire Metro Manila under “community quarantine” from March 15 to April 14, 2020, due to COVID-19.
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