Church visits allowed but Masses stay online

By: Rosalie Abatayo - CDN Digital | May 19,2020 - 09:16 PM

The St Michael the Archangel Church in Argao town. Visiting the churches will already be allowed during the GCQ but Masses will remain online while religious gatherings are still suspended. | CDN File Photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines —While Holy Masses will remain to be virtual, residents in Cebu province who wish to visit their church to pray may already do so as the province shifts to the general community quarantine (GCQ) on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

Monsignor Renato Beltran Jr., the chancellor of the Archdiocese of Cebu, met with Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia on Tuesday, May 19, to discuss the guidelines that will now be implemented in churches around the province.

We have agreed nga ablihan ang simbahan. Dili para misa. Ang misa online lang gihapon pero kadtong buot mo-Visita Iglesia or mobisita sa Blessed  Sacrament, mahimong mosulod sa simbahan,” Garcia announced during her live-streamed presser on Tuesday afternoon.

(We have agreed that Churches will already be opened not for Masses because the Masses will stay online but for those who wish to visit the churches or the Blessed Sacrament.)

Only three parishioners–one in the leftmost aisle, one in the center and one in the rightmost–will be allowed to enter the churches to strictly observe physical distancing, Garcia said.

The usual Catholic practice of touching the icons to venerate and the dipping of one’s fingers into the Holy Water at the church entrance will still be prohibited.

Meanwhile, Garcia said wedding rites may remain suspended as mass gatherings, defined as involving at least 10 persons, remain prohibited under the GCQ.

“This will help in the transitioning nga by June 1, andam na ang  [Katoliko nga] simbahan nga magmisa na mismo didto na sa mga simbahan. Maka-attend na subject gihapon sa social distancing,” Garcia said.

READ: Holy Masses go online, traditional Lent activities suspended

Since the middle of March, church activities, including Masses, have migrated online as a measure against mass gatherings, which poses the risk of spreading the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In fact, Catholics stayed in front of their TV and computer sets waving their palm fronds when they observed Palm Sunday and the rest of the Holy Week activities last April.

The Flores de Mayo activities here have also migrated online, with the catechisms and offering of flowers now streamed on the social media site Facebook. /bmjo

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