‘We may go to Church Masses now’

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | June 03,2020 - 10:31 AM
church facade, danao city, old church, holy week,

Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church, Danao City, Cebu.  | CDN Digital Photo/Brian J. Ochoa

CEBU CITY, Philippines — After close to three months of migrating Holy Masses and other church traditions online, religious activities of churches in Cebu province are set to resume this Wednesday, June 3, 2020.

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, on Tuesday evening, June 2, 2002, signed Executive Order no. 17-F, which “encourages” the holding of religious activities of all faith denominations in the province.

The activities, however, must still observe strict physical distancing and limit its attendance to at most 50 percent of the holding capacity of the venue.

Garcia signed the EO during her press conference on Tuesday.  Before that Garcia said she called up the Archdiocese of Cebu to consult on the direction of the church activities. The governor said she was assured by Archbishop Jose Palma that the Catholic Churches in the Archdiocese are now ready to hold physical Masses.

With the separation of the church and government that as mandated by the Constitution, Garcia said she leaves it to the leadership of the churches to set further guidelines on the conduct of their activities.

“I hope that is now very clear. I am confident that Archbishop Palma, alang sa atong kaigsuonang Katoliko, magpagawas sa mga patakaran usab sa Archdiocese kabahin sa holding of Masses sa mga simbahan (I am confident that Archbishop Palma, on behalf of our Catholic brothers, will issue guidelines that will be followed in holding Masses in the different churches in the Archdiocese),” Garcia said.

“Suffice it to say, as far as the provincial government of Cebu is concerned and as far as this governor of Cebu is concerned, we are strongly encouraging the holding of religious activities limited to 50 percent capacity of [the] venue,” Garcia added.

Amid the ongoing fear experienced by the public due to COVID-19, Garcia said the people in Cebu province are also in “need” of spiritual wellness.

“In as much as we need our physical and mental health, we also need our spiritual health,” Garcia said.

READ: Holy Masses go online, traditional Lent activities suspended

At the onset of COVID-19 last March, the different religious groups in Cebu have agreed to suspend their church activities in line with the government’s policies on physical distancing and gatherings to prevent the spread of the virus.

The move prompted the Masses, including the observance of Holy Week in April, to be held virtually where the faithful sit in front of their television or computer sets instead of the church altar. / dcb

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