Faithful urged: Heed Christian’s calling, follow health protocols

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo July 12,2020 - 07:35 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines — As more churchgoers may be accommodated in churches under areas under modified general community quarantine, like in most parts of Cebu province, Catholic faithful are reminded to adhere to health protocols as signs of Christian values.

Fr. Japheth Geonzon, vice chairman of the Archdiocesan Commission on Worship in Cebu, said that cooperation to guidelines while offering prayers for healing from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic would mark the values of a true Christian.

“Ang Simbahan pod tungod kay controlled man ang ma kalihokan, mao na nga gi-awhag pod ang mga magtutuo nga to really continue praying for healing and protection against COVID.  Uban sa atong pagtuo, ug pag-ampo, inubanan pod na sa atong kooperasyon sama sa wearing of mask, observe sa mga protocols,”  Geonzon said.

(The church activities because these activities would be controlled is the reason that I am appealing to the faithful to continue praying for healing and protection against COVID-19. Together with our faith and  prayers and accompanied by our cooperation like the wearing of mask, observance of the protocols.)

Read more: Churches reopen on July 11

“Kung makahimo ta ana (If we can just do it all), we are just doing the real calling and vocation of being a Christian,” he added.

Last Friday, July 10 2020,  Cebu province, except the city of Talisay and the municipalities of Minglanilla and Consolacion, officially transitioned to the more relaxed MGCQ.

This means that the churches in the province can already accommodate a number of churchgoers during the Masses of up to 50 percent of its total seating capacity following the guidelines of the national Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

When the province and the higly urbanized cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu were all under GCQ last June 1, the Archdiocese of Cebu had issued a set of guidelines that would be followed in the church Masses in these areas based on the policies of the IATF.

The IATF, during the time, only allowed 10 persons to attend a mass, but Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, in her Executive Order no. 17-F, allowed an attendance of up to 50 percent of the venue capacity.

With the province’s transition to MGCQ, Geonzon said the churches would still have to follow the same set of guidelines that they had issued except the adjustment on the number of persons that might be allowed to attend the Masses.

In the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Mandaue City, which is under a general community quarantine (GCQ) area, physical Masses allowing 10 percent of church’s capacity or 60 persons to attend only resumed this Sunday, July 12, despite that the city being under GCQ since June 1.

Geonzon said that Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones, the moderator of the team of pastors in St. Joseph’s Church, decided to postpone the holding of Masses until this Sunday as a form of precautionary measure against COVID-19.

Quoting the Bishop, Geonzon said the 10-person limit on the number of Mass attendees would already cover the number of persons that would serve during the mass, leaving no more room for churchgoers.

While the movement and conduct of church activities remain limited due to quarantine controls, Geonzon urged the faithful to keep and practice their faith even inside their homes as each believer is the basic unit of the Catholic Church.

“Ang atong  mga religious practices, ang presence sa Ginoo wala ra sa atong practices. Bisan tuod og naa ta sa atong mga balay, as baptised Catholics and as baptised Christians, as magtutuo, we go beyond sa atong pag-adto sa simbahan which is the physical structure. Bisan og naa ta sa atong mga balay, kita man ang basic unit sa maong simbahan. Kita man ang living presence sa Simbahan,” Geonzon said.

(The presence of the God is not just in our religious practices. Even if we are in our homes as baptized Catholics, and as baptized Christians, as faithful, we go beyond the act of going to church, which is the physical structure. Even if we are in our homes, we are still the basic unit of that church. We are the living presence of church.)/dbs

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TAGS: Aguilar, Christian, church, faithful, Geonzon

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