THERE will be no cancellation of Sunday mass in Cebu.
The faithful can still sanctify the Lord’s day by praying and reading the Bible in their homes and by watching livestreamed or televised mass celebrations.
This is according to the guidelines issued by the Archdiocese of Cebu, Friday, March 13, 2020, following the appeal of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to priests and the faithful to observe measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“The statement of the CBCP circular on the Public Health Emergency Covid-19 reminds us of our moral and pastoral obligations to help contain this world pandemic,” the Cebu archdiocese said in the statement.
Fr. Ric Anthony Reyes, of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño, said their regular livestreamed mass celebrations at the basilica are scheduled every noon and 3 p.m. Friday and every 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Sunday masses streamed live from the basilica will also be available on SunStar’s Facebook accounts (@sunstarcebu, @superbalitacebu, @sunstarphilippines) and its website at www.sunstar.com.ph.
Fr. Fidel Orendain, SDB, rector of Don Bosco Technical College, said under the Canon Law, Catholics are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on Sundays and on days of obligation.
“However, there is a provision there that one may be exempted or excused for serious reasons which would pertain to illness or if there are considerations that the pastor would understand,” he said.
The Cebu archdiocese also said that for now it does not prohibit big gatherings but said preventive and precautionary measures are to be observed. It also urged the sick to stay at home and seek medical attention.
Physical contact during celebrations of liturgy and observances of popular devotions are also restricted.
Use of protective cloth during confessions and in confessionals are to be observed. Ministers of Holy Communion are also encouraged to use alcohol or sanitizers before and after the distribution of Holy Communion and to give communion silently to minimize the possible spread of saliva.
The faithful are also told to accept the Holy Eucharist by hand and to continue to pray the Oratio Imperata for Covid-19.
No mass for 7 days
Last Friday, the Archdiocese of Manila ordered the cancellation of all masses in the seven days after Malacañang raised Code Red sub-level 2 due to the spread of Covid-19.
In his pastoral letter, Manila Archdiocese Apostolic Administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo said all the bells of Manila churches should be rung every noon and 8 p.m. instead to call on the people to pray the Oratio Imperata to fight the novel virus.
“There will be no public celebration of the Holy Mass and no public activities in all the churches in the Archdiocese for seven days, starting Saturday, March 14, till Friday, March 20,” he stated.
He also enjoined all parishes and places of prayer to be open all day so that people may come and find solace in silent prayer, but added that sanitizers must be available at the entrances and let the churches be regularly cleaned.
He encouraged families to gather at 8 p.m. to pray the rosary and read the Scriptures as a family for divine protection.
Pabillo discouraged organizing “Kumpisalang Bayan” in a bid to avoid large gatherings of people, while letting all priests give definite time to hear individual confessions during the day to be of service to the penitents who come.
Pabillo also stressed that priests must be available to visit the sick and minister to them.
Pabillo said the decision is in line with the social distancing strategy to slow down the spread of Covid-19.
“I recognize that this may impact many faithful and priests, but let us do this with the spirit of sacrifice for the good of all,” he said.
Finally, he called on the faithful to stop being selfish in a time of crisis and instead consider becoming more charitable.
“Hence, we avoid panic buying. We should not consider only our needs but also the needs of others. Driven by self-preservation, we can easily fall into selfishness in moments of fear, thus we think only of ourselves. Let us also think of the needs of others, especially of the poor, who are the most vulnerable,” he said. / WBS / HDT