THE Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño has canceled all public masses starting Tuesday, January 12, until Sinulog day, January 17.
The cancelation was announced Monday afternoon, January 11, by the Augustinian friars of the Basilica led by the church's rector, Fr. Pacifico Nohara Jr.
In a statement, Nohara said it has been a tough challenge for the Basilica admministrators, with the government and private agencies, "to manage the flock of devotees and pilgrims at the Basilica in our simplified celebration of the novena and the upcoming feast."
"For the four days, we have observed that the surge of people coming to venerate and celebrate the Novena Masses has brought us into a conclusion that a greater action should be done to prevent us from the virus. Having this situation in mind and moreover reminded by Christian morals that the utmost goal of the Church is to bring each and every Christian to an integral salvation, not only of the soul but also of the body which includes our health and well-being, we decided to cancel all public masses in the Basilica," he said.
The Basilica, however, clarified that virtual or online masses will continue as scheduled starting Tuesday, the fifth day of the novena.
The Basilica Church and compound will also remain open to those who wish to visit the church, it added.
The friars acknowledged that this development "may bring sadness to many," "but the situation has called us to rise above the situation and to choose this course of action for the common good and benefit of all."
Nohara asked for the public's understanding and invited the devotees to celebrate the remaining days of the Novena Masses and the Fiesta Señor. (SunStar Cebu)