OFFICIALS of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral in Cebu City encouraged Catholics to do confession ahead of time to avoid overcrowding during the Holy Week celebration from March 28, 2021 until Easter Sunday, April 4.
This as church officials want Catholics to observe Holy Week safely amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fr. Japheth Geonzon, one of the assigned priests at the Cathedral and vice chairman of the Archdiocesan Commission on Worship, said regular confessions have resumed already at the Cathedral.
“As early as now, they should avail to avoid any overcrowding at the church. We continue to reiterate this during our masses every Sunday since Ash Wednesday,” Geonzon told SunStar Cebu.
Geonzon said they cannot administer confessions over the phone, text message, or online as unlike mass celebrations, the sacrament of confession essentially requires physical presence of the penitent and the priest or the confessor.
He said the schedule of confessions at the Cathedral is every Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m to 12 noon and from 4 to 6 p.m.
He said they have observed that since they started the announcement, the faithful have shown their cooperation with the arrangement.
For the Holy Week celebration, Geonzon said the Cathedral will allot eight areas for confession.
Initially, they will set up four confession areas inside the Cathedral, two at the St. Joseph Chapel, one at the back of the Cathedral, and one in its garden near the Cathedral mausoleum.
He said markers will still be placed, as they were during the Misa de Gallo.
Once the church premises is fully occupied, Geonzon said, the gates will be closed and the rest will stay outside still with social distancing.
Geonzon said they are still waiting for an advisory from the Cebu City government on the conduct of Lenten activities.
On the other hand, officials of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu said they have yet to meet and decide next week how they will conduct confessions.
Fr. Aladdin Luzon of the Order of St. Augustine, said though the Archdiocese encouraged the resumption of the holding of confession, the administrators of the Basilica have yet to come up with a specialized form of confession.
He said the Basilica has not resumed the conduct of confession since the lockdown as a safety measure.
Aside from poor ventilation in the Basilica’s usual confession box, the passage towards the confession box has also been off limits for non-Basilica employees as a safety measure, Luzon added. (WBS)