Parish educates faithful on new virus

A PARISH in Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City conducted a religious symposium on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, to address the concerns of parishioners regarding the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

The Archdiocesan Shrine of San Roque held a symposium with parishioners following the arrival of the Jubilee Cross and the image of the Sto. Niño.

In his homily, Fr. Carmelo Diola, parish priest of the shrine, urged the faithful that while it is better to leave one’s fate to God, common practices, such as good hygiene, can help prevent the spread of the 2019-nCoV.

He also called on the faithful to continue praying for one another.

After the mass, the image of the Sto. Niño and the Jubilee Cross were carried in a procession.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) also called on people to be vigilant and be proactive following the 2019-nCoV outbreak.

This was what Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones said in an interview Thursday afternoon, Feb. 6.

Billones said the CBCP also doesn’t want the public to panic since the World Health Organization made it clear that the virus is not airborne.

“So we pray, but we also do our proactive way of building up our immune system and empowering one another in terms of hope that healing will be discovered soon by people, by scientists in charge,” Billones said.

Fr. Japheth Geonzon of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, for his part, said that bishops released guidelines on how to prevent the spread of 2019-nCoV.

“Let us just follow the instructions of our dear bishops. Like during communion, the usual practice is to receive Jesus through mouths, now we are encouraged by our bishops to receive Jesus our Lord by the hand,” he said.

Aside from that, he said holding the hands when praying Our Father is temporarily prohibited. Containers of holy water must be cleaned from time to time or on a daily basis to prevent the spread of the virus.

Geonzon said everyone has to take part in keeping our surroundings clean. (JCT / JKV, MAE FHEL GOM-0S, USJ-R INTERN)