THE Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is not considering canceling Masses in spite of the declaration of a state of health emergency but appealed to the faithful who are not feeling well to refrain from going to church during the coronavirus emergency.
The CBCP also called on priests and churchgoers to take extra precaution at all times by following the hygiene protocol set by the Department of Health to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, on Thursday said one need not go to Church if he or she is unwell and should instead pray at home or livestream the Mass.
“If you don’t feel well, don’t go to church. We have livestreaming over Radio Veritas and Quiapo Church,” he explained.
As an added precaution, he said he was considering the cancellation of public confessions in the more than 80 parishes of the archdiocese, although individual confessions would still be allowed.
The CBCP said the measures it was recommending do not change church traditions, but were temporary precautions during this time of crisis.
In a CBCP circular, Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles said taking the basic steps of wellness, as recommended by health authorities, was not only sensible but also wise and considerate of others.
In the same circular, the CBCP also called on priests and lay ministers to implement reception of Holy Communion by the hand, wearing of face masks and sanitation of hands as protection for themselves and the communicants.
The holy water fonts at the doors or entrances of churches will be emptied during this time of crisis and confessions are to be done in the confessionals with a protective cloth installed at the grill that separates penitent and confessor.
The CBCP also noted the World Health Organization’s confirmation that Covid-19 could spread through monetary bills, stressing that it would be a good practice to refrain from passing the box to churchgoers rather to have the collectors hold the collection bag that is brought to the faithful.
Those who count the collection must wear face masks and use rubbing alcohol after counting. It is better to provide them with latex gloves.
“We continue to pray the Oratio Imperata we have requested to all the dioceses of the country. We pray that this pandemic might end quickly and that through the intercession of Our Holy Mother, the Help of Christians and St. Raphael the Archangel, and all our Saints we may be delivered from this epidemic,” the CBCP said.