Balanga diocese halts public Masses again as Covid-19 escalates
By CBCP News
August 4, 2020
Balanga City, Bataan
The Diocese of Balanga has once again suspended the public celebration of Masses as cases of coronavirus spike in Bataan province.
Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga said the diocese dispensed Catholics from their Sunday obligation in order to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a pastoral directive issued Aug. 3, he said that coronavirus cases in Bataan are still prevalent and have not subsided.
“On the contrary, it had gotten worse. Just this past week, our Covid-19 positive cases have doubled,” Bishop Santos said. “Because of these, we are, once again, closing the doors of the Church.”
Bataan is among the provinces under the modified general community quarantine status wherein churches are allowed to hold religious services at 50-percent seating capacity.
But the bishop said parishes in the diocese will instead revert to live streaming of Masses from Aug. 4 until Aug. 16.
“We are all struggling and burdened. We have become apprehensive as we are all at risk and in danger of contamination,” he said.
Balanga joins 10 other dioceses where public Masses are restricted after the government placed some areas on a stricter lockdown status to contain the spiralling cases of Covid-19.
Metro Manila and the provinces of Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, and Bulacan are currently under the modified enhanced community quarantine, where religious gatherings are limited to no more than five people.
“We unite and cooperate with our local government. We desire public safety,” the prelate added. “We do not want to have regrets in the end.”