Metro Manila dioceses cancel public Masses amid Covid’s delta variant threat

Metro Manila dioceses cancel public Masses amid Covid’s delta variant threat

A Catholic priest gives Communion during Mass at the San Fernando de Dilao Parish Church in Paco, Manila on July 25, 2021. PHOTO COURTESY OF PACO CHURCH

By CBCP News

July 31, 2021

Manila, Philippines

All dioceses in Metro Manila have ordered the suspension of public Masses for weeks and dispense Catholics from their weekly obligations.

From the Manila archdiocese to the dioceses of Cubao, Novaliches, Pasig, Parañaque, and Kalookan bishops are encouraging the faithful to stay at home.

The cancellations will leave pews empty from July 31 to August 20, as churches decided to switch to online streaming of Masses only.

The government on Friday placed the capital region under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 6 to 20.

Under ECQ, movement is heavily restricted and limited to acquiring basic goods and services. Only essential establishments and industries will also be allowed to operate.

Metro Manila is currently under the general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened and additional restrictions since July 30 until August 5 due to the highly contagious “delta” variant of Covid-19.

These restrictions include the prohibition of public religious gatherings.

“Let us continue to support the preventive measures being implemented by the government to slow down the surge of the virus,” Bishop Honest Ongtioco of Cubao said.

“We encourage the faithful to stay at home and stay safe,” he said. “We will reopen our churches for public worship on August 21, if conditions improve.”

While public Masses are suspended, funeral and wake Masses will be allowed in the Parañaque diocese but strictly following the health protocols.

Bishop Jesse Mercado said that churches may also be left open for personal prayer while ensuring that minimum health standards are complied with.

“We continue to storm heaven with our prayers especially in this uncertain situation of our time,” Mercado said. “May our prudent and faithful observance of our protocols ensure the safety of our family and country.”

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