The Dioceses of Legazpi in Albay and Virac in Catanduanes have decided to indefinitely suspend all holy masses starting Saturday as a precautionary measure against the new coronavirus disease or Covid-19.
Bishop Joel Baylon of the Diocese of Legazpi said in an interview on Saturday that all priests were told that the suspension of masses in all parishes of Albay was a preventive measure against the entry and spread of the viral disease.
He said “considering that people are now arriving from Manila and we don’t know if they are aware of the self-quarantine of Albay and thus might still come to church, thus putting our faithful at risk.”
The prelate instead enjoined the faithful to hear the holy mass aired over radio and television.
He also asked the faithful to continue praying the Oratio Imperata for Covid-19, begging the Lord to save Filipinos from this health threat.
Meanwhile, Fr. Joseph Salando, a priest of the Diocese of Legazpi, in a meeting with owners of “paso” or life-sized religious images, said that all events in connection with the upcoming Holy Week are likewise cancelled.
The Diocese of Virac also has issued a pastoral circular informing the faithful that it has cancelled all masses starting on Saturday until further notice.
It said, however, that the faithful may still offer their intentions through private masses. Priests are to celebrate private masses alone or with a server.
Baylon also called on the Catholic faithful to be calm amidst the threat of Covid-19 in the country.
“Let us be calm as the threat of the coronavirus disease is real and panic is not the appropriate response, as excessive fear paralyzes our capacity to think rationally and even endanger us emotionally and psychologically,” he said.
The bishop issued on Friday a pastoral letter that urges Roman Catholic Church members to observe and keep in mind the 3 Ps (Prayer, Precautions and do not Panic) as the church-based guidelines in preventing the spread of Covid-19 that is considered as a pandemic disease worldwide.
“Pray for the sick that they may recover their health and for the government especially the health authorities to have the competence, zeal and compassion in dealing with this emergency,” Baylon added.
Source: Philippines News Agency