Following the recent placement of Metro Manila under a month-long community quarantine from March 15 to April 14, the Archdiocese of Manila has announced that there will be no public celebrations of Mass from March 14, Saturday, to March 20, Friday. Even the Kumpisalang Bayan, which is a staple event during Lent, is not encouraged.
Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of Manila, says that priests must hear individual confessions to avoid mass gatherings. This decision of the archdiocese is a response to the “social distancing” measure advised by the national government in light of the quick rise in the number of confirmed CoViD-19 cases in the Philippines.
“We are enjoined to avoid large gatherings of people to avert the further spread of the virus. We heed this call not to panic but with care for charity to others and the common good. Hence in the Archdiocese of Manila, I dispense all the faithful from the obligation of going to Mass this Sunday,” Bishop Pabillo says.
Churches will still be open for the faithful who would want to visit, says Bishop Pabillo, and it will be regularly sanitized and disinfected. Priests are told to still cater to the sick and visit them if needed.
Just recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has already called the virus a global pandemic. It has already spread to more than 100 countries and the number of confirmed cases has already surpassed 100,000 worldwide.
In the Philippines, 52 people are already confirmed to have been infected by the virus, in which five have already passed away—four of which died this week. Over 100 people are still under investigation and a lot more are going on self-quarantine after close contact with the infected persons, including Senators Nancy Binay and Sherwin Gatchalian.