Cebu church masses go online amid coronavirus ban on crowd gathering
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Churches in Cebu started bringing masses and worship services to the Internet on Thursday, March 19, following instructions from Cebu Arcbishop Jose Palma to ban crowd gathering amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Palma on Tuesday announced the suspension of all in-person masses in the province but said liturgical celebrations will continue online.
The announcement came days after Cebu Ceity was placed under community quarantine, which required people to observe social distancing. Religious gatherings have been linked to coronavirus outbreaks in other parts of the world.
“We use the word temporary. We hope this pandemic would end so that [we can hold our activities]. But for the meantime, the very simple reminder is we cancel many of these [activities] because we are gathering so many people. We’re afraid that mass gathering may be a cause of the transmission of the disease,” Palma said during his press conference on Tuesday.
Palma's instructions followed the direction of churches in Manila, which also brought their masses online. The country capital recorded most of the country's total 202 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Cebu has one confirmed case.
Monsignor Joseph Tan, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Cebu, said the church is also composing a set of prayers that the faithful may use for private devotions and spirituality while they are on self-quarantine.
He said the “prayer book” was intended to be a temporary substitute for masses and other public expressions of faith.
Earlier in January, the archdiocese also released the oratio imperata prayer against the novel coronavirus.
The Archdiocese of Cebu released a Bisaya translation of the CBCP's oratio imperata vs the novel #coronavirus. #nCoV— Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) January 31, 2020
"Giyahi ang mga kamot ug lamdagi ang mga hunahuna sa mga doktor nga nag-alima sa mga masakiton subay sa ilang katakus og dinuyogan sa gugma ug kaluoy." pic.twitter.com/RkB8jEI1gs
Palma’s weekly Gospel meditations will also be published on the Archdiocese of Cebu’s Facebook page.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected church preparations for the quincentennial celebration of Christianity in the Philippines, where many of the events are set to take place in Cebu. – Rappler.com