No Holy Mass celebration, Holy Week activities in Metro Manila amid community quarantine period

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
No Holy Mass celebration, Holy Week activities in Metro Manila amid community quarantine period
In this photo taken March 13, devotees wearing face masks celebrate the weekly Friday mass at the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — Bishops of Metro Manila on Monday announced the suspension of the celebration of the Holy Mass in the National Capital Region until April 14.

“We will abide by the government’s directive to suspend all large gatherings from March 15 to April 14. So there will be no celebration of the Holy Mass with a large congregation within this period, plus other religious activities during the Holy Week which usually attract huge crowds of the faithful,” their pastoral letter read.

The Archdiocese of Manila previously said it is temporarily cancelling all its public activities from March 14 to 20.

FOLLOW: LIVE updates: COVID-19 in the Philippines and the Metro Manila quarantine

The new announcement covers Holy Mass and other religious activities in the following ecclesiastical jurisdictions:

  • Archdiocese of Manila
  • Diocese of Cubao
  • Diocese of Novaliches
  • Diocese of Pasig
  • Diocese of Kalookan
  • Diocese of Parañaque
  • Parts of Diocese of Antipolo and Malolos belonging to Metro Manila
  • Some parts of the Military Vicariate of the Philippines

On March 12, President Rodrigo Duterte raised Code Red Sublevel 2 in Metro Manila as he placed the entire National Capital Region under “community quarantine,” restricting access and travel to the capital from March 15 to April 14.

He also announced the ban on planned or spontaneous mass gatherings.

No Holy Week celebrations

The lockdown covers the Holy Week, which means that Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday Holy Masses will not be open to the public, the bishops said.

Auxiliary Biship Broderick Pabillo, Archdiocese of Manila administrator, earlier gave tips to maintain the solemnity of the Holy Mass conducted online.

 He advised: “Do not watch it with a cup of coffee in hand.”

He also encouraged the Catholic faithful to read the excerpted scripture before the mass.

There will also be no public blessings of palms, Visita Iglesia, Siete Palabras, Good Friday procession and Easter Sunday salubong.

“The faithful are called upon to pray the Rosary as it is a good prayer to meditate on the mysteries of the life of the Lord that we intensely celebrate in the universal Church during the Holy Week,” they said.

The bishops also called for days of penance, prayer and fasting on March 20, 27 and April 3 and 10, Good Friday.

Church bells will be tolled at noon and at 8 p.m. to call on the faithful to pray the Oriatio Imperata and the Angelus at noon, and rosary in the evening, they added.

Baptisms, confirmations, weddings may push through

The bishops, however, said that baptisms, confirmations and weddings set within the period, “which can no longer be postponed due to the enormity of the preparations involved” may proceed but will be subjected to strict restrictions.

Social distancing will also be observed in the gatherings.

Other celebrations of the Holy Sacraments not included in the announcement are temporarily deferred.


The bishops also called on donations to help the poor and the sick amid the community quarantine period since this will affect “daily wage earners heavily,” they noted.

They said that parishes and church institutions will coordinate with local government units to help them in providing for their basic needs.

On March 16, the first Monday of the Metro Manila lockdown, media reports noted traffic build up in checkpoints as workers cross borders of the NCR for work.

The Department of Trade and Industry also directed Metro Manila malls to be closed, except for “groceries and supermarkets, banks, pharmacists, health clinics, bookstores, hardware stores, food stalls (take out/delivery only).”

The Philippines reported 140 COVID-19 cases in the country and 12 fatalities since January.

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