Church seeks increased capacity for Simbang Gabi
In this photo taken in December 2019, devotees attend the first anticipated Simbang Gabi at the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila.
Miguel De Guzman
Church seeks increased capacity for Simbang Gabi
Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - October 17, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Officials of the Catholic Church have renewed their appeal to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to increase capacity for religious activities, especially for the Simbang Gabi or pre-dawn mass.

Fr. Douglas Badong, parochial vicar of the Quiapo Church, said they will again ask the IATF to increase the number of churchgoers allowed inside the church from 10 percent to 30.

Badong said the increased capacity especially during Simbang Gabi would help draw more people to hear mass.

Manila apostolic administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo said they are negotiating with the IATF to increase church capacity for Simbang Gabi.

“We are still negotiating, depending on the level of quarantine,” Pabillo said.

The IATF has allowed only 10 percent capacity for religious gatherings in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) just like in Metro Manila in a bid to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

Pabillo meanwhile said they are now waiting for the development on curfew hours that the local government of Manila will impose so that the Simbang Gabi will not be affected.

He said they appealed to the Manila authorities to consider shortening curfew hours to allow more faithful to attend the nine-day mass leading to Christmas Day.

“We are asking that they adjust the end of the curfew to 3:30 a.m. during those days of Simbang Gabi and no curfew on Dec. 24 evening,” Pabillo said in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website.

Pabillo said they are awaiting the response of the Manila City Hall.

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