Church to faithful: Donât let COVID-19 lock down Christmas
Noting the recent calamities and the COVID-19 pandemic, an official of the Catholic Church urged the Filipino faithful not to allow the crisis to dampen the spirit of Christmas.
Michael Varcas, File
Church to faithful: Don’t let COVID-19 lock down Christmas
Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - November 22, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — It’s just 33 days before Christmas but, to many, the joyous season this year may not be as bright.

Noting the recent calamities and the COVID-19 pandemic, an official of the Catholic Church urged the Filipino faithful not to allow the crisis to dampen the spirit of Christmas.

“Let not COVID-19 lock down our Christmas joy and family togetherness. God has come down to be with us. We accept him together as a family in our homes. Let us be creative this year in celebrating God’s presence among us,” Manila apostolic administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo said.

“We do not allow COVID-19 to deprive us of Christmas joy. God is with us,” he added.

While he acknowledges that this year’s Christmas might be different from the previous years, Pabillo said the faithful could still celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ “in a different, but more meaningful way.”

He said people can use the quarantine restrictions imposed during the pandemic as a perfect time to re-create their special bonding together as a family by singing Christmas songs, reading Bibles and praying during the yuletide season.

“In years past, we have been accustomed to external and consumerist ways of celebrating these seasons. The malls and the stores had dictated our Christmas… Let us bring Advent and Christmas to our families with prayers, family religious services and joy,” Pabillo urged.

He said each family can make an Advent wreath placed on their tables or family altar, participate in online Advent recollections or visit the Catholic churches as they remain open for Simbang Gabi or pre-dawn masses.

For those who cannot physically join the masses for Simbang Gabi, the social media pages of various Catholic churches could be easily accessed so they could still participate.

“The effort of doing them together will give special value to them. Let each family have a figure of the Baby Jesus displayed in a prominent place. This will be the center of attention during the Christmas season,” Pabillo said.

He added that the Filipino family could also host parlor games and other events inside their homes while observing health protocols during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day just to enjoy the moment with their loved ones amid the trials that the year 2020 has brought upon humanity.

He reiterated that parishes and parish organizations are discouraged from organizing Christmas parties and caroling to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

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