CBCP urges livestreaming of liturgical celebrations as Christmas nears
This November 2019 file photo shows Baclaran Church commemorating "Red Wednesday."
Elmarc Lim via CBCP News

CBCP urges livestreaming of liturgical celebrations as Christmas nears

(Philstar.com) - December 2, 2020 - 1:46pm

MANILA, Philippines — Christmas in quarantine will bring silent nights even for churchgoers, as the country's assembly of the Catholic bishops encouraged churches Wednesday to live stream liturgical celebrations, along with a litany of other adjustments in preparation for the Christmas season. 

In a document outlining instructions issued Wednesday noon, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines issued a number of guidelines and scheduling changes for churchgoers looking to celebrate the Aguinaldo Masses or Simbang Gabi for the holidays. 

Over the coronavirus pandemic, evening curfew hours have also been imposed in most places, including churches and places of worship, to prevent mass gatherings. Experts have said earlier in November that a spike in coronavirus cases was a possibility as the Christmas season draws closer. 

RELATED: Holidays may bring uptick in COVID-19 cases – experts

"These adjustments are done because of the great number of mass-goers during the Simbang Gabi, and the limitations in the number of mass-goers due to the strict social distancing demanded by the IATF as a safety protocol in the prevention of the spread of the virus," the CBCP said. 

"We still encourage the live streaming of these liturgical celebrations for our faithful who are still unable to join us, physically," it also said. 

Among the guidelines encouraged by the CBCP were for Simbang Gabi were starting the evening masses as early as 6:00 p.m. while the last Aguinaldo Masses, Misa de Gallo or Simbang Gabi Mass may begin at 6 a.m.

According to the CBCP, the Vigil Mass of Christmas may be celebrated starting 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and the last Mass of December 24 could "take the liturgy of the Midnight Mass of Christmas." The dawn Mass of Christmas may also be celebrated on the early morning of December 25.

It added that "to emphasize the primacy of the Sunday over the weekday celebration," bishops and priests would have to decide whether or not to allow the "anticipation" of the following day during evening masses.

READ: Christmas in quarantine: GCQ extended in Metro Manila, 6 areas until yearend

"During the evening Simbang Gabi Masses of the Sunday, the readings and prayers of the Sunday ought to be used. While during the weekday evening Simbang Gabi Masses, the readings and prayers of the following day will be used. The Gloria is prayed/sung and white vestments are used. The Creed is said only on Sundays of the Simbang Gabi, not on weekdays," the guidelines also read. 

The CBCP also highlighted that the kissing or touching of images remains prohibited, and instead encouraged families to bring their family image of the infant Jesus during the Christmas Masses.

"The celebration of Christmas may be different this year. We will not have the same frenzy and stressful preparations that we had before the pandemic," CBCP said. 

"We pray and help our faithful to see the heart and the essence of the season in the simple, sober, silent but strong and loving truth of the God who comes to us in Jesus’ incarnation," it added. 

READ: Ending the year in quarantine: How COVID-19 curbs in the Philippines evolved

General community quarantine will remain in most areas for the entirety of the month of December, President Rodrigo Duterte announced Monday. 

As of the Department of Health's latest case bulletin issued Tuesday afternoon, almost 433,000 coronavirus infections have been recorded in the Philippines since the pathogen first emerged last December. 

— Franco Luna 

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: January 25, 2021 - 9:45pm

Other regions and provinces in the Philippines considered moderate and low-risk areas will be placed under general community quarantine starting May 1. Bookmark this page for updates. (Main image by The STAR/Edd Gumban)

January 25, 2021 - 9:45pm

President Rodrigo Duterte rejects the proposal of the inter-agency task force to allow children aged 10 to 14 years old to go outside their homes.

Citing the presence of the new COVID-19 variant in the country, the president says children should stay at home as a precaution.

"It's a sacrifice for the parents and for the children," Duterte says in a recorded address aired Monday night.

January 25, 2021 - 4:04pm

Coronavirus infections in the Philippines rise to 514,996 with 1,581 newly reported cases reported Monday, 29,282 of which are active cases.

The Department of Health also logs 13 new recoveries, bringing the total of survivors to 475,422.

The county's death toll is at 10,292 with 50 more deaths.

January 24, 2021 - 4:07pm

Coronavirus infections in the Philippines jump to 513,619 with 1,949 newly reported cases, 27,765 of which are active cases.

The Department of Health reports 7,729 mass recoveries, pushing the total of survivors to 475,612.

Meanwhile, the country's death toll is at 10.242 with 53 more deaths.

January 23, 2021 - 4:05pm

The Department of Health logs an additional 1,797 COVID-19 infections. This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines to 511,679.

To date, there are 33,603 active cases. Total deaths now at 10,190 with 54 new fatalities. Total recoveries increase to 467,886 with 166 new recoveries.

January 22, 2021 - 4:03pm

The Department of Health registers 2,178 new cases of the coronavirus disease, bringing the national tally to 509,887.

Of the confirmed cases, 32,031 are active. Total deaths now at 10,136 with 20 new fatalities. Total recoveries climb to 467,720 with 250 new recoveries.

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