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Cebu News

Suspension of chapel Masses in Cebu City extended until August 31

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  The suspension of novena, fiesta and monthly Masses in barrio chapels in Cebu City has been extended until the end of August 2021 amid the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and the threat of the highly infectious Delta variant of the virus.

The Archdiocese of Cebu, in a circular issued Wednesday, announced the extension of the implementation of liturgical health protocols in city parishes.

“I hereby extend for another month the implementation of our liturgical health protocols in all Cebu City parishes as observed in July 2021,” read Circular No. 15/21 signed by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.

The circular was issued following “consultations with and acting upon the valid request” of the Cebu City’s Emergency Operations Center.

“All the parameters, in the conduct of our liturgical celebrations as mentioned in the 6th of July circular, are still in effect and are to be strictly observed,” it read.

This suspension, however, does not include the barrio chapels in the mountain barangay parishes of Guba, Pulangbato, Buhisan, Sudlon I and Maomawan quasi-parish.

“Considerations are given to said barrio chapels, which are reportedly far from their respective parish churches,” the circular read.

Sunday masses at the barangay gymnasium in Barangay Cogon-Pardo are also exempted as these are of a different category. The exemption is essential in the preparation for the future erection of the Santo Padre Pio Parish in the said barangay.

“All health protocols are still to be observed in the celebration of said masses in chapels where the exemption has been given. Chapel pews are to have markings on where the people are supposed to sit during the celebration of the Holy Masses,” the circular further read.

Aside from the one month extension of liturgical health protocols, only 10 persons are allowed entry in cemeteries within the city during funerals.

For parishes in areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu cities), the archdiocese said full coordination with the local government units is expected.

The rest of Cebu parishes are encouraged to refer to the archdiocese’s Circular on the Health and Safety Protocols during the modified general community quarantine status.

Based on the circular on the protocols for the celebration of the Sacraments in the Cebu City parishes, senior citizens who are above 65 years old are allowed to attend Sunday masses only if they are fully vaccinated, while children below 15 years old are barred entry in parishes in Cebu City.

However, children below this age are allowed during the sacraments of baptism and confirmation, unless they are not the recipients of these sacraments.

Also, the existing liturgical protocols of limiting the attendance of Sunday Liturgy to 50 percent of the churches capacity, and observing physical distancing and disinfection after Mass shall continue.

According to the circular, the same protocol will be observed for the sacrament of matrimony, which is to observe simpler wedding and discourage an entourage in wedding ceremonies.

It also said that masses in offices and factories are likewise temporarily suspended as it will be difficult for the local government unit to check the suitability of these places.

Blessings of houses, offices and other places are allowed provided health protocols, especially social distancing, are strictly followed.

On wake masses at home of the deceased and masses at cemeteries, coordination with the LGU is a must and taking consideration of the existing government guidelines on gatherings of people, the discretion of the parish priest is to be exercised.

As of the wake masses at mortuaries, the Cebu City EOC personnel will meet with the mortuary management on the matter.

As to processions and motorcades during fiestas and other celebrations, motorcades are still allowed but with proper coordination and permission from the LGU.

However, processions of any kind are still prohibited, except for processions done with the church premises provided health protocols are strictly observed. — KQD (FREEMAN)

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