ASIA/PHILIPPINES - The Eucharist at the time of the coronavirus: a drive-in mass

Thursday, 17 September 2020 pandemic   coronavirus   faith   eucharist  

Tacloban (Agenzia Fides) - It was necessary to "invent something" to allow the faithful to celebrate the Eucharist safely and "in the presence", not only through the web, while Covid-19 continues to plague the Philippines. And so a Catholic parish in the city of Tacloban, in the Eastern Visayas region, in the center of the archipelago, experimented a drive-in mass version. The initiative, already tested in other parts of the world (such as in the Americas and Europe) "allows the faithful to overcome fear, respect distancing measures but at the same time can continue to participate in the Eucharist", explained Father Kim Margallo, parish priest of the church dedicated to San Jose María Escriva in Tacloban. During the Holy Mass, the faithful park their cars in an open space outside the church and join in the celebration with no physical contact. During Communion, the faithful only have to roll down their windows to receive the Eucharist from the ministers who go around with face masks and face shields. On Sunday, at least 25 cars with families inside came to attend the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
Father Margallo said that with the strict quarantine measures being implemented in the Archdiocese of Palo, the Church has to come up with "creative ways to continue its evangelization". "People are clamoring for the physical attendance in the Mass, which it is the highest form of prayer, that’s why I thought of adopting an outdoor Mass, allowing a full and active presence", he added.
"Virtual services can be used in times of emergency, but they cannot compare to, and cannot replace, personal participation in the liturgy", he noted, quoting the recent letter entitled "Let's return to the Eucharist with joy!" published by the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments and sent to the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences, on the celebration of the liturgy during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Father Margallo reported that the organization of the "drive-in" mass in Tacloban will be further improved in the coming days, making it possible to accommodate more cars and invited other Catholic communities and churches of other Christian denominations to adopt the "drive-in celebration", "to maintain contact with people, to guide them and nourish them spiritually".
In a note sent to Fides, Father Chris Arthur Miliando, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Palo, reported that "the holding of drive-in masses may also concern other parishes, depending on their local organization". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 17/9/2020)