ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Coronavirus pandemic: Catholics should only celebrate Christmas and other church festivals on a small scale

Saturday, 14 November 2020 coronavirus   pandemic   popular worship   festivity   local churches  

Manila (Agenzia Fides) - In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic Catholic parishes, communities and movements will have to celebrate Christmas gatherings on a small scale: the Archdiocese of Manila advises all local communities that "gatherings encourage the spread of the virus". In a letter signed by Mgr Broderick Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of the archdiocese, the Bishop urged people to avoid parties and meetings during Advent and the "Simbang Gabi" (the novena in preparation for Christmas, characterized by the traditional morning masses in the Philippines).
Christmas 2020, should be lived with the spirit of solidarity with the people affected by Covid-19 and the three recent typhoons that have caused the loss of life and property.
Meanwhile, the Archdiocese of Manila had to cancel those traditional forms of popular devotion marked by large gatherings of believers such as the Black Nazarene Procession, which was not celebrated in January 2020. The traditional procession travels through the streets of Manila.
The events dedicated to the veneration of "Santo Nino" in the Archdiocese of Cebu in 2021 should only be organized on a small scale. The local church and the authorities agreed on this to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The celebrations traditionally take place in the third week of January in Cebu City and usually see a high influx of local and foreign visitors who enjoy the street festivals and parades. "Today the health and life of our people is our top priority", explained the Mayor of Cebu, Edgardo Labella, explaining the measures adopted.
At the request of the church authorities, celebrations should focus on sobriety, spirituality and prayer in compliance with the restrictive measures made necessary by the pandemic. (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 14/11/2020)