Cebu churches ring bells for solidarity amid Covid-19 threat

Roman Catholic Church parishes in the Archdiocese of Cebu on Wednesday joined a global call to ring the church bells for solidarity amid the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) threat.

Archbishop Jose Palma directed parish priests to ring the bells of the churches every noon and 8 p.m. as the faithful recites the Oratio Imperata in their homes.

Palma on Tuesday issued a circular, suspending Eucharistic celebrations and other church activities which may congregate a huge crowd of people in line with the government’s effort to contain the viral disease.

“We have discussed the implications of these instructions that we take into consideration the executive orders of our governor, our mayor, our President. Also, I should admit in a special way that we take serious consideration the advices of the experts of medical professions specially members of microbiology, infectious diseases and doctors here in Cebu,” Palma said in a radio interview.

The circular was also issued in consideration of the updated Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines circular on Covid-19 dated March 13, 2020, he also said.

Palma advised the parishioners to stay at home and participate in the Holy Masses on Sundays through live TV and radio broadcasts.

“Parishes are (advised) to initiate the full use of social media and the internet in streaming live the Eucharistic celebrations and other religious events,” a part of Palma’s circular read.

He also included in the directive the prohibition of “singing” during funeral masses which should also be attended only by immediate members of the family.

The new church directive has also affected Holy Week celebrations from April 5 to 12 as parish priests are directed to perform the ceremonies without their parishioners.

Church leaders are, however, encouraged to distribute Holy Week reflection booklets prepared by the Commission on Worship.

He said churches should remain open, however, for the faithful who want to pray and reflect.

Palma advised Catholics who are planning for baptism and wedding to postpone unless such delay would become impractical.

Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer, country director of Human Life International, lauded Palma’s decision in suspending church gatherings.

“Although you can see that deep in his (Palma) heart, he does not like it to happen, he listens to his advisers that the people’s welfare should be placed above other considerations and that (circular) was also in compliance with the executive orders of the mayor and the governor for the good of the many,” Bullecer said in a radio interview. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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