By Richa Noriega
A priest of Quiapo Church said on Wednesday they might consider requiring lay ministers to wear face masks and offer communion by hand instead of putting the Sacramental bread into the mouths of the faithful to reduce the risk of transmission of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“Puwede naming pag-usapan po dito. Magandang opinion din po ‘yan. Kami po ay handa rin namang sumunod pag sinabi ng Department of Health (DOH) na hindi safe talaga susunod naman din kami,” Fr. Douglas Badong, parochial vicar of Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, said in radio channel DZMM.
(We can talk about it here. It is a good suggestion [requiring the lay ministers to wear face mask in offering communion]. We are ready to follow the DOH.)
“Kaya lang talaga po sa Quiapo matinding paliwanagan po sa mga deboto kasi talagang ginagamit po nila ang pagiging deboto kaya minsan ay nahihirapan sumunod,” he added.
(However, here in Quiapo it needs a good explanation for the devotees because they always cite their faith that made them difficult to obey.)
Badong said the staff of Quiapo Church “from time to time” disinfect the image of the Black Nazarene for those devotees who kissed the image.
The Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) also recommended the faithful to refrain from kissing or touching the cross during the Veneration of the Cross on Good Friday.
The CBCP issued the liturgical guidelines days before the observance of Ash Wednesday.
“As we begin the season of Lent, we are reminded of the constant call for renewal in our Christian life by self-control (fasting and abstinence), generosity and charity (almsgiving) and prayer,” Archbishop Romulo Valles, CBCP President, said. “Our charity is also expressed in our concern for the well-being of our brothers and sisters, thus our utmost care and efforts towards the prevention of the spread of COVID-19.”
As of Wednesday, the virus has killed 2,715 people and infected over 78,000 in China. In the rest of the world, there have been more than 40 deaths and 2,700 cases. (With reports from Agence France-Presse, Christina Hermoso, and Leslie Aquino)