The National Shrine of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, more popularly known as the Antipolo Cathedral in Antipolo City, is temporarily suspending the blessing of vehicles and religious articles as part of the measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.
It was learned by the Manila Bulletin that starting Monday, March 22, there will be no blessing of vehicles and religious articles as part of the measures that the cathedral is implementing to protect its personnel, including priests and lay ministers, from getting infected with COVID-19.
Prior to the placing of the National Capital Region and the provinces of Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, and Bulacan under a General Community Quarantine (GCQ) bubble, the cathedral has been granting numerous requests for blessing of vehicles, from bicycles, to motorcycles, to cars and even trucks every day, especially on Sundays.
It is usually the cathedral’s lay ministers and seminarians who officiate the blessing of vehicles that is done outside the church or within the vicinity of the church while the blessing of religious articles is done inside the compound of the cathedral.
The cathedral has also announced in its Facebook page, ‘Birhen Ng Antipolo, the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage’ that all religious celebrations will be online effective March 22, 2021 until April 4, 2021.
Every Monday to Saturday, online masses through Facebook are streamed live at 8 a.m.; 12 noon; and 6 pm., while Sunday masses are held every 8 a.m.; 10 a.m.; 12 noon; and 6 p.m.
“Let us continue to storm the heaven with our prayers for healing and may the Our Lady of Antipolo place us under the mantle of her protection”, the FB post of the cathedral said.
Churchgoers usually stand outside the church just to attend mass even while the church doors are closed. Church security personnel, however, are monitoring violators of the social distancing and other health protocols.
Prior to the GCQ bubble, the Antipolo City government has ordered the suspension of all Lenten-related activities and gatherings that attract a huge crowd in the city, which is dubbed as the “Pilgrimage Capital of the Country.”
Prior to the pandemic, the city hosted around three to five million pilgrims during Holy Week and hundreds of visitors coming to the city daily during the pilgrimage season from May to July every year. (NEL ANDRADE)