The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urged the faithful to attend Sunday masses in churches amid improvements in the country’s Covid-19 situation.
The weakening of the pandemic and easing of restrictions have “made our people move freely and return to their normal life and business with ease, but still following some basic health protocols,” stated CBCP President Pablo Virgilio David in CBCP’s Circular No. 22-36.
“These circumstances permit and oblige us to return to the normality of Christian life, which has the Church building as its home of the celebration of the liturgy, especially the Eucharist,” said David.
“We strongly encourage our faithful to return to the Sunday Eucharist with a purified heart, renewed amazement, and increased desire to meet the Lord, to be with him, to receive him and bring him to our brothers and sisters with the witness of a life full of faith, love and hope,” he added.
David said that “Sunday is a day in which the faithful gather so that by hearing the Word of God, and taking part in the eucharist, they may call to mind the passion, resurrection and glorification of the Lord Jesus, and may thank God.”
“The faithful are to hold the Eucharist in highest honor, taking active part in the celebration, receiving the sacrament devoutly and frequently, and worshipping it with supreme adoration,” he added.
David also said that “constant catechesis on the necessity of our faithful to return to our churches for the Sunday Eucharist should be explained in our homilies and in our catechesis”
With this, the CBCP said health protocols should still be observed inside the churches and other venues of worship.
“Health protocols are still to be implemented in our parish churches and venues for the liturgical celebrations. We make sure that our faithful are convinced that they are safe in our churches and venues for the liturgical celebrations,” David said.
Meanwhile, David said that the "Act of Spiritual Communion" is a devotional prayer that “should not be prayed aloud when communion is received by the faithful in attendance in our celebrations.”
“The ‘Act of Spiritual Communion’ is intended for those who are following the celebration online. It is better projected on the screen for those following the Mass online,” he said.
As for the continuation of virtual masses, David said that they will “evaluate and study the needed frequency of celebrations of the Holy Eucharist by live streaming. Greater coordination in the diocese is needed on this issue.”