Precautionary measures will be observed in the Diocese of Cubao this Lenten season amid the Coronavirus threat.
According to Most Rev. Honesto Ongtioco, Bishop of Cubao, the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) health threat should not be ignored, but this will not impede the church activities with the onset of the Lenten season.
“Mahalaga po mag-ingat tayo, kaya kahit na sa simbahan, tayo’y gumagawa ng mga hakbang.” Bishop Ongtioco said.
He reminded the priests and churchgoers to follow the safety precautions that the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) issued in its previous circular.
CBCP recommends that communion should be received by hand, while holding hands during the praying of Our Father (Ama Namin) and shaking hands and kissing (beso-beso) during the sign of peace are discouraged.
At the same time, churches are requested to refrain from putting holy water on the font of its entrances.
Bishop Ongtioco also encouraged the priests that this Ash Wednesday, instead of the usual imposition of ashes on the forehead, which requires physical contact, they can adopt the practice of sprinkling dry ash over the crown of the head or “bumbunan”.
“Itong Ash Wednesday, dati po di ba nilalagyan tayo ng krus sa pamamagitan ng abong nilagyan ng tubig but there is contact, so ito po ay makikita na din natin sa lumang tipan yung pagsasakripisyo, anong ginagawa nila? Binubudbod yung ashes sa kanilang bumbunan. So ito ang gagawin natin sa halip na basa, ibubudbod ng konti, tanda ng pagbabalik loob, pagpapakumbaba.” He added.
The Bishop released a circular letter as a formal appeal to all parish priests and parish administrators, to take necessary measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.
This includes a call to the faithful to enjoin in praying with the whole Church the Oratio Imperata on COVID-19 prepared by the CBCP in all the masses. – Leahna Villajos