At four o’clock in the afternoon every Tuesday and Friday, Fr. Ronald Roberto and his staff begin preparing for mass. But unlike the usual mass that people used to attend, this one is unconventional.
Last May 26, 2020, the Holy Family Parish in Roxas District, Quezon City led by Fr. Roberto, started their program called “Truck ni Kura”.
Instead of gathering the people in the church, the faithful stay in front of their houses to attend a mass celebrated at the road intersection.
Tables of various sizes covered with a white mantle, topped with candles and crucifix, an image of the Blessed Virgin or the Santo Nino are the improvised altars placed by the residents in front of their gates. They also prepare chairs and dress up as if they are really attending mass at the church, wearing their face masks as they wait for the mass to start.
By six o’clock in the evening, Fr. Roberto boards a truck where an altar table is prepared beforehand for the celebration. Four speakers are also placed 10 meters away from his improvised altar so that the people attending the mass can hear the audio clearly at the convenience of their homes.
“I miss you!” Fr. Roberto said in jest as he started his homily at Madresilva corner Lilac Streets in Barangay Roxas, Quezon City, last Friday May 29, 2020. This was the second day they conducted a Mass on the street. “Namimiss na natin ang ating simbahan kaya ngayon, ang simbahan ang pumaparito sa ating pamayanan.” He continued.
Being the Parish Priest of the Holy Family Parish and the Director of the Diocesan Ministry for Liturgical Affairs of the Diocese of Cubao, Fr. Roberto believes that it is his duty as a pastor to bring God and the Eucharist to the people without putting them at risk.
He makes sure that everything is properly coordinated with the local government before they announce to the public that they are going to conduct a mass on the street.
A day before the mass, his team announces the things that they have to prepare and the precautions that they have to observe.
During the mass, there are personnel in-charge of disinfecting both the hands of the lay ministers assigned to distribute holy communion and also the hands of the mass goers that will receive the body of Christ.
Social distancing is strictly followed because each family attending the mass only stays in front of their respective house or gate.
“Bahagi yan ng pagiging pari mo. Hindi pwedeng hayaan mo na yung pandemic ay tapusin ang ministry mo. Para sa akin I would like to give justice to what God has entrusted to me.” Fr. Roberto said in an interview with the Social Communications Ministry of the Diocese of Cubao.
As the government places the National Capital Region under General Community Quarantine beginning June 1, 2020, Fr. Roberto plans to continue their program “Truck ni Kura”, bringing the holy mass to the community.
They also announced that they are accepting confessions by appointment to ensure the safety of both the faithful and the minister.
Meanwhile, while people are still afraid to go out, Fr. Roberto will continue bringing the sacraments to the streets.