KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 17 March) – The Archdiocese of Cotabato suspended beginning Tuesday, March 17, the holding of daily masses to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Cotabato Archbishop Angelito Lampon, OMI, urged the parishioners to cooperate with the measures implemented by the national and local governments, including the prohibition on crowd gathering and the observance of social distancing.
“In this time of the state of national emergency and in particular a partial lockdown in the City of Cotabato due to COVID-19, it is our religious and moral duty to support the effort of the government to contain the spread of this deadly virus,” the prelate said.
While he ordered the suspension of the daily holy masses in the parishes, Lampon said that priests can still celebrate their “private masses” in their rectory chapels.
Holy Week services, fiestas and confirmations will also be cancelled, he said
Marriages and baptisms that have already been scheduled will have to be also postponed, the prelate said, noting that if it is impossible to cancel due to valid reasons, people should be limited to attend the occasions.
He urged the couple who will tie the knot and the parents of the child who will be baptized to get only one ninong ang ninang each (or a pair of godparents).
For funeral services, Lampon said they should be held at the house of the deceased and limited only to the immediate family members.
Lampon encouraged the use of face masks on these occasions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
But he discouraged in this time of coronavirus disease the beso-beso (social kissing on the cheeks) and pagmamano (putting the hand of an elder to a younger one’s forehead) practices.
The Archdiocese of Cotabato includes Cotabato City, Maguindanao and parts of North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat provinces. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)