Malaybalay Diocese: Attendance in masses limited to 50% of a church’s capacity

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 05 June) – Masses may now be celebrated in the Diocese of Malaybalay with the easing of restrictions under a modified general community quarantine but attendance should not exceed 50 percent of a church’s capacity, a directive issued by the diocese said.

But the directive dated May 31 also asked the Parish Pastoral Coordinating Councils to meet and schedule more masses on Sundays and weekdays depending on the availability of the parish priests and their assistant parish priests, if any.

The San Isidro Cathedral in Malaybalay City has been closed since March this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. But devotees still offer candles, prayers and donations during the fiesta in honor of the saint on Friday, 15 May 2020. MindaNews photo by H. MARCOS C. MORDENO

It said mass-goers should be two meters apart from each other to maintain physical distancing. The churches will have to put signs on seats where the faithful may sit.

Only a maximum of five choir members can attend, the instrumentalist and four singers, to lessen the number of congregants. However, choir members can alternate to give everybody a chance to hear mass.

The directive told priests to start the masses on time and prepare a written homily which should not exceed 10 minutes on Sundays and seven minutes on ordinary days.

It also reduced the number of lectors and lay ministers who will assist the priest.

Children who serve as sacristans should have written parental consent, it added.

Priests and lay ministers are required to wear facemasks during the communion. Communion by the tongue is prohibited.

Holding of each other’s hands during the singing of Our Father (The Lord’s Prayer) is also prohibited along with handshakes during the sharing of peace.

Churches were told to provide rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizers for mass-goers and use thermometer guns where available.

After each mass, the directive said churches should be sanitized. The gap between masses should be at least one hour to allow for thorough disinfection.

Churches will be closed after the last mass of the day. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno/MindaNews)