6 churches in CDO, MisOr closed as priests get infected with COVID-19

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 27 April) – The Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro temporarily shut down six churches in the city and in Misamis Oriental after their parish priests got infected of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The parish priest of the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Black Nazarene is among those infected. MindaNews file photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Archbishop Jose Cabantan said the churches would remain closed to religious and related activities for 10 days starting Wednesday as their premises will be disinfected.

“It was unexpected, never thought-of, never wished-for and in fact prayed against. Unfortunately a number of our priests have fallen victim,” Cabantan said.

Father Der John Faborada, head of the archdiocese’s Social Action Center, said six priests were infected, including Monsignor Perseus Cabunoc, of the Jesus Nazareno church in Barangay Lapasan, where the icon of the “Calleron” or Black Nazarene is enshrined.

Aside from temporarily closing the Jesus Nazareno parish church, Cabantan ordered the shutting down of the San Isidro Labrador church in Gusa, also in Cagayan de Oro.

Churches affected in Misamis Oriental are the Our Lady of Candelaria in Tagoloan; Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Bobontugan and Immaculada Concepcion, both in Jasaan; and Sta. Cruz in Laguindingan.

Cabantan said he reached this decision after consulting with the archdiocese’s health crisis committee.

“I humbly ask for understanding from our faithful, especially those directly affected and for prayers for our priests who have fallen victim,” the archbishop said

Faborada said priests and church members who were in close contact with the affected priests went on self-quarantine.

He said the archbishop himself underwent a 14-day self-quarantine and was found negative of the virus after being tested.

Faborada said they are still waiting for the results of swab test on three priests who have close contact with the affected priests. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)