CBCP urges return to Sunday masses

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines on Friday called on the Catholic community to physically visit churches during Sunday Masses.

CBCP President and Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said in a circular that the diminished severity of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the country and relaxed health protocols should prompt the return of in-person Catholic Masses.

“With gratitude to God, the pandemic has weakened, and our official health experts have placed the country into more relaxed health protocols. These circumstances permit and oblige us to return to the normality of Christian life, which has the Church building as its home of the celebration of the liturgy, especially the Eucharist,” David said.

“We strongly encourage our faithful to return to the Sunday Eucharist with a purified heart, renewed amazement, and increased desire to meet the Lord, to be with him, to receive him, and bring him to our brothers and sisters with the witness of a life full of faith, love, and hope,” the Bishop said.

In March 2020, CBCP issued a circular that ordered church authorities to decide on allowing people to attend Masses and encouraged churches to continue the conduct of masses through television, radio, and the Internet.

David also called for the assessment of conducting Masses through live streaming, saying that it “risk(s) distancing from a personal and intimate encounter with the incarnate God.”

However, David clarified that health protocols will still be observed and that churches should ensure safety among churchgoers during religious activities.

The circular also emphasized the need for catechism for followers to return back to attending physical Masses.

The CBCP President also reminded churches that the “Act of Spiritual Communion” should not be recited in Masses and is only intended for those who “follow the Mass online.”

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