Catholic Churches closed for Holy Week

Novaliches Bishop Roberto Gaa and Cubao Bishop Honesto OngTioco issued separate statements yesterday, announcing the closure of the parishes for the Holy Week.

AdChoiceTV News — Catholic churches under the Dioceses of Cubao and Novaliches in Quezon City will be under lockdown beginning today to help the local government contain the rising cases of COVID-19.

Novaliches Bishop Roberto Gaa and Cubao Bishop Honesto OngTioco issued separate statements yesterday, announcing the closure of the parishes for the Holy Week.

The Diocese of Novaliches will resume on-site religious activities on April 4, Easter Sunday. Churches in Cubao will open on April 5.

Gaa said he decided to impose a lockdown in the Diocese of Novaliches after meeting with Mayor Joy Belmonte.

“It appears there is a need to shut down churches to prevent the spread of the virus. Cases of COVID-19 were recorded in 11 out of 20 barangays in the diocese,” Gaa said.

The bishop said masses and other religious activities for the Holy Week would be livestreamed.

During the meeting, Belmonte asked parishes to reduce the number of church personnel to 50 percent and restrict the movement of people.

Ongtioco advised parishioners to stay at home and join Holy Week activities online.

“Voluntarily closing our places of worship at the highest point of our liturgical year is heartbreaking. But we also open our eyes to a situation that puts the faithful at risk. COVID numbers are surging and data showed that unless drastic interventions are done, these numbers will not decline anytime soon,” Ongtioco said.

The Archdiocese of Manila and the Diocese of Pasig announced they would also suspend physical masses starting today until April 4 in compliance with the guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The Manila Cathedral would continue to livestream its masses, especially during the Holy Week.

Reporting by Albert Rovic Tan

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